The five fundamentals of great package design
With designers being asked to create increasingly innovative and dynamic packaging, a newfound focus on the fundamentals of design and creativity becomes imperative.
By Mary Zalla, Landor, December 2015
Effective packaging is a crucial part of the marketing mix for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, and it is becoming only more critical. Your package is an essential aspect of your brand, second only to the product and product experience. So if package design is so important, where do you start? As with all things, you start with the basics. Here are the five fundamentals of great package design that every marketer should consider.
1. The importance of insight
Undertaking a package design or redesign program can be a daunting and complex task. There are so many things to consider: the brand’s strategic and visual equities, brand architecture and positioning, various consumer segments, retail distribution channels, product integrity, materiality, and more. Where does the design process begin?
2. Perception is key to interpreting and understanding
The second fundamental of great design is perception. Perception is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.” Why is perception so important to the business of design? Because great design requires creativity and imagination, and all creativity and imagination begin with perception. Edward Prince said, “Perception lies at the root of all creativity, learning how to see is the start of creativity.”
3. Ideas are foundational
I’ll admit that I am a bit of an idea junkie. I don’t think there is any better start to a sentence than “I have an idea…” Those four small words, none longer than four letters, hold so much potential and so much promise. And for the business of design, ideas are flat out foundational to what we do.
4. Story—key to the human condition
Stories play a fundamental role in almost every aspect of human life. We use stories to record history and events, to share information, to teach, to remember, to entertain, to warn, and on and on. Every human civilization has used story in one way or another. Author Ursula K. Le Guin said: “The story—from Rumpelstiltskin to War and Peace—is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind for the purpose of understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
5. Courage and creativity go hand in hand
Unlike the first four fundamentals of great design, the fifth fundamental is not a capacity or a skill, but a virtue. And that virtue is courage. Courage is actually a cardinal virtue, meaning that other virtues hinge on it.
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