Product Packaging Guide 2023: The Info You Need To Create The Best Flexible Packaging For Your Product

People care about packaging, even if we’re not conscious about it. Packaging is a subconscious art form. It’s critical to purchasing choices because it makes customers pick up your product, and if they love it, they’ll associate good feelings with its functionality and usage. 

If the packaging is good, sales happen. 

Businesses of every size, whether at the farmer’s market or competing with Pepsi, must think long and hard about product packaging because it’s the essential marketing tool that communicates their vision to the target market. 

As we’re fresh into 2023, it’s time to think big:

How can your packaging communicate that what you’re selling is the best, and why picking up your product should be a no-brainer?

Importance of Product Packaging

We’ve talked about how packaging is a critical element in the grand scheme of things. But there are also little details that influence the success of a product. 

If you’re selling your signature blend of taco-flavored tortilla chips, you need packaging that keeps the chips fresh. If you’re selling healthy snacks to kids, the packaging shouldn’t be black with skulls but whimsical and with bright colors to reflect the target market. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling online or on the shelves; the product must look good.

What kind of message do you want to send with the packaging – are you focused on fun and playful or high-end? 

The packaging design should be consistent with that message, and the packaging should match the brand aesthetic. 

Consider how the packaging is presented to the larger public, whether classic and timeless or very in the moment.

What about practicality? Packaging should convey ease of use for customers along with durability to protect during shipping and handling. What your packaging looks and feels like gives the immediate impression of how you view the brand internally and manage customer expectations. 

Types Of Product Packaging

A few product packaging guidelines should be followed, but most importantly, whatever you’re selling can be safely transported. 

There are a few types of packaging that are universal across the business:

Bags and envelopes

Poly mailers work if your products are light but not necessarily fragile, strong, and easy to store. You can usually customize them to fit your aesthetic with little trouble. 

Padded mailers

If you’re shipping delicate items, these are usually the standard. Adding an extra layer like bubble wrap can protect something like electronics or jewelry.

Custom product packaging

Custom packaging offers a unique experience and gives the public insight into the brand. There are companies out there (like us) who can help craft what experience a company wants to provide their customers, whether it’s an all-over design or something simple and classic. 

Plenty of design resources available can help direct what style and look you’re trying to convey, along with an insight into how to stay on budget while still making an impact.

For example, there are lists of designers specialized in packaging design for small consumer goods businesses. 

And for those who are on a very tight budget, your regular graphic designer can enhance your skills with packaging design courses or guides.

How To Create Custom Packaging for Your Brand

Design packaging with your customer in mind. Ideally, all packaging should be immediately clear about what it is and what it does, and the materials used should be reusable or biodegradable

It’s also essential to ensure that your packaging is in line with a brand identity consistent with the look and feel of your marketing materials across the board. 

A branded experience should work in concert with a few stylistic things but ultimately deliver the best impression of the brand. 
What type of packaging are you using? A stand-up pouch or a flat-bottom package? Creating a “wow” experience is the basis for packaging when consumers either pull it off the shelf or your product comes to their homes.

As the demand for a fully branded experience becomes the norm, many companies are opting to use serialized QR codes as a way for their customers to enter a world that’s accessible. There’s nothing easier than scanning a code on packaging that can take customers to a world that offers anything the company wants to share, including product information, social media links, or special offers. 

Whatever the case, we’ve seen brands do some super cool things with serialized QR codes in the last few years (like our friends at Courage Worldwide who are using serialized QR codes to fight human trafficking). 

Letting customers into your world shows that you care about their experience but also builds trust.

Product Packaging Costs & Examples

We get it. You want the best product packaging out there, and there are considerations to be made regarding packaging, like what’s being transported, materials, etc. 

There are also things to consider, like your carbon footprint. Many consumers align themselves with brands with a similar worldview, and companies are responding. Going green isn’t just the trendy thing to do, but something that’s becoming the industry norm.

Take a look at what the competition is doing. Get a feel for the market and see if you can differentiate yourself against their successes. Being different is critical, but you also want to play at their level. And that starts with packaging that looks and feels good. 

Transportation of the packaging should always be a concern – how packages get to you wholesale is first, but how do these products ship out to the retailer or customer? These are calculations that need to be tallied for long-term consideration. 

Budget is always a consideration, whether you’re a startup or an enterprise. Digital printing used to be thought of as a slower process, but not any longer (especially if you’re working with ePac – we’ve got printing facilities around the world that can work in unison to meet delivery needs).

Make Your Packaging Stand Out with ePac

Packaging design guidelines can be what you make them, and size matters here to ensure that whatever you’re selling fits inside the packaging with the correct air ratio to the product. 

Because we’ve worked with many companies producing everything from candy bars to trail mix, we know how to guide companies to make intelligent choices for design and shipping purposes, considering larger packages cost more. 

Every inch of unused space in a package can affect shipping and how people perceive the product’s value, which can hurt sales. A fair ratio matters regarding the small things consumers will remember. 

When it comes to colors, what combinations are you using? Packaging needs to grab the consumer immediately, so this needs to be thought about long and hard because if you’re selling beef jerky, the orange and black combo might not work outside of Halloween. 

Think about what the competition is doing, but how can you stand out differently against them? Our in-house team can advise if a design works or if something could be tweaked for a better impact. 

Color scheme choices should reflect not only the industry but the target market, along with the image you’re trying to convey, whether it’s lux or bargain friendly. 

This consideration is also important when it comes to materials. As we mentioned, are you trying to stick with the cheapest (never a good idea) or what’s most impactful for the environment? Packaging needs to protect your product, but there are also the most critical questions, like asking what you’re willing to invest in if something is biodegradable or recyclable. 

ePac offers options for both and can help serve the goals of companies of any size due to our fast processes that link our facilities globally to ensure packaging delivery. 

We can also help with looking at things beyond just coloring choices: 

How information on the package is presented – everything needs to be straightforward to read. 

Making sure all images are high-quality and clear with no blur. High-quality images represent the brand, whereas a bad image can hurt the company’s integrity, thanks to consumer impressions. 

And because we’re digital, processes move fast. We can help companies hit target dates and be vehicles for more prominent brands to experiment with new designs or even something new for the holidays. 

Our processes are fast-moving thanks to an infrastructure built on speed and clarity to support customers from top to bottom. 

If there’s something you’d like to see, we’d love to send you sample packaging. Let’s talk if you’ve had a packaging idea but have yet to have the chance to try it. We’re here to take on the projects you’ve always dreamed about.