Packaging Design Essentials: What You Need to Stand Out

It’s no secret that a high-quality package with a great design can drive more sales for your brand. Packaging communicates with customers in only a matter of seconds (3 seconds to be exact), and in that time, they decide whether or not to purchase your product. 

With so little time to connect with potential customers, it can be confusing to know which design elements or package features are essential enough to include. As you develop your packaging design, consider essential design elements, brand messaging, and special features to ensure your package stands out.

It’s important for us to note that we specialize in digital printing and flexible packaging, but we’re not packaging designers. What we know is that high-quality design paired with state of the art packaging drives more sales for your brand. 

So, what makes a good packaging design? Let’s dive into the different must-haves of successful packaging and how they impact your business.

Communicate Key Messaging

Packaging has the important role of being the main vehicle for messaging and branding, all while protecting the contents inside. It’s a big job! The first thing an effective product packaging design does is share key information about your product. 

When designing your packaging, it’s important to know the key messages that you want to communicate to consumers, including what the product is, pertinent nutritional information, and why they need it. Keep in mind that consumers may know nothing about the product. What information do they need to know in 3 seconds or less? This information should be easily visible and legible

Here are a few additional things you may want to call out on your packaging design

  • If you’re selling more than one flavor or variety, make the different varieties easy to decipher with graphics, text, and color. 
  • Add important health, nutrition and diet-related information such as:
    • Diet-specific labeling: paleo, vegan, keto, low fat, gluten-free, etc.
    • Ingredient-focused labeling: No added sugars, grain-free, whole grain, sugar-free, no gluten, etc. 
    • Allergen information: Nut free, gluten-free, top allergen-free, etc.
  • Include regulatory information, such as specific health claims, the new nutrition facts labels, or sourcing information.
  • Environmental information, including whether or not your packaging is recyclable, compostable, etc. According to Nielsen, 90% of millennials are willing to pay more for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients.

Lastly, ensure you leave adequate space for any vendor requirements. 

A Great Design is Key

Most Americans (72%) agree that the design of a product’s packaging often influences their purchase decisions when selecting which products to buy. That number jumps to 81% when they are buying a gift, according to a study reported by Ipsos

Bottom line: your packaging design matters, big time. 

Whether you’re designing your packaging in house, or working with a packaging designer, ensure your key messaging is communicated while attracting new customers. A packaging designer will be able to help ensure that you have a clutter-free, balanced design

Consistent Branding Builds A Brand

Great design is paramount, but so is branding. Branding is a strong characteristic of good packaging for it helps to build a strong image and a loyal fan base. As you create your stand-out package, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What do you want your package to convey? 
  • How do you want your consumers to feel when they interact with your packaging?
  • What do you want your consumers to take away in 3 seconds or less?
  • What story do you want your packaging to tell?

Have a clear sense of what your brand is and be sure the packaging conveys that, with all design elements, colors, graphics, and language following your branding guidelines

Boost Engagement with Digitally Enhanced Packaging Features 

Taking your design a step further with a digital element is a great way to not only engage with your consumers, but also gain valuable insight into your brand, supply chain logistics, and more. With digital print technology, you have the ability to do the following:

  • Consumer Engagement: Engage and connect with your customers on an entirely different level. Consider adding a QR code or guilloche code to share a giveaway, rewards program, game, recipe, or any additional information you want to share with your customers. 
  • Serialized Track & Trace: If sourcing is important to your brand, you can give your consumers visibility into your product’s journey from origin to retail. You also have the ability to gain insight into your supply chain and logistics efficiencies.
  • Product Authentication: If product authentication is necessary for your product, you can incorporate track and trace technology to your packaging. This can increase consumer loyalty and trust in your brand.

Partner with a Flexible Packaging Company 

At ePac, we specialize in digitally printing our high-quality flexible packaging. With digital printing, bright, vibrant, and precise graphics are our standard. You’ll enjoy endless personalization and differentiation options to create customized packaging so that your brand can reach various markets. Call us today at 844-623-8603 for more information, or click here to get a free quote.

Variable Data Printing: 6 Ways It Can Enhance Your Brand

Your packaging is one of your brands’ most powerful tools. Packaging builds brand awareness, communicates your brand’s message, attracts new customers, and more.

But how can your packaging build your brand? As we get closer to the fall and winter holidays, how can it make your holiday products stand out? What can you do to make all of your special edition products fly off the shelves? And how can you build brand loyalty and consumer interest, with just the design of your packaging?

The answer to all these questions and more is variable data printing (VDP). 

Whether you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself on the shelf, boost consumer engagement, utilize track-and-trace for security and/or authentication reasons, or even improve your supply chain, digital print technology can help take your brand to the next level. With the help of variable data printing, brands of all sizes can easily take advantage of a variety of different technologies.

In this post, we’re going to dive into:

  • What is variable data printing and how does it work?
  • The different types of variable data printing solutions: both design-based solutions and track-and-trace/consumer engagement based solutions.
  • How brands can utilize each of the solutions.

So how does variable data printing work?

VDP is a form of digital printing that uses information from a database or external file. With VDP, elements such as text, graphics, and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process. There are no printing plates, so it’s just as simple to print one SKU, or design, in a print run as it is to print 10,000 unique designs. 

Variable data printing helps consumer brands take an innovative and unique approach to their packaging, both with design and consumer engagement. There are many ways to utilize VDP and we’re discussing just a few of those options below:

Variable Data Printing: Design Options

It’s no secret that today’s consumers love personalization and customization. Consumers respond to variety in their products, be it flavors, colors, designs or package sizes. With digital printing and VDP, you can easily create a variety of package options all in the same run — whether it be personalized packaging or seasonal packaging with unique design features that shift and change from package to package. 

Product Differentiation

VDP can help brands create product differentiation across the whole package line-up. Think of the popular Coca-Cola campaign with the different bottle labels printed with various names on each. This is created using variable data printing. Each label features a different design, and the process is not slowed as each unique label is printed.

Source: Coca Cola

 

Randomized Designs

There are other design solutions that create randomized designs on each package for a unique experience. At ePac, we leverage HP’s two different technologies to create highly customized designs: mosaic and collage.

With mosaic, there is one seed pattern (or file) that is automatically randomized to print a unique design on each package printed. It works by rotating, zooming, and transposing the colors of that file to create individual designs. Skratch Labs, a Boulder-based nutritional supplement brand, teamed up with ePac to use the HP Mosaic technology to create 10,000 unique pouches for the EF Education First Cycling Team in celebration of the teams’ involvement in The Tour. Click here to read the full story.

Collage automatically randomizes too but differs in that you can control various elements, so that there is some consistency on each package. Both deliver highly visual, entirely unique packaging for each SKU in the run.

Image Source: HP

Variable Data Printing: Interactive Options

The next four solutions are interactive solutions that use unique digital identities, such as a visible QR code or hidden watermark. These marks allow brands to securely track individual products throughout the entire supply chain, and provide customized digital experiences to individual consumers through a mobile interface. These track-and-trace solutions give each product its own special number so brands can associate specific data to a specific package.

Consumer Engagement

Want to increase consumer engagement with the help of your packaging? Using VDP, you’ll be able to print a unique QR code on each package that will take consumers to a specific location, like a webpage or video. There, they can view a recipe, video message, promotion, product instructions, or play a game… the options here are endless.

 

Brand Authentication

For brands looking to highlight a product’s authentication or sourcing information, a QR code can be used on the package to deliver detailed information unique to that individual item. Things like a product verification page, to confirm the authenticity of the product, or a page highlighting where and when it was produced, as well as batch number, manufacturing location and date/time. This also allows consumers to trace a specific product’s journey, from ingredient sourcing to retail.

 

Interactive Recycling Instructions

With interactive recycling instructions, you’re helping consumers learn how and where to recycle your product. The consumer would scan the QR code on the package and go to a webpage or video highlighting information on how to recycle the product. You can also include a rewards program to incentivize consumers to participate. 

Supply Chain Analytics

While the other four solutions are consumer-facing solutions, the fifth one is brand facing, meaning the code is meant for you, the brand owner, not the consumer. With supply chain analytics, you’ll have real-time supply chain data, business intelligence, and anti-counterfeit/diversion intelligence. With this solution, you can capture data at the point of purchase, as well as information from when it was scanned at the warehouse to distribution, all the way to retail. This will enable you to see where the package is and whether it went to the appropriate places. This is all captured and conveyed in an analytics dashboard. Plus, you have the ability to capture consumer data to build a consumer profile, to better understand their purchase habits.

Variable data printing allows you to track the lifecycle of each package that you produce, from where it moves within the warehouse and distribution chain, to how consumers engage with it, and even where it ends up in the recycling stream. You’ll also enjoy endless personalization and differentiation options to create packaging that is as unique as each of your consumers. Plus, you’ll create an engaging experience from a mobile interface, all in your consumers’ hands. 

Partnering with a Digital Printer for Your VDP Project 

Variable data imaging and printing are only available with digital printing. With digital printing at ePac, consumers enjoy all of the solutions VDP has to offer, plus low minimum orders and fast turnaround time. This allows you to be more reactive to market trends, and create personalized or unique packaging for different regions, consumer demographics, or seasons and holidays. At ePac, we can help you with variable data printing services so you can have the right package functionality that your brand needs. Contact us today for a free quote.

Know Your Market: Leveraging Package Design to Influence Buyers

When you think about product packaging, it’s hard not to consider design. What your package looks like is often the first impression you’re making on your customer. And as we know, first impressions are everything. In fact, you have approximately 3 seconds to capture a consumer’s attention.

Let’s say you’ve got a great product that you know consumers will love. The next step is to create the perfect package that will practically leap off the shelf into consumers’ carts. But, how? What are the design elements to consider when creating the right package design? And is design that important?

At ePac, we specialize in digital printing and flexible packaging, and while our team is extremely talented, we aren’t designers. But, what we know for a fact is that high-quality design (including the elements discussed in this post) paired with state of the art packaging drives more sales for your brand. In this post, we’ll discuss the different elements of successful packaging design and how they impact your business.

The Importance of Packaging Design

According to Nielsen, package design is one of the most effective marketing levers, reaching 100% of in-store shoppers at the critical moment of purchase.

The package itself does a lot to capture attention, and ultimately, drive purchase. Nielsen reported that 64% of consumers try a new product because the package catches their eye, and 41% will continue to purchase a product because they prefer its packaging.

So, what design elements should you consider to ensure that it is your package that is catching their eye?

Packaging Design Elements That Sell

First thing is first, you must take the time to really know your consumer and know what your consumer wants.

Consider the target market and all the traits of your consumer. Where do they live? How old are they? What’s important to them? What are their daily struggles? What do they like? Dislike? How do they want to feel? What do they enjoy doing? We recommend doing a quick Google search for ‘Customer Avatar Questions’ to really dial down your target market if you haven’t done so already.

Maybe your ideal customers are busy moms that are looking for products for healthy and easy meal prep. Or maybe it’s the guy that loves the outdoors and needs a perfect on-the-go snack. Maybe it’s a product geared toward Millennials, who love to talk about their favorite brands on social media. A great design should be tailored to your target market(s) and what’s important to them.

When creating the package design, also consider where the consumer will purchase your product; at the grocery store, convenience store, or online, and consider the story your package will tell in that environment.

Another consideration in today’s market is how your package will look on social media and on online retailers. Design in person is very different than design that lives primarily on an ecommerce platform. Focus on how your product looks on the shelf and on a screen if you plan to sell in multiple channels. If you hope to see your packaging being shared on social media platforms, consider if your packaging is“Instagram-worthy”. Will your consumers be photographing themselves using it?

Photo credit: Sarah’s Snacks

Use the colors and design that best fit your consumer base and how they will engage with your package.

Understanding Color Psychology

The use of color can be more powerful than you think. According to Empowered By Color, “the colors you choose should send the right subliminal messages to inspire any potential customer to buy your product.”

Different colors stand for different things and encourage different feelings. For example, green evokes a feeling of nature and well-being and because of this is commonly used for natural, healthy and organic foods. Consider the color red, which means energy, action, passion, and excitement. Red helps you to make a bold statement. Purple packaging implies luxury and uniqueness. It is also the color for imagination and spirituality. Blue signals trust, honesty and strength, and the color blue are generally liked by both male and female.

The brightness, dullness, and tone of a color can also elicit different emotions in consumers.

A simple Google search can reveal the psychological meanings of just about every color you can imagine.

When looking at color, consider the target market’s age, sex, economic status, and culture. Keep in mind that different cultures respond differently to color, so have a firm grasp of your target market before choosing the color for your package.

In other words, do your research! We encourage you to partner with a branding agency or designer when deciding on your packaging colors and design to ensure you’re communicating with your target market(s) effectively.

Design and Graphics Speak Louder Than Words

According to a study from WePack, color and imagery are what most catches the attention of consumers. We already covered the importance of color; now consider what sort of design or imagery you can use to quickly tell the brand story.

Maybe it’s an image of the key ingredient of the food, like whole grains, to promote the healthfulness of the product. Or, maybe it’s a picture of how to use the product, such as a bathtub for bubble bath. This is when the design experts really come in — how can you quickly communicate who you are as a brand in a couple of seconds?

Photo credit: Evolve Brands

Choose an image that will resonate with your consumer, and don’t forget to have fun with your package design. This is your chance to share with consumers what’s important to your brand, and relay who your brand is. A good package design should make consumers feel something, whether it’s calm, happy, empowered, nostalgic, empowered, or even just hungry.

Digital Printing for High Definition Design

Whether you opt for fun and playful images, bright or pastel colors, or a more serious design, high-impact graphics go a long way to capture consumer attention and keep them engaged. With digital printing, bright, vibrant, and precise graphics are a standard. The quality of graphics exceeds that of conventional printing methods, is capable of matching existing product lines, and registers perfectly for every image printed.

At ePac, our wide-web digital printing technology gives you the freedom of personalization for customized packaging and messaging for your brand to reach various markets. Shorter runs mean more opportunity to create various flavors and customization to meet consumer demand in target markets.

Contact us today to learn how digital printing creates perfect high-definition graphics on each package, every time.

Adding Value to Flexible Packaging Through High-Impact Graphics

Package design is the first thing consumers notice about your product. Design has the power to draw consumers in, get them to pick the product up and even make a purchase. Several design themes seem to do the trick, from bright and bold, to purposeful and minimal, as well as realistic depictions of the product inside. One thing is clear, high-impact graphics add value to all packaging, especially in the flexible space.

Most consumer markets have seen a saturation in flexible package options, from cleaning products to baby food, soups, sauces, and even automotive items. Flexible is everywhere, and consumers are drawn to the aesthetics and functionality of pouches. According to the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), in a Harris Poll survey, approximately 60% of consumer respondents said they would be willing to pay more for the tangible, functional packaging benefits that flexible offers. What’s more, is that 80% of brand owners in the 2015 Packaging World survey commissioned by FPA agree that packaging attributes have an influence on a brand’s value. When assessing flexible packaging, brand owners said the top attributes include an enhanced brand image and differentiation on the shelf.

In a sea of flexible packaging options, design and functionality play a huge role in setting brands and products apart. Realistic, clear, and informative graphics can tell consumers what’s inside the package without them having to read a word. Graphics and design can also relay key messages like sustainable, healthy, organic, and natural. The right graphics tell a story and relay brand messaging quickly, minimizing the decision time consumers face when making purchases.

The right graphics can also elevate a brand from good to great and from attractive to show-stopping. How? Digital printing on flexible pouches adds the bright, vibrant, and precise graphics that practically call consumers to reach out and touch them. The quality of graphics exceeds that of conventional printing methods, is capable of matching existing product lines, and registers perfectly for every image printed. This technology allows for unparalleled graphics with quick turn-around and low minimum orders.

It isn’t just consumers that are drawn to flexible, today’s CPG brands are turning to flexible to deliver a better package experience to consumers. They’re also looking to add a variety of products to their existing line-ups to offer consumers a little bit of everything. With brand owners adding more SKUs, this means more package sizes, designs, and formats to package each one. Our digital printing services allow for short runs and quick turnarounds that are necessary for today’s competitive CPG landscape.

At ePac, we partner with you to create that unique and eye-catching design you want for your brand. Our wide-web digital printing technology gives you the freedom of personalization for customized flexible packaging and messaging for your brand to reach target markets. Digital printing saves money, allows you to hold less inventory, and delivers fast, quality work. Let us show you that high-impact graphics on flexible packaging can bring your brand into consumers’ focus and create a lasting impact.

You Can Get the Flexible Packaging Graphics You Want—Digitally

If you’re a brand owner looking to harness the advantages of flexible packaging, the promise of efficient short runs and quick delivery are attractive incentives. By now you’ve learned that ePac Flexible Packaging offers short- to medium-run length orders, and 5-day turnaround for your finished pouches or roll stock, using the latest wide-web digital printing technology – the HP Indigo 20000. With locations throughout the United States; ePac’s offices in Boulder, Madison, Miami, Chicago, Austin, Atlanta, and Los Angeles are open to serve local and regional brands of all sizes.

However, you might be concerned about the quality of graphics rendered with digital printing—especially if this is your first experience with the technology. Colors, copy crispness and the overall look and feel of the flexible packaging are paramount for your brand. You appreciate the workflow efficiencies, but will digital technology give you the print quality you want?

HP Graphics Capabilities

HP Indigo is the only digital color printing process that matches gravure printing. The 20000 delivers true high-definition printing and perfect registration. Worried about your strict brand color needs? The 20000 uses seven ink stations and a color gamut that reaches up to 97% of PANTONE® colors. You will be able to emulate PANTONE® colors on press with CMYK, or by using HP IndiChrome’s 6 or 7-color process. True spot colors can be ordered from the HP IndiChrome Ink Mixing Service for outstanding Pantone-approved solids.

HP Indigo digital printing has been adopted by some of the world’s leading flexible packaging converters. It’s the choice of brands such as Coca-Cola, Frito Lay, and Nestle for its print quality and ability to customize.

HP Indigo digital printing can address SKU diversity and seasonal redesigns, as well as deploying mass customization and personalization for campaigns that boost sales and brand loyalty. Variable-data capabilities include unlimited designs, barcodes, text, images, and security features.

Does your design incorporate white ink, or do you wish it could? HP Indigo ElectroInk Premium White is a versatile, opaque white, delivering up to silkscreen white opacity in a single print process with a thin white layer, fully dried and cured on impact.

Uniformity Nationwide

There’s another advantage to ePac’s service delivery model that you should consider. It is the only flexible packaging company in North America built entirely around the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press. All of the company’s locations feature the same equipment and processes. That means that your flexible packaging will look the same no matter where it’s printed. You can upload your artwork to any ePac location, and the resulting flexible packaging will look the same—a major advantage over analog printing, where every press must be fingerprinted, and each press is different.

There is huge pressure on brand owners to go to market with an increasing number of short runs, SKUs and quick turnarounds—with reliable print quality. Flexible packaging suppliers must adapt to meet these evolving needs. But you can count on the graphic quality your brand needs, with digital printing.