There is motivation in every decision. Sometimes it is conscious and sometimes not, but it is always there. In the world of graphic design, there are some projects that thrill us, and get us running to our mice faster than others. That is not to say that all projects have some satisfying elements to them, but every designer has their predilections – for us it is the consumer package. Let us explain.
The Rise of the Proverbial Book Cover
Window shopping, browsing malls and retail stores just don’t pull in the crowds like they used to. Consumers are less likely to touch or experience their purchase before they buy it, and buying decisions are made through a mix of social influences like reviews and recommendations, price, and of course, design. There are entire brands now that are built around the power of good design, sometimes offering products nearly identical to their competitor, but packaged, messaged and delivered better. And so, the power of the package has increased exponentially (not that it was ever not important). It can be a make-or-break decision for the buyer–the thing that takes them from curious clicker to consummate consumer–and in turn, a make-or-break for a company’s success.
Digging into the Details
Decisions around the physical packaging—the labeling, hangtag, applied sticker, folded insert, shipping box—are all going to need attention to create the ultimate experience. And that creates the perfect playground for a design firm; to show how concept and execution come together in a decathlon-like finish. No detail left behind, no surface undiscovered, and, if done well, all designed to create an impression that sits comfortably at the top of the consumer’s consciousness. A memory to go back to as they wade through the buying process.
The Alluring Moment Before the Moment
Brand concepted, aligned, built, purchased and ready to be enjoyed, the next magical moment happens when the package is waiting for its new owner. For some, it reveals itself in a pulling from their pantry shelf followed by a quick tear away of the heat-sealed plastic zipper to get into the contents. For others it is a longer experience. First appreciating the soft matte feel of the package with crisp black typography laid on top of a field of bone-white, with a nice transparent window into the contents. For both, it is fulfilling and a lead-in to the ultimate reward….
This is it. Planning, Pantone pruning, and prickly email debates about point sizes aside, the real reason we need more packaging in our lives is the experience. It’s the fully realized moment when the product gets its time to shine. It could be the crunch of the chip followed by the swig of the soda, the break of brookie and dunking in the milk, or the sound of a bottle popping and the clinking of glasses. With all of this, it is a moment of appreciation. Appreciation from the consumer for the experience they have entered into, and from the designer, knowing that their hands had some small part to play in that experience.
So, our answer when asked why package design is so important to us? It is because we appreciate the way a well-designed package opens the door to the experience. We fully appreciate that a business’s success is far from complete with just good design, for, without other key elements like risk, innovation, leadership, and effort, the business will not survive. But our job, and our pleasure, is in designing that perfect package that makes someone do a double-take and think: Yes, this is the one.