Great Packaging Crushes Everything

Domaine & Vins Gélinas Vin de Glace: Within 24 days of a new brand launch, Gélinas’ annual wine production was completely sold out. The following year’s product was completely presold.

Packaging is the number one medium that communicates brand

And at least as important a customer experience as the contents. Great packaging is shared among friends. Makes better sales. Creates immediacy, impact, meaning, discovery and delight. Long before and long after opening.

That’s why you’ll need experts with deep understanding of what transforms a package — from a simple functional container into an exciting, engaging, and enduring brand expression that people want to make part of their lives.

Wisely executed, product packaging has the ability to create a profound brand experience, connect with people, drive brand preference, and grow the bottom-line. Unwisely executed, and your new packaging can be a perpetual expense. Losing sales. Spending more ad dollars to make up for package shortcomings. Audiences quickly forgetting your product — especially today, where direct and authentic customer engagement trumps disruptive ads.

The mechanics

Great packaging design is damned hard, and includes every possible aspect and level of industrial design.

The process is very complex and involves several teams and levels. Brand design, package surface design, design systems, industrial design, supply chain and other teams. It involves a huge array of types of information and design elements most people never heard of, let alone comprehend. And packaging designers face a seemingly endless list of challenges. Product families, brand architecture, product variants, cross selling, ingredient brands, physical structure, content descriptions, multiple languages, out-of-box experience, trademark law, and government regulation, to name a few.

Unfortunately, most packaging follows predictable paths to solving these important challenges, and is often relegated to the bottom of the branding food chain. Often providing little more than some banal functions, like opening and closing, and being a repository for legacy brand design.

Frequently missing is the surprise and delight that keeps people coming back for more.
Gélinas Cavalier du Versant
  • Within 24 days of the new brand launch, Gélinas’ annual wine production was completely sold out.
  • The following year’s production was completely presold.
  • Gélinas’ strengthened brand is positioned to extend the product line.
  • Label originality sets them light years apart from competitors.

The functions

And yet, packaging design functions at the very pinnacle of the brand/ marketing food chain. It’s the primary touchpoint for audiences to interact. And often the only point where sales occur. Therefore, packaging designers often are the primary authors of a brand’s visual identity. Creating the visual foundation for evolving a product’s (sometimes a company’s) entire design system, setting the aesthetic standard, and building recognition for both customers and employees.

Functions of packaging and product design:

  • Constitutes the physical representation of a brand’s personality.
  • Reflects the right mix of creative, innovative or other important qualities the brand might have.
  • Differentiates a product from its competitors and private labels by transmitting a sense of worth or a story.
  • Draws attention to a specific product in a crowded retail space.
  • Articulates brand architecture.
  • Serves as the core basis for any marketing or advertising.
  • Positions a product in relation to a particular category and perceived value, therefore reflecting a specific potential price.
  • Serves as a protective container.
  • Provides useful information or instructions of use.
  • Forms an essential brand + identity tool. Aggregated from every layer of utility, information and discovery. Even a particular color or shape might trigger a brand’s identification.
  • Packages also can serve as souvenirs, collectibles or a source of storage.
  • Continual brand reminders in an ongoing experience.

Product and packaging designs that blaze new trails are extremely powerful. Shifting behavior patterns and influencing the way we use both product and package. And become worthy of sharing socially.

Get clear on what’s driving your package design

Like all branded touchpoints, packaging needs to tell a story. And absolutely everything contributes to the narrative. Verbal. Visual. Physical. Experiential.

One must always ask several important questions:

  • What is the story?
  • Is the packaging telling the story we need it to tell?
  • Is it telling the right story for the defined category it falls into?
  • Are we using the right language for that category?
  • How can we differentiate our product but also stay true to our brand?
  • How can we differentiate between different products within our own brand family?
  • Have we analyzed and defined our customer segments?
  • What are the various levels of communication?
  • What kind of messages do we want to deliver?
  • At what points in the packaging experience should we deliver them?
Answers to these questions and more come from qualitative and quantitative research, consumer behavior, astute analysis and industry experts.

Finally, you’ll need the help of brand and design experts, like Völckmann + friends, to help you navigate the twisting curving path to packaging that will continually delight your customers.

Last word on packaging

Our packaging work for clients has achieved as much as a 1000% year-over-year product sales increase. Yes, a ONE THOUSAND PERCENT INCREASE. Talk to us about how our packaging experts with 20+ years experience can help make your company brand remarkable. And YES, we’re thrilled to work with startups. We think you’re amazing for even thinking about making something new. That’s why we should talk.