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    The Psychology of Successful Packaging Design

    The Psychology of Successful Packaging Design

    What makes you choose a product over its competitor? Is it a recommendation? The look and feel?

    Most likely a combination of all of the above, in a world where too many choices make consumers actually walk away, making your product stand out and seem like the go-to choice is critical.

    There are qualified teams working around the clock to make customers pick a product over the closest available option. Product packaging appeals to the human senses, evoking pleasant memories and positive feelings that customers unconsciously link to a product.

    Packaging is about making your product visibly desirable, to guide buyers, to entice them, to give them a sneak-peek into what they're getting if they buy it... So desirable that it would be impossible for customers not to buy it. So what's the psychology behind it and how can you use it to your advantage?

    Color in Packging Design

    It is not very common to find gray snacks’ packages, instead, they come in bright colors that anyone can see from a distance. According to Ted Mininni, keeping brand colors consistent can eventually turn iconic. Some of the biggest brands around the world are recognizable even without reading the product name. And as this label swap example shows, the idea of classic brands changing packaging colors doesn't really click.

    Posted on by Phoebe Yao

    Colors send messages to our brain and affect the way we perceived products. Survey results posted by ScienceDaily show that customers get certain expectations of a product simply because of the color of its package. For example, blue logos evoke confidence, purple evokes glamour, and yellow evokes fun. Take a look at this chart of the different feelings associated with brand colors.

    Posted on Pinterest by Valentin Oliver

    Package Size And Looks

    Quality packaging is a synonym of quality products. ScienceDirect research shows customers perceive small packages as better products. It includes different sizes of the same product. The evidence shows that the same soda is perceived tastier in a can than a large bottle.

    There could be many reasons for that, but one of them is that the larger the size, the less expensive it seems to be for the company. Handcrafted products are unique, and customers understand there is a lot of work that comes in making them. Highly industrialized factories instead, make mass products. The manufacturer + final product relationship adds value to the brand in customers’ eyes.

    Depending on your product, it will be important to provide an appropriate package that allows customers to have a sensory experience prior to purchase. Let’s say you are selling blankets, most of us will instinctively touch the blanket in the store to get an idea of how soft it would feel to wrap ourselves with it. But what if the package is completely sealed? Epic fail! We move on to the next available blanket. A completely opposite situation happens with electronics; would you buy a product as new if the box was open? Maybe if it means a significant discount, but it still makes us doubt its “new” condition. Remember when we mention product packaging evokes pleasant memories? Completely sealed packages reassure customers that they are the first ones opening that product. It provides that gift opening rush, even if you bought it for yourself. 

    The Shape

    Why are Toblerones not squared? Why do Pringles come in a can instead of a bag? There could easily be logistics or product requirements behind such decisions. But to customers’ eyes, they are different, interesting, and creative packages that stand out from the rest. For someone who has not tried any of those products before, that distinctive package could make a difference when choosing what to buy.


    Posted on by Rafael Real

    Sometimes there is not much room for shape innovation, some products simply require standard packaging. If that is the case, you can always resort to creative add-ons. For example, order a batch or custom mailing labels, where you can feature an improved quality of the product, a new promotion, or a link to your website.

    Envision Usage

    The ideal package makes customers envision themselves using the product. If it is a bag of chips, they need to look mouthwatering. If is a pair of headphones, buyers should imagine themselves walking around listening to their favorite music. All of that “assisted projection” can be accomplished with the right design. What’s more exciting? A picture of the headphones on a table? Or a picture of a young person running around with the headphones on? Research your target customers to show them exactly who they want to be, and how your product will help them.

    Package Placement

    You would think the right package would get attention regardless of where it gets placed in the store, right? wrong! There’s an interesting study by Brian Wansink, that shows there is well planned reason for each product’s place in supermarket shelves. As he explains, kids’ cereal boxes are normally placed at a height they can reach, and the character’s eyes usually look down to make eye contact with the kids. While for adult cereals, characters look straight to them, and boxes are placed at the higher half.


    Another common fact about supermarkets and package placement, is that basic needs products like milk and eggs are usually on the back, so it gives other products the chance to captivate you on the way to the item you were intentionally there to buy.

    Making Your Product Stand Out

    Before starting with packaging design,:

    • Take a look at your closest competitors and determine what they are doing right.
    • Find a unique quality that will differentiate your product from the rest and show it.
    • Feature your best assets in the package and appeal to customers’ feelings.
    • Show Context of Use: whenever possible use a slice of life image If your product is edible, make potential buyers imagine themselves taking a bite.
    • Use Sensory Copy: paint a picture, like delicious, tasty, salty, sturdy, lovable and so on.


    Posted on by Oficina Design Up

    If you are not yet ready to make drastic changes to your product package, try adding some fresh elements to spice it up. We recommend custom packaging tape for your shipments, so you can increase brand exposure and start creating a trustworthy reputation, sort of a quality seal. It is time for you to start making your product shine! But first, leave a comment below to let us know what makes you take a second look at a package. We’re curious to know.