Packaging Design Tips: 10 Tips for Effective Packaging Design

Designing a quality product at an affordable price is step one for encouraging sales, but designing an effective package is just as important. Below you will find tips and strategies for designing product packaging that drives sales.

Tips for Packaging Design


It is critical to show your product off, grab attention and convey the message you are selling the consumer. Here are ten tips to create an effective package design that help drive sales and brand recognition.

Design Tip 1: Simplicity is Key

When a customer picks up your product they should immediately be able to tell what the product is for and what brand it is. An average customer will only take four seconds to a specific item on the shelf, so you need to convey your message efficiently. Make sure the name, brand name and a picture or clear description of the product are easily identified.

Design Tip 2: Stay Honest

Packaging is supposed to show your product at its very best, but providing a dishonest idea of your product is not a good idea. There is a chance that exaggerated advertising on your package may increase initial sales, but it will ultimately lead to disappointed and angry customers. Because word of mouth advertising and repeat customers are so important, it is best to advertise honestly and let the product speak for itself.

Design Tip 3: Know Your Customers

When designing a package, knowing your core audience is going to drive much of the design for the product’s packaging. If you are targeting sales towards women aged 18-25, your packaging is going to be vastly different than if you are targeting a man aged 45-60. This information should drive designs and make all decision easier.

Design Tip 4: Know Your Competition

Take a minute to study the most successful competition you will face. Figure out what their designs have in common and how they are different. Study the less successful competition as well in an effort to figure out what packaging flaws to avoid. As you compare your packaging to your competition, also focus on how you can improve their design to make yours stand out.

Design Tip 5: Don’t Skimp on Quality

You should use the best quality materials available while staying under budget. Customers will be picking the product up while making a decision, and making sure the packaging feels quality will go a long way towards convincing customers the product itself is quality. A consumer will make their judgment on a product in an instant, and a high-quality product will never get a proper chance without quality packaging.

Design Tip 6: Be Practical

This is critical especially if the packaging is part of the products functionality, like a condiment bottle. Heinz was able to greatly increase their sales simply by switching from a difficult glass ketchup bottle to the practical squeeze bottle. Look at your competition again and figure out how functionality can reasonably be improved. Many customers will gladly try your product just for the functionality alone.

Design Tip 7: Allow for Product Extension

One important concept to keep in mind is to allow your product to easily expand into a new variety or sub-brand. If, for example, you are creating a new brand of ketchup, you may not want to incorporate a tomato into the physical design of the jar because it will not allow for easy expansion. If the ketchup is successful you will want to expand into other condiments, perhaps hot sauce or BBQ sauce. By utilizing a unique and flexible design you are able to allow for expansion easily, which allows you to start building a powerful brand.

Design Tip 8: Legible Typography

Recall that consumers typically spend only four seconds when examining a new product off the shelf. The text on your packaging should be concise and clearly legible. Avoid using fancy fonts that could be confusing or tricky to read in a single glance. Make sure that the font color used for the text fits well with the overall color of the packaging but that it doesn’t blend in completely. You should also include only the most relevant information in the front of the package, while putting any ancillary or additional information on the back. Customers want to glance at the front of a product for a summary and will turn the product around if they are interested in additional information.

Design Tip 9: Test Multiple Designs

No matter how well designed and thoughtful a package is, it is critical to make sure customers respond. Take several designs and test them with a focus group, even if it’s just friends and family. Find out what message the product is sending them and make sure it is is line with what you are trying to convey. You love your product already so the fact that the design appeals to you does not necessarily mean it will grasp a customer the same way. Test as often as possible!

Design Tip 10: Stay Current

A great design will not stay relevant forever. Even the largest brands in the world continue to work on their packaging to keep them up with the times. Constantly reassess your packaging and where improvements can be made. If consumers demand is changing slightly, you may want to emphasize a feature that used to stay in the background. Many companies have taken the mantra of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ and ran into bankruptcy. Make sure to stay on top of your market and ensure the same doesn’t happen to you.