Hello Kitty Has a Lesson Or Two For You.

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The Hello Kitty brand might not seem as though it is a paragon of simplicity and bare-bones design elements, but if we discount all of the attendant bows and stars and rainbows and magic wands and all of the other nauseating trappings of fairy-princess cuteness, we get an oblong cat-influenced head with a jaunty bow; maybe 20 brushstrokes at most.

However you may feel about the Sanrio line of office supplies, school supplies, housewares and clothing, the Hello Kitty symbol offers a solid foundation for building specialized designs for particular markets. You have your infant market, tween market, teen market, emo market and ninja market, all of which can find some Hello Kitty product that suits their personal tastes and lifestyles.

The Hello Kitty badge has come to symbolize an entire way of life within just a few basic elements; if you remove any of the elements; the whiskers, the ears, the nose or even the bow, you are pretty much left with nothing of any design note. This is how it should be, not only for graphic design, but for packaging as well.

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Less Is More

When we mean “less,” we don’t necessarily mean less regarding package add-ons; sometimes the amount of thought that goes into a package can lead to unnecessary complications.

You shouldn’t have to rack your brain to find a design trait that will make your package stand out. Arbitrarily making your food can square rather than cylindrical might save on storage space for product transport as well as home use, but if you don’t include a pop top, or if the edges as sharp enough to be used for weaponry, or if the public doesn’t find the new shape sufficiently cool, then you will have spent boatloads of money having a manufacturer reconfigure its entire can-fabricating process for nothing.

The greatest and most unique innovations come from designs that provide a service (or eliminate a problem) that had been ignored. Whoever the genius was that first put tomato paste in tubes rather than cans, deserves a medal and a round of 5-minute applause as far as we’re concerned. Why? Because almost no one uses an entire can of tomato paste at once, requiring the user to scoop the remaining product into a refrigerator-safe container. Putting the product in a tube can be safely resealed and refrigerated until further use in the same package.

Ease of Use

This tip is short and simple and it should go without saying. Regarding your product packaging, your best bet is a container that offers the greatest security and yet the fewest product access obstacles. Don’t make it complicated to open.  Complicated packaging is the first step of a really bad opening experience.

Clean, Clear, and Elegant

The most successful package designs are unique designs without being totally unfamiliar. One packaging trend we wholly endorse is stripping down colors, graphics, and materials to the barest elements. A package that is unafraid to sell the product rather than the brand conveys stability and confidence in the product’s quality which is absent from packages that rely on complex devices to give the impression of sophistication.

Have you ever noticed that logos and packages from successful brands generally become simpler over time, rather than more complicated? This is because the product line has proven reliable and useful to the public; the brand no longer has to get consumers to notice it desperately. Granted, this comes after years of exposure, but since new brands and products will compete with established brands and products, it is important for a new product to seem as comfortable, streamlined and confident as the other products occupying the same shelf space.

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