How to Design Effective Food Packaging

An image of flexible food packaging

How to Design Effective Food Packaging An image of flexible food packaging

Packaging has many roles to serve both in a business and to the intended consumers. Most of us simply think of a container as the essential barrier against handling before the end user ultimately obtains the item. Beyond this, though, packaging is also a crucial aspect of efficient transportation from not only one business to another but also from manufacturer to retailer and retailer to customer. Finally, packaging also plays a major role in the branding of a business and the marketing of an item. With so many jobs to perform, how to design effective food packaging easily might seem like a daunting task.

As with anything in business, though, a certain logic should be followed for the best results. First and foremost, packaging must support the nature of the enclosed goods to make accessing them easy for consumers. Next, the graphics and design of the package must clearly identify the product as well as promote it in an appealing way. The design must be aligned with the goals and identity of a business’s brand. Finally, it’s important for the package itself to appeal to the target audience.

Emphasis on Functionality

A package is only as effective if customers can properly access the contents. The need to defend an item in transit requires a degree of durability, but it must be metered against reasonable accessibility. What’s more, a package's practical demands can’t exceed the reality of the physicality of the item inside. We’ve all had to struggle with virtually unopenable packages sealing up everyday items like snacks and kids' toys. Most people can even name a few items with oversized and wasteful packages. Creating a form that balances functionality, design, and consumer expectations is no small task, and it’s a very important one.

Package engineers work tirelessly to test and develop designs that are increasingly durable while retaining accessibility appropriate for the intended audience. One such design that successfully achieves this is flat pouch packaging. With resealable pocket zippers, these pouches support the demands of modern conveniences by acting as both the original dispenser and a convenient storage receptacle for continued use. With extended usefulness, packages like these help meet increasing demands to reduce waste by creating a reusable solution.

Statement Through Form

How to design effective food packaging ultimately always comes down to the form. While visual identifiers are important for attracting eyes and informing potential buyers, the form is even vital. The reason for this is the intertwining of accessibility with design. Having a packaging with a unique shape compared to competitors is often very advantageous. Unusually shaped or uniquely assembled packaging that breaks away from standard shapes is very noticeable, and it’s virtually guaranteed that customers will pick up the item for a closer look.

However, creativity must be tempered with expertise. Too eccentric a form might garner a few impulse buys, but when accessibility or convenience is sacrificed, most customers will take a pass. As such, truly effective custom packaging design must be thoroughly tested. Key elements to accessibility include a limited footprint, stability, and consistent features that use assistance, such as pocket zippers or dispensing elements.

Visually Conveying Purpose

Besides functioning correctly, packages of products all serve a valuable purpose in the marketing of goods. Naturally, customers select items that are appealing and appear to solve the problem that inspired shopping around in the first place. In order to compete effectively besides goods in the same niche, every unique offering must stand out. Typically, this is most effectively accomplished with well-thought-out graphics used to identify and decorate an item via the package.

The details of visual elements have a profound and subtle effect on consumers. Elements such as colors and images inspire customers to take a second look. If the correct combination of design elements is used, a package will practically sell itself. For instance, images of the product being enjoyed, or images of its features, are common ways in which businesses express the value of an item through its packaging. Certain colors and forms also inspire psychological responses. For instance, medicinal packaging tends to use organic shapes with cool colors to inspire a sense of healing and calm. Contrastingly, many snack packages opt for bright colors to invoke a sense of energy, nutrition, and optimism towards positive eating habits.

Other than generally invoking moods, the attitude of the target customers is also effectively accessed through strategic color and form. Someone looking for a healthy snack might opt more towards packaging focused on optimistic or energetic imagery and color, whereas someone looking for a fun snack might also choose exciting warm colors but opt for a package with more dramatic images or sharp directional forms.

Supports the Brand Identity

Packaging is also an important way companies identify their offerings through branding. Keeping package designs on-brand helps shoppers identify related products, explore offerings, and ultimately become regular customers and fans. Consistency is at the heart of developing a relationship with repeat customers. Using graphics, slogans, and forms help define offerings as related through easily identifiable packaging. We see these examples again and again with products being successfully marketed on TV or radio spots, magazines, and even on the store shelves themselves.

Imagine if brands did the opposite, and each item offered within a niche was branded uniquely. While one of a kind and limited-run packaging is sometimes an effective technique to push seasonal sales, it’s rarely advantageous when building customer loyalty over time. Differentiation through intentional identifiers makes options clearer to customers. Finally, clear branding through packaging ensures it's very easy for first-time purchasers to continue exploring a brand with successive purchases across related products.

When it comes to packaging experts, trust in TricorBraun Flex. With over thirty years of experience designing flexible packaging solutions, we have the know-how to help any business with its unique needs. Our highly trained team is ready and able to assist your business brings its one-of-a-kind offerings to market through our high-quality packaging.

Explore our selection of stock bags, pouches, and more, or ask about designing and marketing opportunities through our custom branding and printing services. Whatever your business is looking for from their packaging, we’re ready to support you with our top-notch packaging products and services.

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