Product Packaging: Our 5 Ways To Help You Stand Out

When it comes to developing product packaging, two thoughts that come to mind are: meeting the needs of the consumer, as well as capturing their attention in a sea of competition. Packaging presents an opportunity; messaging ends up straight in the consumer’s hand, and often their home. As a result, it becomes a constant reminder of that product or brand. Below are some tips and questions to ask yourself when producing a great package.

COMMUNICATING with your Product Packaging

Packages perform as vehicles for direct communication between brands and consumers, and should answer questions such as:

  • What is the product?
  • Are there benefits of using the product?
  • How is this product unique?
apple-product-packaging

An array of Apple products and electronics

Packaging is often considered the last advertisement a potential buyer will see before making a purchase. Use graphic design to speak to how the customer should feel with color, typography, texture, and messaging. Consider the design of an Apple package. Each component is arranged with care, making smart use of the space inside. The clean white boxes ensure the focus is on the product itself. Written messaging gets out of the way and product photos dominate the front of the packages. The tech is the star here. Each part of the inner package is considered; from the way cords are wrapped to the origami-esque components that hold instruction manuals. Each choice speaks to how Apple wants their product to be received by the customer: important, good quality, smart, and well designed.

Good design lives at the intersection of creativity and functionality. Imagine a consumer carrying the product out of the store:

  • How will the customer carry and purchase the product?
  • How does your product fit into their life?
dose-juice-product-packaging

Woman holding a bottle of juice

THINKING ABOUT THE CONSUMER

Therefore, product packaging that can be carried, stored, and reused, functions to remind the customer of your brand and its value in everyday life. Quality components make lasting impressions, especially if a branded component of the package becomes part of their experience with the product itself.

How does the packaging feel in the hand? Weightiness, often psychologically, communicates higher quality. Choose a material that is pleasant to touch. It encourages customers to hold it longer. The longer they hold it, the greater the feeling of psychological ownership. This can help motivate the customer to purchase an item.

 

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COMPETITION

grocery-store-isles

Grocery store isles full of various products

What do the competitor’s products look like? Does your product stand out without alienating the consumer? If multiple competitors are already using flashy colors and graphics, a product may actually stand out with a neutral palette and minimal design elements. For that reason, it’s helpful to take visual stock at real stores to determine your competitors’ aggregated color stories and how your product will fit into that landscape. Is there a story missing from the spread? Does your product fill that gap? Be sure to tell your audience why you’re using thoughtful product packaging design.

VALUES

boxed-water-product-packaging

Boxed Water is Better product

Packaging advertises a brand’s values. Audiences seek alignment with brands they purchase from. The ever-rising popularity of green products (which often purport sustainable practices, using recyclable/recycled materials, or using natural ingredients) is a reflection of this desire for shared values. It is also common to advertise other ethical choices such as:

  • Workers’ conditions
  • Whether you test on animals
  • Political stances

These values can be advertised directly on the box to make you stand out from the crowd. While even if your stance may be an unpopular one, an honest advertisement will keep loyal consumers. Consumers desire transparency and are alienated by inauthenticity.

LOCATION

woman-shopping-at-makeup-counterWhich stores will you sell the product in? Do those locations speak to the values that the brand purports? If you advertise sustainable, ethically-sourced products, selling products in a large discount department store might create dissonance with the target audience.

Also, you should consider the product’s location in the store itself, potentially using:

  • Point of purchase displays – These provide more physical space to convey messaging to the customer, as well as helping your product to stand out significantly (as it will no longer be on the shelves next to the rest of the products). Point of purchase displays can also encourage impulse buys when strategically placed.
  • Endcaps are another great way to boost visibility. They provide a platform for you to advertise items together that may not normally be near each other. Paired products present a convenience to the buyer. They might not bother to find alternatives. A good example of this is selling office supplies together that share an aesthetic theme.

EXPERIENCE

Bottles-sunglasses-product-packagingProduct packaging is an extension of your brand experience. Opening a product can replicate the joy and curiosity felt upon opening a Christmas present. There are many social media avenues where people share their unboxing experiences on camera, such as Instagram and YouTube. These present an opportunity for your product to gain organic engagement and generate sales. In this instance, the wrapper is sometimes more important than what’s inside. An especially well-designed or unusual unboxing experience will encourage people to share their experience with others. It can be a great choice to develop an eccentric package if you seek to tap into audiences in this avenue.

CONCLUSION

As with most designs, the foundation of your choices should rest on their authenticity to your brand identity and messaging. Above all, be sure to tell the consumer specifically what value your product offers to their lives before they even open the box.

Can our agency help you take your product from just another one lost in the crowd, to one that stands out amongst the rest?

ABOUT US

CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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Graphic Designer vs. Graphic Artist

You’re probably thinking, “Can there really be an entire blog devoted to the differences between a graphic artist and graphic designer?”

You may not realize there is any difference, but there is. The purpose of this blog is to help explain what they are.

PERSPECTIVE

As a designer who has worked as both a graphic artist and a graphic designer, I understand the confusion. After all, graphic artists and graphic designers do have the following things in common:

  • Both rely on visuals to execute their work
  • Both work in digital and print formats
  • And, of course, both start with the word “graphic.”

The roles of graphic artist and graphic designer actually have different objectives. Based on my experience and knowledge, I will break down the differences.

GRAPHIC ARTIST

The sole intent of a graphic artist is to create visuals that facilitate an idea or story. Sometimes there is no logic to the creation of the designs, and in other instances, the visuals are the platform for an entire story.

Above all, there is no limit to the kind or amount of mediums a graphic artist can use.

Graphic-artist-Taylor-SwiftThe design principles are not strict, but that doesn’t mean they should be disregarded. (For a refresher on the basic design elements and principles reference my blog, (“Construct, Compose, Create; A Basic Guide to Graphic Design”.) Consequently, graphic artists tend to bend or break some of the design rules, but only if it fits the composition or story being told.

To better understand what a graphic artist might do, it may help to identifygraphic-artist-cartoon-comic the kinds of work they produce. A graphic artist’s portfolio might include:

  • Cartoons
  • Illustrations
  • Graphic Novels
  • Comic Books
  • Movie Illustrations

WHO MAKES A GRAPHIC ARTIST?

The common denominator between all of these pieces is that they are more artistically inclined. A graphic artist’s work can cover a wide range of subject matters, from inanimate objects to human beings, and everything in between.

Each piece does not follow a uniform set of rules. The styling is limited to that particular piece of artwork. If the graphic artist’s intent is to tell a story, the visuals come first and the story second. Depending on the story, visuals are influenced by dynamic action, dialogue, or stylizing within the composition.

GRAPHIC ARTIST OBJECTIVE

Here’s an interpretation of how a graphic artist could be shown through humanistic qualities:

graphic-artist-image-of-a-girl

The main objective of a graphic artist is to entertain the viewer. The appearance of the subject may or may not have a correlation to a story. The main focus is the art, which reflects in their styling. The subject matter tends to be more natural and artistic. For this particular example, the subject matter is a human with natural and utilitarian elements. The hair stylizing is natural, and the clothing is purely for its utility. There is no other underlying message.

You will see Graphic artists’ work in a print or digital format. It depends on the purpose of the design. Their work is created by hand or on a computer, and the artwork they produce often works in both print and digital format.

image-Roaring-Rails-film-poster graphic-image-Katzenjammer_Kids graphic-artist-image-Frida-Kahlo

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

In contrast, the graphic designer’s main intention is to get the viewer to interact with the content within the design. With interactivity, the viewer can read, scroll, or click through the content being displayed. In the world of graphic design, content is king, and the purpose of the design is to help optimize concise information while providing a visual platform.
designer-looking-at-logos
To better understand what a graphic designer might do, you should be able to identify the kinds of work they produce. A graphic designer’s portfolio might include:

  • Infographic
  • Marketing Collateral
  • Print Design
  • Digital Design
  • Web Design
  • Instructional Design
  • Presentation Design
  • Logo Design

WHO MAKES A GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Certainly the common denominator for all of these pieces is that they serve as platforms for content that can be used in various forms of media. A prime example of graphic design is marketing collateral for a company. The company will want a consistent design throughout all of their marketing materials (i.e., brochures, flyers, business cards, advertisements, websites, etc.) across all mediums.

GRAPHIC DESIGNER OBJECTIVE

Here’s an interpretation of how a graphic designer could be shown through humanistic qualities:

graphic-designer-image-of-a-girl

The main objective of a graphic designer is to deliver the content in an eye-catching manner. The composition and how the design interacts with depends on the content being displayed. The shirt has a graphic element, but with complementary colors: blue and yellow. The shirt also has a design, but it is balanced because of its symmetrical composition. Color and balance are two elements of design.

Remember graphic design relies on the composition of the content, and the graphic design elements and principles are essential in laying out a composition.

apple-logo-designimage-of-a-book-of-fonts graphic-designer-image-of-paint-swatches

CONCLUSIONS

  • Graphic designers must follow strict guidelines due to the parameters of the content and medium (i.e., brochure, website, poster, etc.), but graphic artists have more relaxed guidelines due to the unlimited possibilities for ideas and stories.
  • For graphic designers, content is of the utmost importance. The designer cannot create visuals without understanding the content it will facilitate.
  • For graphic artists, the visual possibilities are endless. The design depends on an abstract thought, and it is impossible to set guidelines.

The main difference between a graphic designer or graphic artist is the importance of the imagery within the work. A graphic designer’s main intention is to facilitate content, and a graphic artist’s main intention is to facilitate an idea or story. They both involve visuals and can be in various forms of media, and both are essential because they facilitate different needs in the visual realm.

About CATMEDIA

CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Stay Connected with CATMEDIA:
For more information, please visit CATMEDIA.com

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