Designer sketching a package design

First Impressions are Everything

Packaging serves as the first impression of your brand. Consumers form first impressions in only seven seconds, so make those seconds count.

Packaging often serves as the first impression of your brand and should be both effective and eye-catching. Since consumers form first impressions in only seven seconds, it’s crucial to make those seconds count. However, designing packaging comes with its own unique set of constraints, requiring a balance between creativity and functionality to ensure it not only attracts attention but also serves its practical purpose.

Some constraints to keep in mind:

  • Size and Shape:
    The packaging dimensions and shape need to suit the product inside and also meet storage and shipping needs. If the product is irregularly shaped, custom-designed labels and packaging might be necessary for a perfect fit. Using stock sizes could be helpful for cost considerations.
  • Material Constraints:
    Various materials have different properties that influence the design process. Paperboard, often used for boxes, must support the product’s weight while retaining its structural integrity. Labels, on the other hand, often benefit from premium techniques such as foil printing, embossing, and varied paper textures to enhance visual appeal. However, integrating these high-quality materials and intricate manufacturing processes inevitably adds to the overall production costs.

    Label design for Virago Spirits (photo by Tim Bereika)
  • Printing Techniques:
    The choice of printing method significantly impacts design possibilities, with each technique having its own set of limitations and advantages. Traditional methods like offset and flexography are cost-effective for large production runs but may have constraints on color options.Lithography printing usually requires a higher initial investment but allows for enhanced finishes and is well-suited for high-volume printing. Flexography, commonly used for flexible and corrugated packaging, lends itself to bold, one- or two-color designs and offers faster turnaround times and lower costs. However, it may lack the quality compared to lithography printing.

    On the other hand, digital printing stands out for its versatility and ability to produce high-quality prints and is ideal for smaller runs due to minimal setup costs and fast turnaround times. Understanding the capabilities and trade-offs of each printing method is essential for achieving the desired visual outcome while considering factors like budget, lead time, and print quality.

  • Brand Identity:
    Branding elements are the essence of packaging and communicate with consumers through visual cues such as copy, logos, and colors. They serve as the voice of the brand, establishing recognition and personality. Effective packaging design strengthens the brand identity by incorporating consistent color schemes, logos, typography, and imagery. Consistency across different products within a brand’s lineup is essential for building brand recognition and loyalty.

    Virago Spirits logo design
    Image by Tim Bereika
  • Regulatory Information & Compliance Requirements:
    Packaging often needs to include mandatory regulatory information such as ingredients, nutritional facts, barcodes, and safety warnings. Designers must ensure that this information is prominently displayed and according to industry regulations without compromising the overall design and aesthetic appeal.
  • Budgets & Cost Constraints:
    Budgetary limitations can impact the choice of materials, printing techniques, and embellishments used in packaging design. Balancing aesthetic appeal with production costs is essential to ensure the project remains within budget.

By addressing these different constraints, packaging designers can create concepts that not only meet functional requirements but also contribute to the overall success of the product and the brand.

Want to learn more? Follow the links below for further reading:

The Best Printing for Packaging.
10 Things that can Impact Cost
What is Flexo Packaging?


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