August 1, 2018

The Importance of Market Research in Package Design

Sometimes packaging genius is champagne, a joyous little accident. More often than not, however, it’s the Manhattan Project, i.e., meticulously researched. If you’re looking to make some waves, we recommend the latter approach. There are some major perks from doing proper market research before starting on packaging design.

Packaging Follows Trends

First off, we’re all partial to what’s familiar. The problem is that the world keeps turning, and trends shift with the times. You may be beholden to influences from a particular period in your life, whereas your target market is better swayed by a trend in the now. Part of your preliminary research should be a review of packaging design trends.

Get More out of a Design Firm

These are people who create for a living. What could they possibly love more than creative freedom… right?


People rarely appreciate being micromanaged. However, providing some direction is critical. If you come to the table with solid research and clear direction, you’ll communicate your clear vision to a design firm with ease. The end result will be closer to what you really want.

Identify Your Target Market

Let’s say you have the perfect color scheme, fabulous cover art, and a meticulous layout with all the text for your packaging. Everything is ready, except for one small detail: you never identified your target market. Yikes.

The best of ideas will fall flat with the wrong audience. You need to do your research to figure out who you’re trying to sell to.

Understand Your Target Market

Once you have a target market, you need to figure out what makes them tick. Data is your friend. Use the numbers you have. Hire an outside firm. Utilize analytics. Go the whole nine yards to collect some quantitative data.

Make sure to also do qualitative research. You can learn a whole lot about who you’re trying to sell to by having actual conversations. Try focus groups, questionnaires, and interviews. The qualitative aspect of consumer research provides insight into the ‘why’ behind ‘what works.’

Fine Tuning

Keep in mind that your research doesn’t end with the launch. Once your packaging hits the shelves, you’ll want to want to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. The only way to account for your successes and failures is to maintain your records and study your results. Further research allows you to build upon your packaging breakthroughs.

In quick review, doing your research before packaging design empowers you to fine tune, understand trends, identify and understand your target market, and get more out of a creative agency. Bottom line – don’t skimp on R&D when it comes to packaging design.


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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