Guide

Product packaging design: top tips

Packaging design is a key consideration in marketing and selling a product. Consumers are drawn to products that look good, are convenient to use and reflect the creativity and personality of the company. Effective product packaging has the potential to influence buying decisions, attract new customers, increase sales and boost your business' brand.

There is more, however, to product packaging than simply ensuring it looks good. Packaging has to fulfil a whole range of other roles, including enclosing and protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use.

Here are some of the many things to remember when creating a successful package design.

1. Be original. With many competing products on the market, it can be difficult to make your packaging stand out from the crowd. Visual appeal can help catch customers’ attention. Authenticity and character of the design can help communicate your brand’s story, giving your product that useful point of difference in the marketplace.

2. Keep it simple and clear. Even the best looking packaging can be left on the shelves if the consumer can’t tell what is inside it. The packaging should clearly identify the brand, the product and the reasons why customers should buy it. Keep your messaging clear and simple - it only takes a few seconds to make a buying decision and consumers won't buy what they can't understand.

3. Be honest. Everyone wants to present their product in the best possible light, but don't jeopardise your business' integrity by overselling. Make sure that your product matches expectations laid out on the packaging, or you will risk disappointing your customers and ending up with a bad brand image.

4. Make it practical and user-friendly. One of packaging's primary functions is to protect a product in transit, storage, on shelves or during distribution. Things like shape, size, materials and ease of use of the product container – in storage, on shelves or even in the customer's home - can all affect its sales prospects. Think Heinz upside-down ketchup bottle, for example.

5. Consider the trends. Certain design trends can influence consumer buying habits. For example, biodegradable packaging may appeal to environmentally-friendly consumers. Premium design may appeal to consumers looking for high-end products. Technological advances continually open up new possibilities for creating innovative packaging, so make sure that you look beyond the current trends and don't be afraid to try something new or different.

6. Design for the future. When designing your product's packaging, have a long term plan in mind. You may want to extend the line or diversify the product in the future, so make sure that your packaging design allows for easy variations that remain true to your brand and design style.

Packaging can have a huge impact on product sales, customer loyalty and brand perception. If you're worried about getting your product packaging right, you could reach out to a creative agency or seek advice from a packaging consultancy. Alternatively, you can call Invest Northern Ireland helpline on Tel 0800 181 4422 and get advice from a business adviser.

Find out how you can use design in your business or use our tool to help you Get Design Ready.