Ultimate Guide To Choose The Right Packaging For Your Product

Apr 19, 2019 | Blog

Do you believe that packaging keeps the world well structured? As marketers, I am sure that you believe in this phrase as well. It does not matter if you are selling a small piece of candy or a big machine; the ultimate truth is that what is used to hold the product is very important. Packaging may be viewed as a simple practical tool that is designed to carry a product from point A to point B. It is, in essence, more than that. Did you know that the packaging of a product sways 72% of the customers on an average? A customer’s decision to purchase can be affected by the overall packaging design and material of the product. If you think that fact is astonishing, then let me tell you that 81% of people make gifting decisions also on the basis of a product’s packaging. Just imagine, if done right, simple packaging design and the material used can help you increase sales.


If you are thinking, “Oh is it really that simple?” then I’ll have to answer your question by saying “No”. It is most definitely not easy unless you know how to effectively choose the right packaging design and the packaging material for your product. This is what this article is going to help you with. Once you have the right guide and the factors to choose the right packaging, it is that simple to increase sales and gain loyal customers along with an edge over the competitors. This article will cover the following pointers:

Three questions you need to answer

  1. What is the product?
  2. Who is buying the product?
  3. How are people purchasing this product?
  • Brand and Content requirements
  • The packaging layers
  • Factors that will help you choose the right packaging

Three questions you need to answer

Before designing the packaging of your product, there are three very important questions you need to ask yourself. They are the basic “What? Who? How?” questions but they have the power to determine the design and materials required to perfectly contain your product.

 What is the product?

It is important to define what you are selling and what material is used to manufacture this product. Another important factor in this question is to determine whether the product is delicate in nature. This will, thus, help you determine if you need to take any logistical care while designing the package or if you need to use a specific type of material. For instance, if the product is fragile, the packaging material used need to be such that it securely holds the product. In some cases, you will not be able to use predetermined standardized product packages if your product has peculiar dimensions. This means that you need to come up with an “out-of-the-box” packaging idea.

Who is buying the product?

Once you have answered the previous question, you need to move on to identifying who buys your products. If you are wondering, “how does it matter” then let me tell you that, every type of customer expects different things from the package they see. Do men, women or kids buy the product? Is it meant to appeal to people who are environmentally conscious? Is it a product for vegans or health-conscious people? When you design a package, it needs to appeal to the customer group it is intended for; otherwise, the product as a whole fails. You cannot use a pink color package for a men’s product. Same way, you cannot use small text for products that will be purchased by elderly people. Therefore, a lot of research and thought process needs to go in while designing the packaging.

How are people purchasing this product?

The final question you need to answer is, “how are people making this purchase?” Whether it is online shopping, supermarket shopping or any other type of shopping, the type of packaging needs to be altered to match the scenario. If it is being purchased from a supermarket, then the packaging needs to act like a little advertisement holding your product. Competition is significantly high in supermarkets because so many brands place their products on the same shelf as you. So the goal for packaging in this situation is to try and stand out from the competition. On the other hand, if it is purchased via online shopping, then the packaging needs to have no space wherein the product can rattle around, which increases the risk of damage and breakage.

If you have the answers to these questions, we can move on to determining the next steps in the process to make the right choice of product packaging design and the material to be used.

Brand and Content requirements

Brand and content requirements are another important factor that determines the material to be used in your product packaging. An important factor to accept is that your product is a direct representation of your brand. Therefore, the content and brand requirements need to be set-aside clearly before indulging into the design process.

Brand Requirements

For a brand, the elements that need to be considered include colors, fonts, and logo. Companies, be it big or small, will have predetermined color palettes and fonts that they follow like a guidebook. The packaging design needs to include these elements strictly. The font and colors need to be accurate with the fixed guidelines and the logo needs to be positioned properly with the predefined dimensions.

Content Requirements

Labeling is a legal requirement; however, creative space is hidden within this label that requires a compelling copy that will help entice the customers. Therefore, the imagery used, the copy that is written and finally the legally required information are key factors to consider while you write the copy for your package label.

Note that these two elements are very important and cannot be overlooked as it affects the brand name that you are trying to establish. In order to maintain consistency between the brand and the products sold, these guidelines need to be followed. Ultimately this is one of the factors that helps to increase brand recognisability.

The packaging layers

The first step of the designing process is to understand the different layers of the packaging. There are three layers, which are outer packaging, inner packaging, and product packaging. There are some cases where a product will require all three layers or maybe just one layer. Now let us look into what these layers are:

  • Outer packaging: this is the most important layer of the package from the customer’s point of view. In other words, this is the first element of the product packaging that the customer is exposed to. This is what generally holds the brand and content information and it could be in the form of a box or a bag or a packet. Generally, this is the part of the packaging that is made extremely attractive.
  • Inner packaging: this is the important layer of packaging from the manufacturer’s point of view, as this is what holds the product safe during transit. In some cases such as liquid hand wash or a packet of chips, the inner packaging is the outer packaging. In these two products, customers see and touch the inner packaging, which holds all the information required.
  • Product packaging: it is the packaging layer that customers perceive as the true meaning of packaging. It is the basic packaging and could be anything like even a small tag on a garment. It is the customer’s basic interpretation of the packaging as a whole.

These layers play a significant role, as you need to know which levels of packaging you need to incorporate in your design and accordingly choose the appropriate material. Choosing the layers you need to incorporate will help you design an effective package for your product.

Factors that will help you choose the right packaging

Finally, we have reached the section of the article that will help you overcome the doubts you have regarding choosing the right packaging. The factors that you need to consider while designing your packaging are as follows:

  • Product: even though this is obvious, everything finally boils down to your product. If you are selling products like chips and biscuits or glass items, then they will be vulnerable to breaking or getting crushed. If you are selling frozen products, then they are at risk of spoilage because they need to be refrigerated or frozen. In the same way, there are many categories that your product could belong to, and these categories will play a major role in the material and the designs you use for packaging. All your packaging designs need to be optimized to suit your product category. This is where you might start believing that packaging is a definite science.
  • Competition: as mentioned earlier, in order to be able to gain a competitive edge, you need to understand what your competitors are offering in terms of packaging to their customers. You need to be original, but it is not a bad idea to analyze the packaging strategies of a competitor to identify the elements that are making their packaging effective. This is where you will need to devise “out-of-the-box” ideas and get creative.
  • Customers’ needs: you need to develop an understanding of what the customers are expecting from the product and the packaging. It needs to add value to them in any way possible. Understanding your customers will help you gain an insight into what actually appeals to them or grabs their attention. Do not forget to include their personas while designing the package.
  • Budget: it is only natural that you will have budgetary restrictions that will directly impact the design you want for your packaging. Keep the customers in mind and design a packaging that fits within the budget you have set aside. Otherwise, you could work with your packaging partner and devise a way wherein you can design the package as you wish while keeping the costs to a minimal. However, do take care when doing this, as you do not want to reduce the quality of the packaging.
  • Labeling: since you have already set aside brand and content guidelines, ensure that have a well-defined position in the packaging design.

Keeping all these factors will help you design a cohesive packaging prototype that will be perfect for your product. Once you have decided and paid attention to these factors, you can move on to the next steps. From here you will be able to give clear guidelines to the printer and run evaluations on the packaging design thus created.

The packaging is more than just a tool to hold your product, and so do not be afraid to run tests before you launch a packaging design. Ultimately the customers’ thoughts matter to the brand and so it is absolutely normal to pivot your ideas to match their expectations. The packaging is most definitely a competitive technique and can be used to your advantage if the right designs are devised. Many times, companies tend to neglect the packaging part of their product. But the truth is, you need to put the same amount of effort in packaging, as you would while designing the product itself. Always remember, if you want to win the heart of your customers, you need to work on the element that first grabs their attention. That element is product packaging.

Disclaimer – “Views expressed in the blogs, are exclusive thoughts of the author and are not necessarily aligned to Parakh Group’s policies”.