There are hundreds of thousands of products being shipped to stores across the globe right this very instant… and there are hundreds of thousands of product packages being created and printed for them as well. So how do you make sure that your package design is the one that stands out among the masses? Here are 7 simple considerations in product design and package design that will enhance your shelf impact, whether you’re selling your goods in a grocery store or a specialty shop!
1) K.I.S.S. = “Keep it simple, stupid!”
Long gone are the times when going to the grocery story to purchase a can of soup was a simple as walking over to the soup section and grabbing the only brand available. Now there are dozens of competing brands that will use gimmicks and whatever tricks they deem necessary to grab consumers’ attention. But, studies have shown that in today’s consumer-driven world the products that fly off the shelf are those that can be properly identified with a first glance. So keep it simple, and make sure your product is easily identifiable for what it is right off the bat. If you’re selling cereal, your target consumer should be able to know that after a ½ second passing glance at your packaging.
2) Inspire ethos in your consumers.
Though it’s not often seen in products put out by huge conglomerates these days, adding your company’s personal story to your product’s package design as a way of appealing to your consumers can create a sense of romance—and consumer loyalty! In a tone that compliments your product and your consumer base, tell the story of how your product came to be, how it was made, what makes it different from the competition’s product and why it’s the best possible product someone could get on the market. We here at Elevate Creative love to encourage you to write and tell your own brand story. You know your product better than anyone, and we have brilliant, creative writers on staff that will help you craft your story to sell you to the public.
3) Display value-added info clearly!
If your product has an edge on the competitors – a value-added function or a unique feature, for example – make sure that it is prominently and clearly displayed on your packaging so that consumers know what they’re getting. Many times, companies go to lengths to make sure that their products outdo their competitors’ in function, quantity, or quality, only to fall short at the finish line because they don’t properly convey their efforts to the consumers via good promotional advertising on their packaging design.
4) Know your competition—and then crush them!
Okay, so this headline is a bit more aggressive than it should be. What it means is that you should take a look at the similar products that will be sitting on shelves next to yours and put a different spin on your product or package design. If you’re creating, for example, a hair dryer that’s going to hang amongst a sea of two dozen other hair dryers, check out the competition and make an assessment as to what you could do to make your product stand out on the shelf. Maybe you could change a few design elements or colors on your product, your packaging, or both!
Also, determine if your location will be a factor in how you should create your product design. For instance, if I am creating a package design in Los Angeles California, how should that differ from San Diego package design? They are two similar markets, but if you are in a grocery store in Los Angeles as compared to San Diego, California, what are the key differences in your environment and your target consumer. To go a step further, think nationally and globally. For instance, how will your package design perform in San Diego compared to Louisiana, and how will it perform in San Diego compared to Japan? These are very broad markets obviously, and would probably justify a different package design for each, but we are writing this to open your mind to different product strategies as opposed to just the town you’re currently living in.
5) Appeal to the senses…
While this may not be an appropriate way to enhance shelf impact of every product, it definitely works for most. Say a consumer walks up to a shelf of screwdrivers and intends to buy one. While most have handles that are wrapped in that thick, government-grade plastic, one has the handle exposed for the consumer to feel, appealing to their sense of touch. Even though most of the screwdrivers likely have similar “feels” to them, this is just one added bit of information the consumer can now use when deciding which to purchase. If possible, try to give your consumer an added glimpse (or feel) of your actual product, rather than hiding it behind your no-doubt well-designed box.
6) Provide simple (and fun!) instructions.
Some products require instructions to be used properly. Incorporating a distinct and fun illustration (or some flavorful wording) can help spice up your product and make it more appealing than your competitors’!
7) Never underestimate color!
This is an especially good (and simple) consideration for improving the shelf impact of your product. Oftentimes when creating their products and packaging, companies will look to their competitors and settle on similar color palettes for their own designs as well. (Maybe they’re thinking, “Hey, it’s working for them – why not us?”) But adding a unique and appropriate pop of color to your product, can be a simple way of making your product stand out about the rest!
There is no perfect concrete, correct answer to picking a color. In other words, there’s no one list of rules that says “always pick blue if you have a hardware product. Always pick yellow if you have a cereal product.” I hate to break it to you…but there is no silver bullet despite what some marketers will try to claim. Consumer’s minds are constantly changing about which colors they find attractive on what type of product. The challenge (and the solution in my professional opinion) is to give consumers something they’re familiar with, but also something that will have a pop of difference and catch their eye. I call this the “Differentiate…Don’t Alienate” theory.
To sum all of this up, package design is a very complex subject. We hope this list will help you get the ball rolling on your product marketing, and we would always suggest hiring a professional package design agency like us at Elevate Creative to help you create the brand image of your dreams. You’ve spent countless time and money creating your fantastic product, now leave it to the professionals like us to help your product jump off the shelf and sell, sell sell!