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Tips for Designing Powerful Packaging

Remember the feeling of being a kid on Christmas Morning – the way you used to tear into wrapping paper like a man dying of thirst digging for water in the desert? Great packaging should instill that same feeling of unbridled excitement in even the most hardened adult consumers.

Of course it helps when the products we’re designing for are exciting in and of themselves, but smart package design can make even the most boring products seem interesting and enticing. In this entry, we’ll share a few tips for designing packaging that’s not just pretty, but also powerful.

Do Your Research

Before you start sketching, carefully consider the product you’re designing for. What problem is the product trying to solve? Who is the target market for the product? Pay close attention to the structure of the product; its form will be integral to its packaging. Do some market research to find how competing products are packaged. Aspire to set your packaging apart from the competition. Bear in mind that establishing an engaging user experience for your packaging can have a huge influence on its effectiveness as a marketing tool.

Experiment with Material and Medium

Just because you’ve always bought shoes in a cardboard box doesn’t mean they have to be packaged this way. Case in point: the inflatable plastic container design for Nike Air sneakers from German agency Sholz & Friends. This packaging not only creatively represents the product it’s designed to market – it also has a small footprint (excuse the pun) and creates minimal waste. Get creative with your design, and don’t be afraid to deviate from convention.

Test Your Design

Once you’ve created a prototype for your packaging, you’ll want to see how it works in action. Let someone with no prior knowledge of the product spend some time with your packaging. Carefully observe the interaction. Can they tell what the product is at a glance, or do they have to go looking for identifying information? Are they intrigued or excited by the presentation? Is the process of unpacking a pleasure or a struggle? Use this information to hone your package design in your next mock-up.

For more inspiration to help you get cracking on your next package design, check out the packaging projects we’ve done for some of our clients on our work page!