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How to Design On-Brand Packaging For Your Products

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We all know how exciting it is to receive a package - one where the unboxing experience is amazing and you just want to share it with everyone. 

When it comes to branding your packaging, you might think that people only really care about the product that’s inside - and yes, your products are amazing, valuable and beautiful all on their own! But branding your packaging is going to help elevate that special experience around your product. 

I want to help you create that experience for your own products and make sure that your packaging is on point so that when your customers receive your incredible products, they have an amazing brand experience when receiving the delivery, unboxing it and pulling out your amazing product.

Why brand your packaging? 

1. You create a recognisable brand

When you brand your packaging, you’re creating a consistent brand experience both online and offline, from seeing your products on Instagram to buying them on your website and then receiving them in person. People will recognise your brand in each of those moments and when the product arrives on their doorstep or in their letterbox, it generates excitement when they can recognise that it’s from you. 

2. You create an amazing unboxing experience

Your customers have bought this product from you, so you want to show them how thankful you are by going the extra mile to wow them with an amazing, fun unboxing experience. Whatever experience you want to craft, this really takes things to the next level and will get people coming back to buy from you again. 

3. You create advocates for your brand

When you have amazing packaging and an amazing unboxing experience, people are going to love that and want to share it. They’ll share it with their friends, their family, their audience and on social media. Now, looks aren’t everything, but when it comes to social media content it definitely helps if your packaging looks really cool and exciting. 

Apple is a great example of how packaging can craft a brand experience. Apple packaging is really intentionally designed, not only in how it looks visually but in the actual experience of opening it. You’ll know this if you’ve ever bought anything from Apple, but as you lift the lid off an Apple product, there’s a friction between the two parts of the box that slows down the opening of the box. It builds this anticipation and excitement before the box finally opens and you can see the amazing product inside. 

They’re doing all 3 of these things - they have recognisable brand consistency, they have an intentionally designed experience and they make you want to tell people about the amazing new Apple product that you just got and the beautiful box it came in that you just don’t want to throw away.

Jony Ive, the chief designer at Apple, said: “You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.” 

Packaging really does make your products feel special - it creates these theatrics and tells a story about your brand. That’s why it’s so important to brand your packaging and to consider the whole unboxing experience. 

Branding your packaging

There are two main elements of your packaging that you can design and brand

1. The outside packaging

Branding the outside packaging means that people will see your brand as soon as it arrives. 

  • What does it look like? 
  • What does it say? 
  • Does it have stamps all over it?
  • Does it have custom tape or a custom branded mailer? 
  • Are there stickers or doodles on the box, or is the box itself designed to fit your brand? 

2. The inside packaging

Once your product arrives and someone opens it up, think about what they get: 

  • Is there beautiful custom tissue paper wrapping their new product? 
  • Is there bubble wrap in a custom branded colour?
  • Are there bonus stickers or a branded thank you card with a handwritten note?

There are so many different ways to brand both the outside and inside of your packaging, so think about the experience you want to create and how it fits with your brand. 

How to design your on-brand packaging

1. Think about your audience

Decide how you want your audience to feel and what you want that packaging experience to be like for them. 

  • Where and how are they ordering your products?
  • What do they want in a packaging experience?
  • What other kinds of products and packages do they love? 

Think about the kind of person that they are, the things that they love and how you want them to feel when they receive their package from you. 

2. Know the practicalities of your product and packaging

Certain products will have certain packaging requirements - for example, if they are edible or delicate and need to be packaged safely. Make sure that you know these practical requirements before you design your packaging. 

You’ll also need to know when, where and how people are going to buy from you. For example, are they buying something online or offline at a market? Think about the different situations that people can and will buy from you, then work out what that looks like and what you’ll need. 

Once you know these practicalities, you’re going to need to choose a supplier for your products and get the specifications for each of those parts of your packaging. One of my favourites for this is noissue (it's not an affiliate link, I just love them!). You can go on their website and find out exactly what you need to be designing in order to create all the packaging that you need. 

3. Apply your brand

Having brand guidelines that outline how to use your logo and what colours, fonts or illustrations you can use will allow you to use these assets and apply them across your packaging. For example, you can use your brand colours to create custom parts of your packaging or use your branded illustrations to design a thank you card.

You may also want to create mock-ups of your designs. You can find packaging mock-ups online for free, or some services like noissue will provide them if you’re part of their creative community. When you mock-up your packaging, you can see what your designs are going to look like, how it will work and what it’s going to look like. You can even share your mock-ups with people in your audience to see if it resonates with them or if they have suggestions. 

Of course, you also have the option of working with a packaging designer if you want to hire somebody who specialises in this to help you create the perfect packaging for your product. 

We’ve all experienced the power of incredible packaging, so I can’t wait to see you put that power into action with your own products to deliver an amazing packaging experience for your audience!

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July 7, 2021



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