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What should you plan before designing your packaging?

In an increasingly consumer dominant world, your packaging is more important than ever before. As more of us spend our money online, the role that packaging plays has largely changed in recent years, and if yours hasn’t evolved with the times, you’re missing a trick.

Who remembers the plain brown boxes turning up from Amazon or the white plastic tubs in which anything edible would be stored? Well, those times are long behind us. Businesses have evolved, and packaging is now seen as an integral piece in the branding jigsaw.

However, as more companies leverage their brand and the multiple touchpoints that packaging offers, it makes the process of designing the ideal box, tub, jar, bottle etc more formulaic and strategic.

So let’s shed some light on the packaging design process, offer you some hints and tips and help broaden your knowledge.

It’s time to think outside the box

Behind every great business is an even better brand, and the most successful entrepreneurs always have their brand in mind. That little statement introduces the first step you should be taking before designing your packaging perfectly.

You should be considering your overall brand. If you are in the design process and you’re thinking about how eye-catching royal blue packaging would be, you’d be right! It’s an awesome colour; it denotes wealth and security; however, it’s certainly not suitable for you if you have a logo that’s red or brown. Unless you’re doing a limited campaign, this could work as a stand out piece of packaging for a few months.

Why not?

The brand you develop will be one of the primary facets of your success, and for your everyday packaging, you shouldn’t be asking your designer to change your brand identity colours.

Think about the bright yellow Selfridges shopping bags or equally the rich orange of a Louis Vuitton one. Then change both of them to powder pink like Pretty Little Thing. It doesn’t work, does it? But it works well for them because of the core differences in the brands.

Top tip: It’s not just colours that should be on-brand. The same goes for the material your packaging comes in. If your business is a high-end product, we would expect to see expensive materials within the package design. Tailoring your packaging to align with your brand gives you the best chance of replicating the in-store purchase experience.

What are you planning on spending?

The one thing we try to avoid is stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s what we need to do to help guide our readers on a journey. So, here comes the obvious statement, plan your budget beforehand, anticipate a bit more cash on packaging than you’d expect.

Whenever a package design project lands on our desks at Create8, we think it’s essential for everyone to understand the budget of the project long-term. Packaging design can get expensive quite quickly – we wouldn’t want your business to get halfway through the process and run out of funds.

Lots of slight element tweaks can change the overall cost of a package, and therefore, we would suggest exploring every option before settling for one.

For example, do the plastics you want to use vary depending on price? Or is it going to cost extra for a more durable version for your fragile products?

Top tip: Explore and learn before making a big decision. You could realise that the minimum order quantity is twenty times more than you budgeted for; we don’t want that!

Packaging at Create8

At Create8, we have a team that specialises in building bespoke packaging design projects. You don’t have to take our word for it, see some of the fantastic packaging jobs we’ve worked on recently and learn how we can make your packaging a memorable experience.

How well do you know the competition?

When it comes to packaging design, you are in a constant battle with those around you; this is especially pertinent when it comes to winning those offline sales. If the packaging of your product is dull and unimaginative, it’s likely to go unnoticed next to an eye-catching competitor. Think about all of those different drinks sitting on the shelves. Do you think there’s room for a poorly branded fizzy drink? Maybe at the back…

The big players that arrived in the market more recently, see themselves as brands that are there to shake up the crowd. If you think of the branding of Monster or Relentless Energy, you’ll think of bright colours and detailed graphics. They understand their position in the market and what the competition brings and doesn’t bring to the table.

Understanding your position and stance in the sector is also vital for those trading through eCommerce. You’re completely missing the mark if you build an eco-friendly product and ship it in a non-recyclable box.

Top Tip: Mindmap all of the things that make your brand special, including all of your USPs and standout traits. Use the information on the paper to guide your packaging decisions.

There’s magic in the maths

To fully understand how your packaging will affect your product, you need to head back to school and make sure you know the maths. Failing to work out the exact dimensions of your packaging could cause damage to the product and frustrate the customer.

Let’s be honest; there’s nothing more annoying than missing a delivery that you’ve already looked out the window for three hundred times that day. Well, insert the flexible plastic packaging that fast fashion brands seem to love, and now the postman can slide the delivery through the letterbox.

Dimensions are incredibly important if you are producing a food or drink product. This is due to the extra information that needs to be displayed on the label for these types of products compared to different sectors. If your label doesn’t fit on the outside of the product, this could mean a complete redesign that would waste time and become expensive.

Consult a branding agency

We’ve all had that one idea that we think is absolutely perfect but didn’t quite know how to execute. Well, when it comes to the packaging sector, the more creative the thought process, the more eye-catching the outcome.

So, if you think that your packaging concept isn’t attainable, you should take the time to consult a branding agency to see what they can do before you completely write it off. An agency with experience with innovative packaging will be able to scope out your proposal and tell you whether or not they believe it to be doable.

With a branding agency on your side, you’ll be given direction and alternatives for any of the stumbling blocks that occur.

Top tip: When it comes to picking an agency to support your vision, we always suggest doing your homework. Find out how the agency works, what past customers have had to say about them and whether they specialise in packaging design. Sometimes being price conscious will help your business to attribute money elsewhere; however, when it comes to the importance of your packaging, we would say go with the agency that feels right and not the cheapest option.

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At Create8, we’ve been lucky to work with some incredibly interesting and innovative entrepreneurs. Therefore we have plenty of bespoke packaging experience and have first-hand knowledge of various specifications and fields.

As with every job that comes through the door at Create8, we gather our team and build up a proposal of suggestions for your project. Your business benefits from the combined skill set of all of our employees and not just one set of eyes. When it comes to something as essential as packaging, having one person look at the same proposal time and time again can mean you miss something fundamental in the long run.

So, what do you have to do next? Well, you don’t HAVE to do anything, but if you’re thinking about how your packaging is going to work for you, you should reach out and have a discussion with our team. We pride ourselves on being an outgoing and personable agency that emphasises creating memorable projects and creating a bond with the customer.

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