Frequently Asked Questions.
In order for your packaging to stand out, there’s two main things to consider: Firstly, what is my competition? Depending on your distribution method, you may be competing against similar brands on the shelf. In this case, it’s important to differentiate by positioning your brand carefully using design which reflects your target price and audience. The second consideration is your audience. Who is your customer and how can you engage with them effectively. People often make snap decisions and usually based on an emotional, subconscious level. It’s therefore important that the design, choice of materials and messaging all work together to speak to your customer in a way that matches their style or expectation. Once you have positioned your packaging correctly, secondary decisions will be much easier to navigate. Get in touch with us now to find out how we can help you win more customers.
Some examples of different materials are: Cardboard – usually referred to as ‘solid boards’, or ‘folding boxboard’ paper based card is made from layers of wood and recycled pulp to make a sturdy material. Card can be fully recycled (usually grey) from mixed sources including clay and often bleached (usually white) and from natural unbleached tree fibres (usually brown) cardboard can further be divided into several other categories which included corrugated card, made from 3 or more layers of paper with ridges in the central layer to create a strong and light material. This is often used for shipping containers, point of sale items or transit packaging for heavy products. Plastics – Plastics are often used in packaging and cover a range of uses such as thin films or ‘flexibles’ used for bags, polythene wraps, shrink films, and clear windows. Rigid plastics are denser and can be formed or moulded to a range of shapes, such as vacuum formed trays, bottles, tubs and tubes. Air can be blown into plastics to make them lighter and to give different properties such as foam or expanded polystyrene which can be used for protection or void filling. Some plastics are more difficult to recycle, but can be used or returned back into a closed loop system to give a much longer lifecycle. Biopolymers – there are many bio polymers or materials made from renewable sources. One of the oldest and most readily available is celulose film (as used in cellotape) which is made from tree pulp. Other examples include starch based products, and newer examples made from mushrooms, bamboo, sugarcane and a range of other sources. Often these newer materials are very expensive, but can be used in a range of situations ranging from formed rigid trays, through to padding and protection and outer branded containers. Metals – Metals are used in packaging most commonly as tinned or canned products, but can be used for all products from electronics supplied in hinged tins, through to industrial packaging for protection and highly creative confectionery packaging often seen in the christmas aisle. Metals are usually recyclable, but can be expensive to form and manufacture meaning that they’re more suited to volume production. Wood – wooden boxes are usually made in lower volumes as the square meterage cost for wood is high. Often industrial transit packaging includes wooden crates which can be re-used but wooden boxes can be highly decorative as seen in the tobacco or whisky markets. As with metal and wooden boxes, glass packaging has been around for a long time and is used in a range of markets from milk bottles and jars through to perfume and home fragrance packaging. Glass is widely and easily recyclable but due to its weight, has a negative impact on the environment due to freight and the related energy use in both transit and manufacture.
The opening experience is the process that the user goes through in order to get into the packaging and reach their product. Some products need to be opened easily and quickly (e.g. Accessible packaging) whereas for some special edition gift products, the customer wants to feel like they’re being looked after. The opening stages allow the marketer or brand owner to communicate the use or additional messages about the product.
Regulations for food packaging vary between market and product type. It is always recommended to talk to a specialist. The main requirements are clearly labelled ingredients with allergens displayed (often in bold), weight of the product, nutritional information and location of manufacture and batch number where relevant, and safety information for certain products. Thee are also additional requirements for products containing alcohol. Retailers also often require additional information such as traffic light system and barcoding.
There are several processes to designing packaging well.
Step one: It all starts with the product. The common phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ is very misleading. The product should always be the starting point in packaging design. So size, weight, route to market will all help us make good choices.
Step 2: Once the product is identified, we need to create a style and choose materials which are suitable. Often some initial sketches are made so we can choose a style, then the CAD design is created.
Step 3: good packaging is about communicating the product to the consumer. Artwork, messaging and icons all help to communicate in a way which is familiar and understandable to the consumer.
Step 4: Once the artwork is approved, we can make sure everything is in the right place ready for manufacture. Next we can create some printed prototypes.
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