How to get creative with your product packaging

What’s the first thing you notice about a product on the shelf of a store? It’s packaging. Find out how to get creative with yours.

While you can never overlook the importance of your actual product, if you don’t get your packaging right, no one will ever get the chance to actually experience it.

That’s because people make decisions on what to buy – especially the first time they try a product – on its packaging.

Get your packaging right for your audience and your products stand a chance of flying off the shelf. They’ll look (and feel) appealing to the right people and encourage purchase.

But get your packaging wrong, and you risk losing business to a competitor – even if their product is inferior.

Your packaging doesn’t just need to appeal to the right people either; it needs to accurately reflect the branding and values of your business. So how can you ensure your packaging hits the spot? Here’s how to get creative with your product packaging.

Why is your product packaging so important?

Product packaging refers to the materials, forms, or designs that you use for specific consumer goods, such as labels, wrappers, boxes, cans, or any kind of container.

Packaging is unique for every product as it also serves as the brand’s identity. It’s such an important thing to get right that most companies employ a specialist packaging partner, like Stanley Packaging, to create it for them.

We’ve already covered the importance of your packaging attracting the right consumers. Here are some more reasons why your packaging is so essential:

  • It protects your products from dust, heat, dampness, and other external factors.
  • It provides essential information about your products, such as manufacturer information, product size and quantity, product description and ingredients.
  • It establishes your brand’s identity and differentiates it from your competitors.

As product packaging plays a pivotal role in your reputation, you need to be creative in how you approach it. If you don’t know how to tweak your plain product packaging, then get your packaging supplies ready and consider the following packaging tips.

Align it with your product

Before trying out any unique packaging ideas, begin with the nature of your product. Visual elements won’t work if the product packaging itself isn’t product-friendly.

It’s also important to ensure your packaging is convenient for customers to use. For example, table sauce products exist in a plethora of packaging: glass bottles, squeezable bottles, and upside-down bottles.

The latter type stands out from other packaging forms due to its product-friendliness. Upside-down containers are more convenient as you can dispense the contents without turning it. This packaging design also cleverly uses gravity and a squeezing motion. 

It wouldn’t be as wise to use a jar packaging on a ketchup product, right? Always take into consideration what the product does and align it with the packaging.

Give it an alternative purpose 

Innovation in product packaging means you can transform your packaging into another purpose. So instead of designing basic, single-use packaging that only wraps your item, to be discarded once purchased, why not devise something that transforms into another use?

An excellent example is a sac d’expedition (otherwise known as a shipping bag) that has a sealable top to keep the original product secure. Packaging products like this can be used as a secure storage for snacks or other small items when travelling or on the go, this is due to the lightweight, durable recycled materials used and the sealing technology at play.

The form of the packaging being a bag means it’s also able to be flattened down or able to slip into a small bag, as opposed to a cumbersome box that cannot be manipulated in the same way.

This type of packaging is frequently seen in food products. So if you operate a food business, why not take your packaging into the next level by designing packaging that can form into a plate or utensil?

Promote reusability and sustainability

Talking auto re-use, too often packaging just serves as the product’s container, with the expectation that it is disposed of immediately after consumption. However, too many consumer products, particularly the beauty industry, generate a significant amount of single-use waste because of shortcoming.

Flashy and colorful packaging designs aren’t worth much if your products have a negative environmental impact (don’t think that this won’t have negative impacts on your brand in the future either; a number of customers are now opting to shop only from brands making a conscious effort to shop from brands prioritizing sustainability), don’t attempt to support good environmental causes, or can’t be recycled.

So, to promote reusability and sustainability in your packaging, seek inspiration from these tried and tested sustainable packaging trends:

  • Reduce costs by producing compact packaging.
  • Make refillable containers and product refills.
  • Design resealable packaging for long-time consumables.
  • Lessen the use of plastics in products by using a better alternative, such as paper or bioplastics.
  • Encourage zero-waste through plantable packaging.

Be simple yet effective

Creativity in product packaging can also reflect simplicity. It’s a huge challenge for businesses to come up with unique packaging designs, to the point that some overdo them.

During the packaging design stage, less is indeed more. Keeping it short and sweet makes better use of your packaging’s visual elements. 

To maximise simplicity in your packaging design, make effective use of colors that a consumer subconsciously associates with the right emotions or connections in their mind.

For example, food chains often use red and yellow in their food packaging to stimulate hunger. You don’t need five or more colors on your packaging to make it stand out. 

Another technique is to choose packaging colors that represent your products – a case in point is scented candles with several variants. The candle’s purple packaging gives the buyer a hint of lavender, or a green one a citronella scent etc. Just make sure you choose colours from the same tonal range so they work together well, and don’t jar.

Remember your brand philosophy

Product packaging is an essential marketing tool, and it needs to fit seamlessly with any branding or marketing activities you have planned.

If your packaging design process seems too complicated and confusing, take a step back and recall where your venture started, particularly your brand’s values and philosophy. 

You won’t find a skincare brand promoting clean and pure formulations with tacky packaging. If their products emphasize nature and cleanliness, their packaging will always look minimal and clean. So consider what messaging or emotions your marketing or branding is conveying, and make sure that your packaging reflects and lives up to that.

Telling a story to your consumers is also a valuable marketing strategy. The story can be about your business’s success or interesting history about your product.

Unfolding stories to consumers allows a deeper relationship between the brand and its fans. And your packaging can be an important part of that story. You may even want to tell it – pictorially or in words – on your packaging.

Showcase transparency

Customers trust businesses that offer maximum transparency. You can take advantage of this on your product’s packaging by giving customers a sneak peek of your products, especially food products. 

Making a small, transparent space on your packaging helps in building trust with your consumers. If they can see the product with their own eyes, they’ll have an idea of the how it looks, tastes, or feels. 

However, when considering clear packaging on your products, ensure that the transparent packaging doesn’t affect the product itself. For example, vitamin C products such as syrups, solutions, and serums are photosensitive. Bottling them in transparent packaging may lessen its effectiveness and potentially have side effects for your customers.

Make room for customization

Custom-made items get people excited and make them feel important, which should be one of the main goals of your business.

You can spice up your customer’s purchasing experience by making customized packaging suited to your client’s preferences. But, it’s important to note that this is more time-consuming and expensive to produce than standard product packaging.

Customized packaging ideas include printing the name of your customer on the product label or packaging. You can also write thank you letters and include their names. Personalizing your product packaging increases emotional connection with customers, which improves brand perception and value.

These customized packagings are also great for gifting people. Your customers can buy your products directly and have customization requests fulfilled. This type of packaging option is great for customer service, but make sure you consider the costs and check that you can afford to offer this service.

How can you make your product packaging stand out with creativity?

Product packaging carries your brand value and recognition. Consumers are more likely to choose products whose packaging is both innovative and appealing.

And there are so many clever ways you can make your product packaging creative and unique to you – whilst remaining on brand and appealing to your target audience.