EACH day we encounter a variety of different products, food or otherwise, and their respective packaging, be it at home or in a shop. As the main focus is on products themselves, often packaging is taken for granted and overlooked. Nevertheless, designing suitable packaging is a complicated task which involves extensive research about the materials to use and the information which should be displayed on it.
It comes as no surprise that different products need to be packaged differently. Take the case of food, for example, different products come in all sorts of shapes, forms and conditions and as a result need to be packaged accordingly. Liquids, powders, pieces; hard and soft, heavy and light; frozen and chilled – groceries come in a variety of states and most need packaging of some sort. Not only does the packaging need to be effective in holding the contained goods, it must also be informative to potential customers. The clearer the information on the packaging, the easier it is for potential customers to understand what it contains and so the easier it is for them to find what they are looking for. The use of pictures and small but clearly legible text has become almost indispensable. The colour of packaging is another factor which can help determine the success of a product. Understanding how certain colours are perceived and interpreted by the human brain is an essential part of designing any packaging.
Research and USP
Large food manufacturers often employ the help of companies specialising in providing food packaging solutions. Extensive research is typically made in order to establish the specific characteristics and the unique selling point (USP) of the product. Both need to be made especially clear to customer in order to convince them to buy the product. Sometimes design requires the integration of more than just the product – yoghurts and desserts, for example, often include an additional spoon so that they can be consumed on the go. In cases like these, the designers need to incorporate an additional item which can sometimes be a real challenge.
In addition to the specific product packaging, further packaging must be designed for the display of products in specific quantities on shelves. Designing shelf-ready packaging is more straightforward given that the focus here is largely on practical issues rather than providing information about the product.
The time and work involved in packaging products is so often overlooked despite it playing a huge role in the eventual success or failure of a product.