Beginner’s Guide to Packaging & Labeling

Designing product packaging

Your product’s packaging and labeling is the first impression a customer experiences as they browse an aisle in the grocery store or click through product listings in an online store. With no second chances, there’s a lot riding on how your product is presented. In fact, according to a study published by the Paper and Packaging Board, 72% of consumers stated that packaging design influences their purchasing decision. Making the right packaging and product labeling choices can be the difference between an item that sells consistently and one that’s frequently overstocked.

In this post, we’ll explore the role that product packaging and labeling plays. We’ll also break down why product packaging and labeling is so important to your marketing efforts, offering plenty of actionable tips along the way to help you make smart design choices that will allow your products to stand out.

The Importance of Product Packaging

A product’s packaging serves three main functions. First, it’s where you convey important information like the product’s description, ingredients/materials, and how to use the product. Second, it protects your product from damage and keeps it fresh. Lastly, a product’s packaging is your primary opportunity to set your product apart from similar items sitting just feet or inches away. 

Never before have consumers had so much choice. And with the rise of increasingly-specialized tastes and preferences, the importance of differentiating your product has never been greater. Well-designed packaging allows you to convey your brand’s unique value proposition and emphasize important features like eco-friendly sustainability, high-quality, or good value.

Beard oil labels

Product Packaging Design Tips

It’s no accident that some products grab your attention as you shop. Effective packaging typically follows proven design principles. Here are seven tips that show how to use these principles to your advantage so you can design product packaging that sells.

1. Design with Your Audience in Mind 

Like you learned in your college speech class, it’s important to know who you’re talking to. What appeals to your intended audience is the key metric to reference when making decisions on product packaging design. The packing for a tutti-fruity gummy snack should have a much different look than a handmade Swiss chocolate bar that costs $15. They’re both candy, but they’re aiming at different customers. Product packaging should appeal to the type of consumer most likely to purchase your product.

2. Keep it Consistent 

Your choice of colors, fonts, and graphics should dovetail with those used in your logo and other product marketing. If you have established offerings, make sure there’s a clear link between the packaging design elements of both the old and new products.

Cocoon Apothecary skincare labels

3. Use Graphics to Communicate

At our core, humans are visual creatures. We painted and drew images in caves and on rock walls to communicate with one another. In the modern age, text has become an indispensable way to convey information. But humans still rely on visual elements to understand information. Whenever possible, lean heavily on simple, high-quality graphics to convey what lies underneath your product packaging. 

4. Keep it Clean and Streamlined 

People are inundated with advertising messages of all kinds. Give potential customers a sensory break when their eyes land on your product. A minimalist packaging and label design looks more sophisticated and less cluttered than one that’s loaded down with helpful, but visually-overwhelming details. Less is more when it comes to package design.

Gloss Label - Lindbergh Candle Company

5. Put Your Pitch Front and Center 

One simple, straightforward value proposition is all you really need. Dedicate your most valuable real estate to a short, simple phrase telling consumers what they’ll experience when they purchase your product. 

6. Take it Easy On the Planet 

Our planet’s landfills and oceans are filling up fast. Environmentally-friendly label and packaging options like recycled cardboard or biodegradable plastic alternatives make it possible to tread lightly. Sustainable packaging is also a significant value-add for today’s more eco-minded consumers.

Need inspiration? Check out these eco-friendly packaging ideas.

Environmentally friendly TerraSkin labels

7. Give Your Packaging a Second Life

For some packaging applications, it’s possible to reuse part or all of the original material for something else. A metal tin that can be used for storage, a fabric bag that can double as a beach bag, or paper packaging that’s designed to be cut out and used as a child’s mask or princess’ tiara are just a few ways your packaging can live on after the original contents have been consumed. Sharing ideas with customers for how to reuse your packaging makes it more attractive. And your repurposed packaging will serve as a reminder of your product long after its original contents have been used up.

Don’t Forget Your Product Labels 

Product labels complement the packaging, offering a prime opportunity to connect with customers. A well-designed label is both attractive and descriptive, grabbing attention while conveying product-specific information intended to prompt a purchasing decision. 

For more on how to design effective labels, check out our resources:

Get Started

Creating attractive product packaging and labels that clearly communicate to your intended audience is important business. Consumers are navigating an ever-widening sea of choices as they shop in-person and online. The product’s packaging and labeling are the first things they see when they encounter your product. With careful planning and effective design, your product will stand out, resulting in more sales.

If you have any questions about label design or printing, don’t hesitate to contact the Experience Team by either phone or Live Chat! Our team is hard at work, ready to serve your business with the same level of care and excellence we’ve always had.

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