November 14, 2014

8 Tips for Revising Package Designs for the Holidays

8 Tips for Revising Package Designs for the Holidays

The holiday season means many different things to many different people. For some it is a season of peaceful reflection; for others it is a time for family and celebration. To marketing executives, it is a time of unbridled greed. Well — it is for a lot of us, but execs don’t attempt to conceal it under a veil of goodwill and generosity.

Yes, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to package your products with respect to the upcoming gift-giving festivities. If your products are either suitable for gift-giving or general celebratory purposes, you’ll want to consider your holiday packaging strategy.

1. Don’t Limit Yourself

If your product could reasonably be described as a “treat,” then you will probably want to incorporate some type of Halloween motif into your packaging design. Candy is the obvious product category that would benefit from holiday-specific marketing, but try to think outside the box! People aren’t limited to giving away only candy on Halloween; some mavericks might give away travel/sample sized tubes of flavored toothpaste or other small dental hygiene accoutrements (all that candy, you know).

2. Use Your Existing Logo to Evoke the Season

So, what design concepts immediately communicate “Halloween?” Orange and black are the classic colors for Halloween, and they can be incorporated into a current packaging design fairly subtly. Other motifs — skeletons, spider’s webs, pumpkins etc. — might be integrated into the existing design in a number of interesting ways, such as using a skull or Jack O’Lantern design as an icon enhancement.

3. Turn Your Products into Gifts

When considering your packaging structure for a gift-giving season, think about whether it would benefit your brand if you were to feature small gift-sized versions of your current product, for the purpose of including in party goody bags. Cosmetic products and certainly processed pumpkin-flavored snack foods are perfect for this sort of treatment. Naturally, your existing market will dictate whether or not this strategy will yield the desired results, as well as the amount of pumpkin flavoring in your product.

Thanksgiving Packaging Design

Thanksgiving — the cherished American feast day — is a marvelous opportunity to use specialized packaging to encourage including a wide variety of food products into the traditional menu. Since every corner of American culture has its own Thanksgiving traditions, nearly every food product can benefit from a bit of holiday-specific marketing. If tofu can be a beloved Thanksgiving staple, so can kale chips.

4. Make it Seasonal as Opposed to Holiday-Specific

Convenience food items that could be enjoyed at the Thanksgiving table are naturally ideal for Thanksgiving-themed packaging designs — that goes without saying. Of course, this season isn’t all about turkeys and figurines in Pilgrim hats. It’s about the falling leaves and crisp weather. The reds, oranges and golds of the foliage; garlands, maize and bizarrely shaped yet festive gourds. All of these are symbolic of the season, and can be used in both fun and elegant ways.

5. Make it a party!

Since Thanksgiving brings with it sometimes elaborate and large celebrations, this is an excellent time for specialized packaging for wine and liquors. Include fall cocktail recipes on spirit bottles, and use rich earth tones in your graphics to evoke the changing leaves.

6. Use All the Senses

Home décor items such as candles and scented cleaning products can all have a fall or harvest theme, particularly if they are scented with harvest aromas like cinnamon, sage, clove, cider, pumpkin or other cozy smells. Since our senses can inspire emotional reactions to products, having packaging suffused with scent could draw customers closer, and entice them to purchase in a fit of holiday nostalgia.

Christmas Package Designs

Christmas is the most obvious marketing season. If your product is suitable for gift-giving or enjoying during the festivities, clearly a Christmas or winter-themed package will benefit you.

7. Think about the Life of the Package

Even if your product isn’t typically associated with the holiday season, you might still try holiday acknowledgement to stand out from the competition. What could be cuter than a radiator flush kit with a Santa hat?

All kidding aside, even Kleenex, which — let’s face it — makes a pretty terrible gift, modifies its packaging for the season. This is because they know that consumers decorate their homes for the holiday, and they might want the box of Kleenex they have on display to have the same festive look. If your package also acts as a dispenser, you could introduce a seasonal concept. Hand soaps and toiletries are great vessels for seasonal packaging ideas.

8. Repurpose Your Packaging

If you have a limited edition line for the season, think about doing more than just adjusting the graphics; turn your package into an adorable ornament! Doing so automatically adds value to the product, and enhances the customer’s emotional response.

Most everyone is a bit sentimental when it comes to the holidays, and we are anxious to get the season rolling by purchasing products that help us to enjoy the beauty of the time of year. So, as we draw closer to yet another fall and winter celebration season, think about how your packaging strategies can help you and your team have a very merry Christmas indeed!


by Kevin Smith
SmashBrand helps brands create, optimize, and launch successful products, services, and customer experiences. Our data-driven process is the key to accelerating sales and minimizing risks.

We use a strategic combination of market research, design, and consumer testing to solve complex brand problems more effectively, create differentiation, and forge more meaningful connections with customers.

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