27 Mar All You Need to Know About Custom Packaging
One thing every brand realizes early on in their career is that packaging plays a vital role in creating an identity for the business. It gives the brand a unique identity. And you can notice the impact of packaging by, for instance, buying a Rolex watch and a local watch. Even if you put watches aside and overlook their cost, you will notice that their packaging justifies the price. That’s the impact of packaging.
Packaging, besides serving its primary purpose is also a way to communicate with customers as well as competitors. Factors like shape, design, material, text, and colors, all of them speak the brand language. Ideally, a package should convey the following things:
- Brand’s value
- Who the product is marketed to
- What does the product do
In the end, the packaging is all about marketing. It communicates market value and the personality that a customer is being associated with. Packaging develops recognition. Over time, the customer develops familiarity with your brand as they start to distinguish your brand from the other competitors. It’s interesting to note that good packaging can make a customer swim downstream towards your brand and a bad one can make them swim upstream.
The bottom line is, brand packaging matters and the more you work on it, the more you realize there is no room for error here. It can make or break your business.
So let us take a deep dive into the packaging to learn everything there is to know about custom packaging, its trends and how you can communicate using a packaging design.
Basics of the Packaging
To help understand how you should go about designing the packaging for your brand, there are some questions that you need to know the answers of:
Which Material Should You Choose?
In packaging design, one of the most important parts is the choice of material. Deciding whether to go with plastic, paper, or any other material will convey the brand’s style and send a message accordingly. At the same time, you should keep in mind that people generally prefer paper or cardboard packaging over plastic.
What will be the method of transportation of the product?
If a business has to grow in the current market, the brand must embrace e-commerce. You don’t have to fully sell products online but also sell them online. This allows people outside the city or state the brand is based in to buy something if they like. This even increases the chances of international candidates if you market properly. Your packaging must be designed keeping in mind that it must keep the product inside intact.
What is the Budget?
There is no simpler way to put this: the quality of the packaging will be decided by your budget. When you are allotting budget to packaging, keep in mind it is not just the piece of paper or cardboard that you will shape as you desire, but creative work will also go into it.
What Will Your Customer Like?
Understanding your target audience is the first thing that is taught in marketing. Retail packaging is no different. Therefore, before you have a meeting with the creative department to brainstorm ideas, have a meeting before that to have a conversation on your target audience and what will appeal to them.
Packaging, as we’ve discussed already, serves both style- and function-related purposes. This means that when it comes to designing, it’s about making a smart decision. Because once the design is off for printing, U-turn is not a choice unless you are willing to go through the effort again. Despite the standard packaging available in the market, it may not be suitable for your product. What you have to keep in mind while going through standard packaging is whether or not it can be used for your products. If not, study the design and its purpose and design a custom packaging that that is more appropriate for your products. So now let’s take a look at how to start designing:
Trends of your competitors will show you what they are doing for their product, and the same thing will help you in designing your packaging as well. An important thing to remember here is that the product should define how your packaging is, and not the other way around. Simple reason: a customer is buying your brand’s product, not the packaging. The packaging is just a way to complement it.
Understand what are your competitors doing
One of the smarter ways to design packaging is to study what your competitors, especially the ones at the top. Do not steal their design but study their design and understand their ultimate goal with the design. You might be surprised to find certain common key features in packaging. This will give you an idea of what works for customers in the field. Whether you adopt the feature as such or mold it in a unique way, is your call. But do not ignore it.
Think of your Customers
A good brand always keeps its customers in mind before taking any step. So should you. Understand what catches your customers’ eye and where would you like their attention in your brand’s packaging. Perhaps you can find a middle ground between these to reach out to your customers with something old presented in a new way.
Don’t forget the packaging requirements
Several products need labeling for safety reasons or to distinguish it from the other similar things. Make sure to include these in your final packaging. This will greatly help in creating a cohesive design that your customers will like.
Mistakes Are Okay
It’s perfectly okay to not get the design result the first time. Hardly rare brands do. But what separates a good brand from a bad brand is the proclivity to learn from mistakes. A weak or a bad brand would be extremely discouraged from their first design not working as expected. However, a good brand will accept the message, take the lessons and improve on their mistakes in the next design. This is why customer feedback is important. The more you directly stay in touch with your customers, the better it will be for your brand.
There is a multitude of options available for styles of packaging. Choose one of them or more that suits your brand and its products, which also add to the presentation. Let’s look at some of the commonly preferred packaging styles:
The primary purpose of a display box is that it is placed on the display areas in a store. The packaging is what will lure the customer to check out the product. This style of packaging has a window through which the customers can see the product. When done well, it protects the product as well as attracts customers to pay attention to it.
Straight Tuck End
Ideal for streamlined packaging, Straight Tuck End is easy to assemble and versatile. A simple tuck on both ends acts as an effective seal. In this, closures are mostly positioned at the back and they maintain the clear design of the box by seamlessly blending along the edges.
Reverse Tuck End
While in Straight Tuck End the openings are available on two ends, Reverse Tuck End style of packaging as one at the top in the front. The product is placed and closed from the open end. These are perfect for heavier products because it allows the bottom of packaging to be sturdier.
A dual part structure is used in a sleeve box for durable packaging. The product is slid effortlessly into the box with the double-wall try insides before closing it. The trays can be opened on either end and they are designed to lock them in a place and prevent from opening when you don’t want them to.
Gable Bags and Box
Gable bags and boxes are a majorly preferred style of packaging by international brands. It has a sturdy structure and nice tuck at one end to close the packaging that comes together without any hassle. These used by brands when they want to display the product inside.
Also called the foot lock, these are used to organize and store large inventories of heavy items. Its trays feature a traditional male-female lock designed to ensure stability. It has four flaps that lock separately on to the box to hold the product in place.
Four Corner Beer
Four corner beer packaging includes a box with a lid and a tray. It has the classic four-corner design in which each corner folds inwards to hold its shape. Besides being used on the counter for display, these are used for storing and carrying items.
Six Corner Beer
The six corner beer is a modification in the four corner beer. Other than comprising of a corner in four-folds, it also has a two-fold lid that slips over the box. This secures the product even tighter. These boxes are perfect to use for shipping.
Pillow box gets their names from their design. These are no-hassle and easy-to-assemble cartons with fold-over closures at both ends. These are ideally used for products that are to be gifted. This innovative style of packaging is good to look at.
Literature shipper is a style of packaging that’s becoming more and more common these days. These lightweight and sturdy packaging is used for shipping books, brochures, product samples, and more. The front flap that opens outside makes it easier to open it and also provides the structural support it needs the most to keep the product intact.
If none of the standard designs suit your needs or do not fit in for the look and style that you want your brand to have, you can always opt for custom packaging. Besides always being in the trends for some reason or the other, it adds a distinctive touch to your brand. So if you want your style of packaging to be unique, custom packaging is an option. However, because it’s custom, you will have to sit and brainstorm with designers. Buying one or more of the standard designs, of course, the easy way out of this; custom packaging can be expensive and will take more to finalize things. Before deciding on the final design, you will go through several designs. And when the finalized design is printed and does not work with the customers as intended, then you will have to pull it back and brainstorm a new design. The fruit of the time and effort you put into custom packaging now will be borne in the long run and for the brand’s benefit.
What’s surprising (and good) about custom retail packaging is that the brands choosing this option are increasing every day. In fact, it is now becoming a trend for brands to head go the custom packaging way. The brands realize the potential this holds. They are creating new designs, making mistakes and learning; for this is the only way to get to that final design that is loved by your target audience and makes them come to return to your brand to buy its products.
Custom packaging is complemented with custom print effects. There are now printing companies that specialize in custom retail packaging and they offer custom print effects that will make your brand stand out from your competitors.
These include effects like die cutting, in effects, embossing, foil stamping, and Spot UV printing. All of these help in giving the packaging that desired look you are going for.
To put it plainly, there is no end to the designs you can make once you start using the print effects. You can discard more than a thousand designs and still not even get close to exhausting all the options.
So the best thing you need to do to get the desired design for custom packaging is to sit down with your creative heads and spitball ideas for designs.
Not all designs you come up with within the Conference Room of your office will see the light of the day. You will find many designs unfeasible for printing because printing has its limitations. So while you present various design samples to the printing company, the executive there will ask you various questions, which you need to know the answer to for the printing company to print the design and bring it to fruition what you have in head. Here are these questions:
Exact Dimensions of the Product
One of the most important things about the package is the dimensions of the product. Although the package size can be much larger than the size of the product, the product dimensions will make it clear the minimum size of the package. Once the Printing Executive knows the dimensions of the product, it’s easier for them to design the package, keeping those dimensions in mind, and make appropriate changes.
Is This a Use-And-Throw Box?
A box can either be used once by your brand or thrown away afterward or be used by the customer later for personal purposes as well. Depending on the answer the packaging will be designed. Generally, use-and-throw boxes are of low quality and repeated use boxes are sturdier. Your answer will decide the quality of the material the print executive will use. One is cheap and pocket-friendly, the other is expensive and long-lasting.
What is the Weight of the Item?
The last thing you want is for the packaging to be unable to bear the weight of the product and breaking. The packaging has to be sturdy enough that the product does not put a strain on the packaging that it’s on the cusp of breaking or tearing. To give an example, the paper is not the right material for packaging if the product is heavy. Cardboard or corrugated paper would be preferred in its place.
Will the box be used for packaging one product or more than one product?
You will be surprised to find how much money you can save by simply using one packaging design for more than one product. Instead of designing a different packaging for each product, try to go for one design – with small changes – that is suitable for packaging more than one product.
What is the Purpose of Packaging?
This can be a big question to answer because boxes have different purposes. They are used for storing, transporting, shelving, using etc. You have to finalize the purpose of your box. If like a box of toys, it will be shelved on display, then different materials will be used; if it will be thrown away taking out the product and then different materials will be used.
Do you want the packaging to fold?
Not all packages are foldable. When you’re designing a package, it’s a good thing to keep in mind that the package should be easy to ship and store. Non-folding boxes are generally sturdier than folding boxes and can carry more weight. Which of these two options work best for you calls for deliberation on your part.