How to Get Perfect Packaging Design

How to Get Perfect Packaging Design

How to Get Perfect Packaging Design

By Stephen Steinberg

So you took your brilliant idea and turned it into a reality. You have everything in order, from the legal framework and the intellectual property rights to contract manufacturer. You now must put on your “marketing hat” and develop the perfect package for your product. Here are some things to keep in mind in order to make sure your product not only looks professional, but that is stands out and attracts as many customers as possible.

The “What is this?” Test

This is a very important test you must perform on the packaging design if your company is a small start-up and you are launching a brand new product. People are intrigued by new products, but unless they learn what the product is and why it would be useful to them very quickly, they will not make the purchase. Once customers are engaged, they need to know instantly what the product is and why they need it. How should you accomplish this? Your packaging should include three main marketing points: the description, the product’s name and the slogan. People interpret graphics almost instantaneously, so graphics help with the description part. People also scan the package from top to bottom, and from largest focal point to smallest. Ideally you would have descriptive graphics with a written description towards the top or towards a focal point. I understand that you believe the name of the product should be the focus, but because it is a brand new product it carries no brand recognition. Make sure your description, both graphic and textual, are the focal points.

The “Distance Check”

The second test you must put your packaging through is the “distance test”. Since your product is brand new, no one will be actively looking for it and walking directly to it. To compensate for this lack of attention, you need to be sure your product can be distinguished from far away. From a distance, can you see any distinguishable graphics or key phrases? It is at least eye-catching? These are things you need to consider to attract attention to an unknown product, whether it is on a website or on the shelves.


All start-ups should be focused on keeping costs low. All start-ups should also be focused on creating a unique identity. Crowdsourcing can help you accomplish both of these goals. With websites like 99Designs and CrowdSpring, you can save a significant amount of money on specific graphics design projects. The great thing with crowdsourcing is that you can also see different ideas from a large handful of talented graphic designers. This contest format can help fine-tune your image at a cheap price and can give you some great unique ideas that a lone-graphic designer might not have thought of.

Test the Market

Once you have a few possible design options, you need to test the market reaction to them. Chances are you have seen the evolution of each label and you are personally invested in the brand, so you might be biased. Here are some ideas of the types of questions you should be asking – Quickly, what do you think this product does? How much would you purchase this product for? What does this product remind you of? How would you use this product? Where would you expect to purchase this product?

Don’t Forget the UPC Code

Might be too obvious, but you would be surprised how many people forget to leave space for a UPC code. If you want to be taken seriously, you need one regardless of where it will be sold. If you want to be sold in large retail stores, you need your own prefix, which can be purchased at GS1, the industry standard. Since this can be a rather large investment of about $750, if you would rather hold off and have your product sold online and in smaller stores, then purchasing a single UPC code at somewhere like SingleUPC for about $25 would be fine.

This article has been provided for free by Steve at Check out the website for more free articles regarding the entrepreneurial lifestyle and start-up advice.

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How To Work With a Graphic Designer

By Jen Lombardi

You’re a small business owner and need to hire a designer to create a logo. Or a website. Or a postcard. Or an insert-your-own-creative-project-here.

Before you get started, check out this insider’s guide chock-full of valuable tips to make your first experience working with a graphic designer a positive one.

Do… keep an open mind.

99.9% of things that a designer does are for a specific reason. Fonts have a distinct personality. Colors convey emotion. And as much as you like pink polka dots, they’re probably not appropriate for your insurance business brochure. Let go of your personal biases and trust your designer – they’re the expert and that’s why you hired them. You wouldn’t tell your plumber how to install a toilet, would you?

Don’t… assume. As they say, it makes an ass of you and me.

Clients tend to use phrases like “quick” or “simple” or “easy” to describe projects that end up taking an entire week (or month!) to complete. Yes, technically redrawing a logo takes less than an hour. But what you’re forgetting about are the dozens of hours spent brainstorming and sketching rough drafts before a designer ever presents the first concept. Before you assume that a project will only take a few minutes – or cost just a few bucks – ask your designer for a rough estimate and timeline, including a reasonable number of revisions. It’s better to have that info upfront than to encounter an unexpectedly high invoice or a missed deadline at the end.

Do… use visual examples to avoid communication failure.

Your idea of “clean and modern” maybe be pretty far off from what your designer thinks of as “clean and modern.” Avoid this communication breakdown and use visual examples whenever possible. Your designer isn’t going to copy those website examples that you emailed over, but they will give him/her a better idea of what you really mean by “make the social media icons prominent, but not overbearing.” After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Don’t… use clich� catchphrases.

Avoid using phrases like “make it pop” and “take it to the next level” and “similar but different.” I know they sound like cool marketing buzz words, but they’re really pretty vague and useless sayings. Instead, be specific and, per the point above, use visual examples whenever possible.

Do… be prepared and get organized.

You just sent an email to your designer asking for a couple packaging options for your newest product. But did you remember to mention the dimensions of the box? What about a list of the stores where it’ll be sold? And did you send over the UPC code that needs to go on the back? Do yourself a favor and get all of this information together upfront. Otherwise, your designer will be hounding you for it later.

Don’t… make changes. One. At. A. Time.

Gather your thoughts, get the feedback of your team and THEN send the concept back to the designer for changes. It’s way easier (and more cost-effective) to make changes in large batches than to take a piecemeal approach.

Jen Lombardi is the self-titled “Head Honcho and Creative Genius” at Kiwi Creative, a sweet ‘lil graphic design studio specializing in branding, marketing and advertising. You can read more of her musings on “Creative in Cleveland,” a witty blog which is an ode to the advertising aficionados, grammar geeks and design dorks of the world.

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