Packaging is capable of making the consumers’ feelings arise, transforming the perception and valuation that they have of the brand. In the digital era where the virtual world is intangible, packaging is still a necessary physical element in the real world.
Making brand values tangible and associating them with a memorable consuming experience opens up a world of possibilities to add value to packaging. If we want to really offer something more than a container, it is necessary to think in terms of the consumer and consider them first. For example, resolve their concerns, give them greater satisfaction by making their task easier, put forward a second use of the packaging, create a utility, reduce the amount of waste, etc.
The challenge of packaging design is to surprise and provide new ways of connect with to the product. It is not always necessary to invent a package with the highest technology, but rather to search within the possibilities and combine ideas. Using a standard package, but an unusual one for certain types of products, does not require too much investment of time and money.
The originality of a design should consist of using known resources, but combining them in a different way than the one we know. Standard packaging has a lot of potential in categories where it is not normally used. To mention just a few examples; ice cream in common jelly and marmalade glass jars, flexible packs with sprouts for solid food or carton packs for mineral water. Kleenex made a clever graphic intervention on a standard, but unusual, format for handkerchiefs, and completely changed the look of the package which boosted sales in the summer. Sweets in doypack? An appropriate package to preserve and show the originality of the shape and colors of these so striking candies. Sugarpova is the sweet brand of tennis player Maria Sharapova. On the other hand, the wefts and colors of the design have more of the fashion universe than of sweets.
Practical And Functional
In addition to preserving, protecting, containing and communicating, packaging should be practical, useful and convenient while handling. Who hasn’t ever felt frustrated trying to open a packet of biscuits with that red ribbon that is supposed to make opening easier?
Structural design or the choice of a package is a real opportunity to differentiate oneself from the vast offer of products with similar characteristics. Difficulties in opening can cause unwanted damage to any package. It is not pleasant a deficiency that causes spills or allows the entrance of air deteriorating the quality of the product. Detecting the faults or weak points of a package is the great opportunity to provide a solution to consumers’ daily problems.
Soup in a microwave-safe package differs from canned soup by its value proposition than by what it contains. Plum managed to position itself as the leader in baby food by giving the package functionality with a beak that children literally use as a bottle. The flexible packaging of Campbells GO soup highlights the convenience of being microwaveable. In this way, they attract consumers who are looking for practicality. In addition to function we must also take into consideration the ergonomics, its shape, its materials and the feeling it it conveys to consumers.
Let’s not forget 360º packaging communication, it is perceived with the five senses, and the result of the experience it provides becomes the brand’s heritage. The moment a package is opened for the first time can be something really interesting to think about when designing packaging. They are about people filming themselves while opening a product for the first time, as if it were a striptease action, and describing the sensation the packaging is giving them. Consumers have an active role and generate content from their experiences. The protagonists of the new consumption era are not packaging or brands, but people. Going viral can be part of the packaging design strategy, not to tell the consumer what to do, but to provide them with an original and rewarding experience worth sharing on their social media.
Packaging opens up the game to create combinations that adapt to people’s preferences and likes. Allowing people to collaborate in the packaging design process is a reality. Consumers enjoy being the owners of the decisions they make.
Digital printing, which was developed due to the need to make low quantities of printed matter, has taken an unexpected turn. The possibility of to adding value and differentiation by means of constant changes between the same production of printed matter has been given. On the other hand, consumer’s preferences are met by offering more presentations, sizes, materials and varieties. Diversity in sizes for convenience may be fundamental to the purchasing decision of a single person or a large family.
What if the same consumer could choose how to combine their favorite products into one package?
Absolut created a series of bottles with unique designs where each one has an exclusive decoration that does not repeat. Technology offers the possibility of adapting and creating limited editions and it may even allow designs to be chosen or generated by consumers themselves.
Barnes & Webb rent beehives in private homes. The company’s staff are in charge of the maintenance and extraction of the honey. Then the tenants receive the honey packaged with labels that show the zip code of each house.