Old tips on packaging design that still rule the block.

The history of packaging design dates as far as 1500 B.C when glass packaging was used in Egypt. It consisted of a mixture of melted limestone, soda, sand, and silicate which was then shaped into a glass package. Thousand years post this, the glass production technique improved. After the 1970s, glass packaging began to be used in high-value products up till today.

In 1200 A.C, Bohemia had plants producing tin sheets but the technology of using tins to store foods was kept a secret until the 1600s.
The main spark of preserving food in containers started in 1809 during Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign.  He offered to pay 12,000 Franks to candidates who would come up with a solution to preserve the army’s food supplies. Nikolas Appert, known as the “Father of Canning” presented a tinned can that had the ability to store food after being sterilized.

Robert Gair, in 1890, conceived the concept of paperboard folding carton. The British Print Industry Federation(BPIF) was founded. In the meanwhile, National Biscuit Company (NABISCO) discovered Gair’s folding carton and implemented it thus giving rise to the ideal packaging material.

Design agencies designated specialized artists for designing the package for mass appeal. The government introduced packaging regulations during this time on certain products. The laws required brands to follow certain kinds of packaging designs. We have come a long way since then.

1. A design is only as worth as its sale value:
Supermarkets are filled with exotic and beautifully designed products, each of them different from the rest. The main question is- do you understand the product when you see the design?

Not every pretty design goes off the shelves. There are a few that make the cut.
What makes the cut?

Research indicates that customers take 20 seconds to decide if the product is worth their penny.
While designing the package, keep in mind the simplicity of the message. Does the brand drive home what they are selling and for whom? If your answer is yes, your packaging has made it.
Keeping information crisp, with clear visuals and vital information, you can do away with the unnecessary embellishments.

2. A disparity between the design and the product can cause damage:

There have been numerous instances among customers when the design and the product inside do not match. If you have seen a packaging design that creates an exceptional image of the product, chances are, you will be disappointed. This hampers the brand reputation and affects the sale.
Designers need to be honest with the customer and not go overboard.  Customers are fine trying new products as long as the designs are not misleading.

3.  The odd one out gets the limelight:

If you place your package in a shelf full of similar products, do you notice your product first or does it merge in like a chameleon? If your answer is the latter one, you might want to consider redesigning.

Redesigning doesn’t mean abusing the colour palette or using neon to make it stand out. A great designer can play with colours, yet bring out the uniqueness of the design. A “shelf impact” plays huge importance in sales. When products try to imitate generic brands, a simple design can ‘pop’ out of the crowd.

4. Don’t let product extensions dilute your design:

A package should be designed keeping in mind the long term usage. If you plan to launch new variants of the same product, the design should be able to adapt to it without making it look like a whole different product altogether. Designs also have the ability to make the products look like they are a family of the same brand.

5. Feasibility and functionality must go hand in hand:

Designers should be a risk taker. Going the ‘tried and tested’ route does not necessarily mean the product will be a success. It becomes a mere imitation and customers today cannot be fooled. When you design a package, put yourself as the user and think about how you would use it and store it. Thorough research and practical design solve a lot of problems.

Brands are constantly looking to upgrade their products to make them more appealing. If you look at creating a design for mass appeal, keep in mind these simple rules that will help products make the cut.