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5 Packaging Graphic Design Rules to Follow


Packaging that explains its contents looks great, and stands out is a challenge to create. Did you know that the average Wal-Mart Supercenter has 142,000 different items? With all that competition, you can’t ignore your product packaging graphic design!

If you want your product to be successful, it will need to hold its own in a megastore environment. Your product packaging can’t get lost in the 187,000 sq. ft. that a Wal-Mart Supercenter covers.

But what if you’re selling your product online? The stakes are even higher! Amazon alone boasts availability of over 600 million items. Billions of products with packaging vie for your customer’s attention.

How can you get customers to choose your product? These packaging graphic design rules show how to design packaging that sells!

5 Packaging Graphic Design Rules

Customers give you about two seconds to make an impression. Two seconds! That’s two seconds to identify your product, your brand, and decide if they care to know more. When your two seconds are up, the potential customer is gone. Goodbye. Here’s how to fix that…

1. Be Clear

Your customers won’t buy the product if they don’t know what it is. And fast! A fancy name in a foreign tongue will often confuse, not impress. Products that appear to be something they’re not frustrate consumers.

Customers want to know exactly what they’re getting. Even boxes of chocolates have charts of their contents now. When spending money, customers don’t want surprises.

The text on your packaging needs to be legible. Printing should contrast the background color. Fonts should be clear enough to read from a distance.

2. Line It Up

As important as what’s printed on your package is what’s not on the package. White space plays an important role in your packaging. Even something as simple as letter spacing can make a product seem off to a consumer.

White space also separates chunks of information. Customers can read the information easier. The amount of white space also makes a distinctive design.

Extra white space gives a product a minimalist look. It gives a sophisticated feel to the design. These design tips can help you come up with a design that gives the right impression.

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Line up images and text in a grid pattern. Size graphic elements to balance out the packaging. Clutter confuses consumers. Eyes don’t know where to go.

3. Illustrate

Images bring your product to life. A product photo shows the customer what to expect. Images can evoke a desire to try your product.

Pictures also help with the two-second rule. A consumer can quickly identify the packaging’s contents with a glance. They can make a near-instant decision if they want to read more or even buy it.

Any photos you put on your product should be accurate. Customers understand that images get facelifts. But don’t show your product with something that isn’t in the box.

Customers choose to buy simple, inexpensive products every day. But they want to know when they make that choice. Don’t portray your products with features, options, or accessories that aren’t included.

4. Stand Out

Your product isn’t usually on a shelf all by itself. It’s going to be surrounded by other products. Those products are often your direct competitors.

Something about your product’s packaging needs to catch the customer’s eye. A unique color scheme can make them take a closer look. But don’t overdo it. Customers like some familiarity.

It takes research to create packaging that stands out. And it’s not always the most complex designs. Simple, bold designs differentiate your product from your competition.

Nothing replaces good field testing. Place your product on a shelf and surround it by other products in several rows and columns. Use your competitor’s products.

5. Plan with Practicality

You’re going to release new products. A good design allows you to add variations without major changes. Plan ahead.

Don’t create extremely specific packaging. An apple-shaped bottle filled with grape, orange, or tomato juice makes no sense. Clear containers show the natural colors of their contents.

Choosing colors that can confuse customers with future offerings are a bad idea. Think of colors that make a statement. But choose colors that won’t conflict with future variations.

The Unboxing Experience

Congrats! A customer decided to buy your product. Your brand packaging design did its job. Okay, let’s throw some credit to the designers of the product too.

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Customers buy products online more than ever now. The design of product packaging has evolved from protection to communicating value. The packaging also makes a brand statement.

Now it’s time to wow your customer with an unboxing experience. If your product hits the mark, someone might even make an unboxing video. These videos are powerful advertisements for your brand.

The following three areas will help you nail a great unboxing design.

1. Function

Everything in the package needs to have a strong functional design. There should be no superfluous features.

Your packaging needs to protect the items inside. That’s why packaging was invented. Damaged product is a failure. Broken items frustrate your customer.

And they result in costly refunds.

Eliminate packing material that serves no real purpose. Simplicity contributes to stress-free unboxing. No one wants a messy pile of trash after unboxing your product.

2. Personal

All designers can make their product packaging personal on some level. Get into the psychology of your customer. What’s important to them?

If you’re selling a custom-order product, include your customer’s name if possible. If you can slip in a personal thank-you note, that’s even better. Make it obvious that you know another human is receiving the product.

3. Reveal

Most customers don’t rip open a package like a 7-year-old child tears wrapping paper from a new toy. They’re curious about what’s inside. They’re mentally prepared for some type of surprise.

Don’t let them down. Yes, you could stuff your product in the box with some packing peanuts. But that’s no experience for the customer.

Create an experience like that of an illusionist. Create a sense of wonder. Build anticipation as the customer removes each layer. Then make the big reveal.

Design Great Product Packaging

Bad package design sends your product to the bargain bins. Even with room for 142,000 items, Wal-Mart expects your brand to sell.

Use packaging graphic design that has clarity, a proper layout, and stands out. Why add more confusion? Start following these packaging design guidelines today!