Packaging is the primary manifestation of a product led brand.
What do I mean by that?
Another way to phrase this: the package design becomes synonymous with the product and therefore the brand. For product led business, the packaging becomes one of (or usually THE) recognised brand asset in the eyes of the consumer.
This is something that I repeat a handful of times inside the Packaging Design Course as it’s super important to remember when we work with a product based business. For product based brands, whether positioned in retail or d2c ecommerce, the pack optic is one of the most important and fundamental pieces of the puzzle.
That’s why, packaging design should be integral to the brand process, not an add-on.
That’s why, for product based business, I would always start with the product in alignment with the consumer. Why are they buying it and what need are we meeting? Then I recommend bringing the product, brand and pack to life before moving to digital.
The other three keys and pieces of the puzzle are:
✸ Solid brand strategy (not a presentation deck created on the back of a questionnaire.)
✸ Market research and understanding of the wider product landscape so we can understand how to carve a unique path for our client and their brand.
✸And the product itself. The product better be good (and in need) otherwise it alllll falls down.
Without a solid, memorable, aligned and intentional pack design, the product and the brand, in my opinion, cease to truly exist. The product becomes the brand. The product becomes the brand asset. The pack is the vehicle used to get that asset in front of the right people.
Of course it IS possible to build a product based business around a pack design that is less than desirable – but often in theses situations there are other things at play here. Such as the founder profile or product reputation. We might buy an ugly-looking product because we know, trust and like the founder…. Or we might buy a product because we’ve heard great things about the product itself and trust it will work, even though the packaging doesn’t really communicate that. That’s all good.
But can you imagine the POWER of these things combined if the packaging was on-point too? And it said the right things to the right people, without relying on the founder to do the selling? And without relying on solely the product?
When done right, it can communicate the above whilst building a brand that encourages repeat purchase, it can provide instant brand recognition, tell a story and build a brand based on the product itself. Which is the end-goal for most product based businesses.
Packaging design is insanely valuable for product based businesses.
I’m on a mission to raise the profile of packaging design and encourage designers to charge more. It’s often considered a low-cost add-on or upsell, when in fact, it should be considered front and centre as the linchpin of the brand itself.
Packaging is powerful.