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The secret to successful packaging design – PART 2

glassHow accurately are the messages on your packs conveyed? Clarity is the core element of all marketing communications.

Whilst this is Marketing 101, somehow when it comes to packaging design on shelf, both marketers and designers forget the old adage that “less is more”.

Clear messaging delivers results. Being clear provides a greater understanding of the value and experience of the product inside the pack. When clarity is the cornerstone of your marketing communications, the consumers understanding and user experience is vastly improved, which leads to sustainable on shelf sales results.

Making it clear

  • Clarity is the key to successful packaging communication
  • Clarity helps to accurately convey brand messages on your pack
  • Clarity contributes to better user experiences and more effective consumer engagement with the product packaging
  • Clarity on pack can be measured by the ease with which the consumer engages with, reads, interprets, understands and most importantly acts on the communication by putting the pack into the shopping trolley

5 clarity identifiers

Have you ever pulled on a door that said PUSH? Of course you have. People don’t read. Clever retailers know this. Savvy marketers understand this principle. Effective packaging designers design with this principle in mind.

Research has demonstrated over and over again that consumer attention span in front of the shelf is only 3 to 5 seconds. This means they do not even see text, much less read or understand it. Simplicity is key. The more you add, the less you’ll communicate. Clear hierarchy of communication must address versions, flavour, forms, and/or sizes. The pack must “make sense” because nobody reads a concept.

Approaching products and subsequently packaging design on shelf consumers are asking themselves, albeit in most cases, subconsciously, the following 5 key questions to get a CLEAR understanding of the product:

  1. Comprehension is the pack easy to engage with? In less than 3 seconds can I understand what it is, what it does, how it will solve my problem and why it was made for me? Is the pack well-structured with visual information and key messaging that I can easily understand? 
  2. Legibility Once in my hand how easy is it to read? Does the written and graphic content feature targeted information for me? Do the colour combinations and fonts have an impact on me emotionally? 
  3. Understandability How easy is it for me to understand your messaging? Does the design and messages resonate with and inform me specifically based on my needs and wants. 
  4. Accuracy How easy is it for me to interpret the packaging graphical and content messaging? I need the design and information layout to be descriptive and straightforward enough to avoid any confusion. 
  5. Results focused Should I give this a try? There are four key actions which demonstrate that your pack on shelf has communicated effectively with me: 
  • You got my attention because of the product packaging on shelf
  • I picked the product off the shelf
  • I invested my time to examine the product
  • I put the pack in my shopping trolley

The quicker someone understands a product or message, the greater chance you have of selling him or her on it.

Less is ALWAYS more

Remember that less is more in terms of information on pack – allow the pack spruik “the most important thing”. Consumers are not meant to think about a pack and its design, they are meant to experience it. They’re meant to put it in the shopping basket.

Clear drivers

Over 70 per cent of purchasing decisions are made in the store. To incorporate the key motivations your target audience are looking for in the pack design, the designers must understand the data that lives behind some of the following questions so they can provide answers through the packaging:

  • What problem is the consumer trying to solve and how does the product solves that problem?
  • Why do they care? (is the brand/product relevant); what do they say? (What are their stated feelings and intentions); What do they do? (What is their actual behaviour?)
  • WIIFM – What’s in it for them? Does the visual personality of the brand/product make a connection? What is the connection they are looking for?
  • How will it make life easier? What’s going on in their lives?
  • How does your product compare? Does it matter?

Clarity requires valid research

To achieve the highest level of on shelf success the designers must be part of the research process from the very beginning. Being removed leaves the designer (and the client) with large interpretive gaps. Research can provide designers the background and knowledge to develop a more concise packaging solution that will enhance the brand.

Ian Segail is the General Manager – Operations at Sydney-based branding, packaging and design agency Jam&Co. Read Part 1 of the series here.

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