Consumers tend to return to the same brands for all their buying needs. They look for their favorite brands' distinctive packaging as they walk down the store aisles, speeding up their errands by grabbing products that they know and trust.
Products that consumers select based on the brand name and packaging carry an implied authority, indicating that they are the best choice.
Moreover, when a brand has the same attributes in packaging across all its products, recognition is built. Consumers are likely to routinely purchase a branded product each time the need for that type of product arises, based on the positive association the consumers have made with that brand.
Behavioral science studies have proven the neurological connection between the consumer and the experience of purchasing that product. "Emotions are the primary reason why consumers prefer brand name products," according to Psychology Today, even though many products are "available as generic and store brands with the same ingredients and at cheaper prices."
Vital Attributes in Product Packaging Design
Attributes that define your brand through packaging play a fundamental role in the consumer relationship. Those traits should be consistent, so the likelihood of customer recognition increases.
Over time, consistent packaging can help build customer loyalty.
Brands that have mastered consistent packaging have become iconic in their respective industries. Despite varying audiences and products, those brands all have one defining characteristic that defines their packaging style: simplicity.
The effects of product packaging can make or break the consumer's decision to buy your product, so take note important aspects of product packaging design, such as:
- Color: There are psychological implications to color, so be sure that your choices are in line with the subject matter of the product. Your product must seem appropriately located next to its competitors, but don't be afraid to differentiate it enough so that you become a unique, standout choice.
- Tone: Your packaging should align with the tone of your brand. For example, when buying a luxury item, consumers expect higher-quality packaging. And if someone wants to purchase a natural, eco-friendly product, the product's packaging should use materials that are environmentally friendly.
- Typography: The font you choose as part of your logo and overall brand packaging must have a unique "personality." Is your font playful and whimsical, or bold and rough around the edges? Keep in mind that the font must also be clearly legible, even in the smallest of fine print. Consider these emotional implications as you choose the font to use across all packaging.
- Consistency: Ultimately, brand loyalty begins with consistent, easily recognizable packaging that boasts a logo your consumers can become familiar with and relate to when in a retail environment. Though changing logos and packaging can be beneficial, don't stray too far from your original design.
Brands That Get Packaging Design Right
Consistent packaging can forge strong relationships with customers that strengthen over time. Some brands, like Dr. Bronner's and Apple, have achieved this through years of consistency. Despite the evolution of some aspects of their packaging, the basic principles of their design have remained the same.
Dr. Bronner's has offered certified organic, fair trade soap and self-care products since 1948, though the products' origins trace back much further than that. Dr. Bronner's consumer following started off small but soon exploded with the hippie generation of the 1960s. Its unique packaging, which is covered with small-type text outlining Dr. Bronner’s personal "peace plan," make those products a perfect fit for this audience.
Though the Dr. Bronner's brand has grown in its product line over the years, all packaging carries the same simple packaging: white text over a solid background, adorned with a logo surrounded by text.
Apple packaging may appear minimal at first glance, but the simplicity in its approach demonstrates the company's true mastery. With almost no writing present whatsoever, it leaves all focus to the product name and the Apple logo (which is what customers are looking for). The box may be just white, but it carries a creamy, glossy hue. The box is simple, yet the cardboard stock used to assemble the box is smooth and high quality.
From iPhones to iPads and beyond, each Apple product is consistent in its packaging. The signature white box has become a reflection of the same characteristics expected of Apple products: simple, efficient, and easy to use.
Apple packaging has become so successful in its own right that some consumers even choose to keep the boxes instead of recycling or tossing them out.
Packaging and the Customer Experience
Product packaging is a critically important way to connect to your customers. It's a way to provide necessary information—and persuasive marketing—to convince consumers that your product is the better choice.
Stay true to your brand packaging, but streamline the design. Keep it simple, sharp, and straightforward. Your packaging is part of the foundation of brand recognition.