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News, awards, outloud thinking, etc.

News, awards, outloud thinking, etc.

Packaging for the Digital World


Packaging acts as a core communicator for a brand and often is the first touchpoint. It is what consumers see, touch and learn from and what sticks with them long after they’ve left the store. Today’s Omni-channel market environments demand an even more innovative approach to package design.

Creating engaging packaging on-shelf is great.

Telling a brand’s story to reinforce the shopper’s purchase once they’re home—even better.

But designing a product that can withstand the heavy demands of an online presence—priceless!

For over 25 years, I’ve designed a wide range of packaging. From skincare, soda, alcohol, and cereal to dog food and horse feed. Some designs need only to be beautiful, while others need to work much harder.

It’s always important to consider the strength of a package’s shelf presence and how it stacks up against the competition. So, you have to dive deep to understand the consumer-motivating factors to purchase, as well as understand the elements that are ownable across a brand family.

In addition, a product has to look good and be instantly recognizable on an online retailer’s website. Amazon and Chewy both report consumers are not only shopping package front online, but they are also looking at brand stories and ingredients — details typically reserved for the back of packaging. Consumers are turning packages around 360°, and they are even zooming in to read details. This action is a crucial element to consider so you can improve the consumer online shopping experience.

Then, if you do it well, the consumer takes photos and talks about the brand and posts them on social media. So, your brand and package better look good in this digital world.

How to make a package look good in a digital world:

  • Make the logo bigger. If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would have said, “Don’t scream the logo from the packaging.” But today, I am a proponent for bigger logos. Not only does it need to be readable on-shelf from 20 feet away — it also needs to be readable at 100x100 pixels on my smart phone. Yes, you could photoshop your logo bigger on the digital ad, but you can’t photoshop user generated content on social media.

  • Don’t forget the importance of the side, bottom and back of a package. Craft your brand story and tell it all the way around the package in key, bite-sized touch points. And yes, this is especially true for online too.

  • Use iconography in addition to words, they convey the message fast and memorable. Always a favorite of millennials.

  • Matte finishes. Consider using a matte finish on packaging so it is easier to read in bright retail environments, but also looks better in flash photography for social media.

  • Environmental footprint. Consider biodegradable packaging options and reducing packaging. This is not only the right thing to do environmentally, but it also resonates well when you mention this on pack, as well as in product body copy online.

Every detail is critical. When you get the packaging right from the beginning on-shelf AND online, you and your brand will simply be more successful.