July 18, 2017

Five Things Effective Packaging Must Do

Forget product quality – consumers decide whether or not to buy something based on how effective your packaging is.

Let’s face it: There’s way too much garbage littering the shelves of retail stores these days.
To be fair, there’s nothing simple about product packaging, which is the exact reason so many brands drive customers away while effectively entombing their products until they expire. If you want to move your products, consider these five tips the start of your journey towards good packaging design.

1. Grab Attention
Grabbing attention just about being the flashiest (which usually ends up meaning garish), but rather, involves communicating the essence of your brand in an eye-catching and fluid way. Funky design is fine as long as it’s in service of a funky product. From your color choice to the chosen typography to how the packaging layout is structured, the best way to stand out is to create a cohesive image that is recognizable and coordinated.

2. Pass the Five-Year Old Test
Your packaging should be simple enough and recognizable enough that if you described it to a five-year old, he/she would have no problem snagging it from a lineup.
The trick here is that five-year olds tend to rely exclusively on visual cues: They may not understand what a box of Frosted Flakes is, but if they were told to grab the blue box of cereal with the big orange tiger on it, they’d have no problem. This is the type of simplicity your packaging needs.

3. Create Iconic Imagery
The Nike “Swoosh.” The sharp, defined lines of the Volkswagen VW. The green and white stripes of Starbucks. These assets seem basic, but reflect the philosophies of the brands using them.
The solid, parallel lines of the German-engineered Volkswagen logo imply strength and reliability. The green and white swirls of the Starbucks logo suggest a hip and trendy corporate vibe. And the simple Nike Swoosh? A consistent complement to the minimalist “Just Do It” slogan the brand is known for. Iconic logos can provide a wealth of information in their design.

4. Trigger Emotions
Emotion is the crux of all advertisement. Regardless of what we’re buying, emotion can cause us to ignore any objections and make us realize that we do, in fact, want this product. Just look at Coca-Cola and their use of Santa Claus in their marketing over the past 80-odd years. By teaming up with Santa (who conveniently shares Coke’s iconic red attire!), Coca-Cola ensured that customers would associate the positive imagery of Santa Claus with Coke for years to come.

5. Keep It Simple
Above all else, keep it simple! Complexity and packaging are not friends. The most inspired packaging designs and marketing slogans are straightforward and easy to remember. In fact, in our overly cluttered retail establishment where more brands than ever are vying for attention, the simple and clean designs stand out all the more.

Building Better Designs
A red and white can of soup. Chips that come in a long tube instead of a bag. A jolly green giant. When hearing these terms, most of us instantly have a clear image of what products are being described: Campbell’s, Pringles, and Green Giant vegetables. That’s the power of effective packaging.


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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