With the current love of aesthetics and keeping brand identity strong and cohesive, packaging design has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Gone are the generic bags and boxes. We love layers and warm touches. We love branding and unboxing. So gear your package design to your customers and make packaging a treat that your audience will love.
This post has been updated in September 2021.
What’s up with packaging design these days?
Have you seen the unboxing videos on TikTok and Instagram? Packaging has become, well, part of the whole package. Businesses aren’t just wrapping up their wares in whatever they can; they’re putting thought into the many layers and connecting the package to what’s inside.
There are quite a few components that play into packaging, and we’ll try to cover most of them here. Let’s think about these things, and while some may relate perfectly to your business, others may not. And that’s what packaging design is all about these days – personalization. It’s more than just covering the product and getting it safely from one place to another – it’s about
- layering packaging
- aesthetically pleasing offerings
- materials used
- decorative or usable additions
- hand written notes and goodies
- sustainable and reusable packaging
- custom options
- brand cohesion
Unpacking a product is an experience in and of itself. It makes the purchase more special and meaningful. Remember how you lovingly wrapped someone’s present and found extra joy in giving it to them? That’s what great packaging design can do – recreate that experience, that love, and that connection. So, let’s get your product all wrapped up and ready to go!
Let’s begin with packaging as a whole. We can get to the pieces and parts in a bit, but this is your package’s aesthetics. A great place to start generating some ideas is Pinterest. Who doesn’t love a good browse through Pinterest, anyway? If you check out packaging there, you can get some creative ideas. These range in packaging items in old book pages or newspapers to creating mini tool boxes or cardboard ovens for your product. Think about packaging your cookies in little cardboard oven boxes – so cute!
First things first, consider your product. Also, take into account where you are marketing and selling it. Do you do most of your sales online from your website and mail them out? Do you do local custom orders which you deliver directly? Or maybe you have a small brick-and-mortar shop. No matter the business, from big to small business, you can work with creative packaging to bump up customer satisfaction. It connects and exemplifies your brand identity, appeals to your audience, and provides a bit of that extra touch. And it’s fun.
Think about some of these ideas when brainstorming creative packaging:
- Creative sized and shaped packaging – Most of us are familiar with the classic flat donut box packaging. What if you flipped this and packaging your donuts in an upright box? It could be a smaller box and stand out in the donut world. Think about boxes that aren’t rectangular or square… go triangular, like Tipi Socks.
- Personalization – If you are creating your product for an event, think about personalization. For instance, do you work with wedding favors? Can you personalize color, font, and labels to match your customer’s wedding vibe?
- Match your brand – This one is key. Your packaging is the first time many of your customers will get their hands on your product. It’s like meeting a client or neighbor for the first time; you want a good impression. And you want it to be representative. So think about what you represent and who you are, and design your packaging to match. There is nothing wrong with a clean, simple design, and there’s nothing wrong with a stand-out design, either. Do What speaks to you, represents you, and will make a great first impression.
Box Packaging Design
Way back when, when you went shopping you could ask for a rectangular box in various sizes. That was about the extent of packaging design. Now packaging is part of the product, from boxes and bottles to layers and labels. And it’s not only part of the product, it’s part of the experience. So let’s check out some box packaging design and see what works for you.
The way we shop now has changed so much from just a few decades ago. Often we never touch a product until we own it. We look at images online and, luckily, now we can see all angles through great 360 photography and web design. We may compare products on different websites, and then ultimately, order something. Then it arrives and we can engage while we unbox the product. This is where that box packaging design is all-important. Let’s stick to boxes, even though bags and bottles are super fun to design, too, and let’s see what packaging design works with your brand and your product.
Simple and classic
If your product is sophisticated, classic, or minimalistic, stick with a clean, classic box. We love packaging design that has a lift-off lid and sturdy box, like Jo Malone perfume. In fact, these coveted boxes have become collectibles. Customers love to use them for storage or organization. So though a box like this is going to cost more, it adds to the luxury, sophistication, and clean lines of your product.
The more sustainable and reusable that products are, the better it is for everyone. And this includes packaging. Just like the heavy box we mentioned above, boxes can be reused for storage and organization. This can go far beyond boxes and encompass glass and plastic containers as well. Hello Fresh delivers their meals in boxes begging to be reused as quick coolers. Other monthly subscription boxes usually package in ways, that because their box is a part of the product, it’s good for reusing. Make sure the material is sturdy enough and that the box is aesthetically pleasing.
Stick with the right size
We have all probably received a package that we ordered where the product has way too much room in the box. It makes you wonder why they chose that size. Just like oversized or poorly fitting clothes can make a person look frumpy, an ill-fitting box can distract from your product. Try to use box packaging that fits just right to your product. And that can lead us to layering.
Packaging design and layering
We love layers! And here’s what we mean. It’s best to just not toss your product into the box. Take that time to lovingly layer cushion and goodies inside. You know how when you’re in a store and they take the time to wrap your purchase in pretty tissue paper, add a cute sticker label, and then put a free sample into the bag? That enhances the shopping experience. And you can do the same with your packaging.
Whether you’re an Etsy seller, you sell from your home, website, or small brick and mortar, put love into your packaging with layers. Your customers will notice. Should we break down the layers a bit?
Packaging cushion can be anything from tissue paper to packing peanuts to recycled newspaper. We love that The Republic of Tea uses teabag scraps for their package cushion. It not only is sustainable but accentuates the brand. And then the recipient can use it again. Some companies love to use tissue paper and this can be a great addition to a package. Think about getting some custom paper printed with your brand or logo on it.
We mentioned having custom tissue to cushion your product with. But we can also think about things like stickers, business cards, personal notes, and even extra goodies. Stickers can be used on the box or paper itself, or you can include a fun sticker that represents your brand. Should we mention Apple? We all know that iconic logo and see it on laptops, water bottles, even cars. You can include a sticker and end up with some free advertising.
A personalized note is a lovely touch in creative packaging. Even if it’s not handwritten, it’s appealing to your customer and makes that engaging connection. If you use some notes or cards that have your brand, you’re going that one step further. And include your business card as well. You do want repeat customers. And business cards can tell your story, too, with fun designs, creative expression, and connecting to the brand.
Goodies. We love goodies. Whether you have these specially made to be used as goodies, or you add a little token of appreciation, we love extras. How fun to receive an extra, whether it’s a perfume sample, an extra teabag, or a fun pouch. Remember, packaging goes far beyond the box itself, and when you make it an experience, you form that connection.
Incorporate your brand
We can’t say this enough. Your packaging is the face of your brand. Whether you’re using bags or boxes, reusable containers, or vintage paper, make sure to represent your brand. Include your logo and design, and if you want some help creating any of this, we’d love to help. Our designers at Bunny Studio love working on packaging and creating designs for you to use on packaging. Maybe you want to go simple and add your logo to your bag, and that’s enough for you. Perfect! Maybe you love detail and extras, we can do that, too! The key is to make your packaging part of your brand, not just a practical piece that will be tossed away with no thought.
The takeaway on packaging design
The big takeaway is tie your packaging design to your brand. Make it representative and make it an experience. Let your clients want to tell their friends and share on social media. Look at packaging as branding and part of your product. You can engage and connect with your customers, and you’ll see them respond well and ultimately return to you.
If you would like to hire a graphic designer to help with any part of your packaging design, please let us know at Bunny Studio. We’d love to help!