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October 1, 2013

Welcome to a World Where Men Are No Longer Needed

Welcome to a World Where Men Are No Longer Needed

Everyone at one time or another has handed off a tightly lidded container to someone with bulging muscles to twist open easily and proudly. Unfortunately, the population that achieved massive muscles from hard manual labor has diminished significantly, and it’s a safe bet that the ripped and shredded person next to you got that way from systematically and robotically performing reps in the gym. Soon, no container will be openable without the aid of a large mallet.

Regardless of what gender roles have historically dictated, no one exactly approaches the task of opening an impossible jar, bottle or package with a song in his/her heart. We fully acknowledge the need for product protection, but protection against the customer? Why not focus on making a product easy to use?

Your package strength must be proportionate to the delicacy, value and susceptibility to contamination of your product. Even though a difficult to open package is certainly annoying, a flimsy package doesn’t exactly inspire customer confidence, especially when that package contains a food item. So, how to balance the two?

If your product isn’t perishable, isn’t likely to be vandalized or stolen and isn’t more valuable than golden diamonds, then there really is no need to encase it in an impenetrable shield of plastic. Here are a few things to consider when deciding upon the durability of your product’s package:

Delivery Concerns

If you anticipate high-volume, cross-country delivery of your product, your package will have to be both crush resistant and shaped in such a way that it can be stacked in an economical fashion. Even if your package passes the egg drop test, does the shape inhibit secure staking during transport? Will the cost of transport be affected by the number of pallets your product package requires?

Customer Accessibility

… And we don’t just mean the customer’s ability to eventually open the package; we mean the customer’s ability to see the product. Certain consumer goods whose importance lies more in their form than their function need to be seen by the customer first hand; a photograph or artist’s rendering ain’t gonna cut it.

It’s an unfortunate reality, but some items might have to be returned to the seller after purchase. While it isn’t a company’s first priority to convenience the consumer looking to return the product for a refund, if your product comes in a package that can’t be reassembled in the event that the item needs to be returned for some reason, the product’s ability to be clearance sold could be affected.

Environmental concerns

Today’s market is heavily influenced by a products adherence to environmentally responsible practices, and entombing your product in mounds of dense and barely penetrable plastics that have to be cut with shears and discarded immediately – no reuse here – tend to be frowned upon.

Freshness

When it comes to food items, the type of food makes all of the packaging difference in the world (you really didn’t need us to tell you that). If you manufacture a fresh or frozen food item, even though it may seem as though you would want to package it heavily in order to preserve the product’s integrity and prevent spoilage, believe it or not, the more elaborately packaged it is, the less inviting it is. Think about it: when you are in a grocery store and you see a prepared food item that that is packaged as though it could survive space travel, don’t you think that it is probably industrially processed? Even if the food was only made 20 minutes before, if it is enclosed in layer after layer of indestructible packaging, it looks like it’s been around the world and back again – and could probably survive a few more trips. The less packaging food has, the fresher it seems.

The problem of barely openable jars will never go away entirely – mainly due to the generational weakening of the human species (we sit in front of our computers all day; what do you expect? Soon, we’ll be nothing but eyes and fingertips). Nonetheless, a good package designer can mitigate the muscular atrophy of mankind through conscientious design strategies. Moreover, if you drop by our office, we will personally open your fused-shut jar of peanut butter with our massive jaws-of-life hands and our powerful iron wrists. After we run the lid under hot water for 60 seconds.

author

by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.

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