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Blue printThe next three posts are going to be dedicated to defining the elements on why certain packaging designs fail. If you want to get the next post sent directly to your inbox, subscribe at http://www.brianjpankratz.com.

Ego Check
Before we get started talking about why some packaging designs fail, we all have to come to the realization that somewhere just under our ego is opportunity for improvement.  It’s pretty tough to admit failure, but it becomes even tougher when we don’t admit it and learn from it.  Another thing to understand is that there is a level of opinion that goes into what makes a design a failure or success.

Areas to consider
When we talk about packaging design, there are three different areas to consider; design, structure, and marketing.  We are going to talk about the design aspect in this post, and then cover structure and marketing in following posts.

Define Design
It’s important to understand what we mean when we talk about design.  The word design could have several different meanings, one could argue that the whole make-up of a products packaging could be its design.  I would like to define design as simply, how you have decided to package your product (stock clamshell, carton, blister pack, etc.)

So, let’s start with design, what factors of the overall packaging design can contribute to failure?

1. Packaging costs – Start with an understanding of what the cost of your packaging should be.  Understand what equipment is necessary to assemble each style.  There are many factors that affect the overall cost of packaging your product.  Make sure to review all of them.  Not doing this could result in higher costs and make you uncompetitive in the market.

2. Poor Protection – Packaging has multiple functions.  It needs to help sell the product, but it also has to successfully transport the product to the consumer without being damaged.  Nothing screams, “Don’t buy me,” more than damaged or worn packaging.

3. Where’s the product – Very few products should be kept out of view from the consumer.  When possible, you need to show the product.  The more creative way you can show the product, the more attention it will gain.  Hiding your product in the packaging will make it harder to locate on the shelf.

4. Easy Access/Easy Open – Know your target audience and how they use your product.  Some consumers will avoid certain products due to hard-to-open packaging.  Understand the security aspects that are required and build in easy open features when you can.

5. Lack of Creativity – There are many options for creating attention in the simplest of packaging designs.  Plain packaging designs may be overlooked and run the risk of never being found.  Understand the different design options that are available at no extra cost that can and will draw attention to achieve added sales.  There are several companies out there (including Display Pack) that offer free packaging design evaluation.  Do your homework and ask questions!  Be creative!

The Goal
The goal of every packaging design is to match the needs of the consumer with the abilities of your product.  Good packaging should attract attention and then explain what makes your product unique and better than your competitors.  Not doing so can result in a level of packaging design failure that could have been avoided.

For more information on how you can creating winning packaging designs that create attention and resist failure, contact Brian Pankratz, bpankratz@displaypack.com.