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Question markI answer my cell phone and on the other line is my customer. They have a new product and need some ideas on how to package it. How do I know I am offering the best packaging options to fit their needs? The answer…by asking the right questions.

In the first post of this series we reviewed some questions to ask about the product. Now that we have the information needed about the product, we can move on to determining the best method or style to package the product. Although this method is usually driven by cost, it is important to ask the questions so that the right packaging is developed.

There are many questions to ask in this step, the list is long and detailed, but here are a few worth mentioning…

1. What type of protection does the product need? One of the main responsibilities of packaging is to deliver the product to the customer without damage. Certain packaging types are needed to be able to protect the product better. It is important to understand how the product needs to be protected and design styles of packaging around those features. Packaging a screwdriver will be much different than packaging a light bulb.

2. Is there a certain style of packaging desired? Carton, clamshell, blister, trapped blister, envelope, etc. Even though a lot of questions are asked to determine the right style of packaging, it is always a good idea to get the manufacturers thoughts on how they would like to see their product displayed.

3. What materials are desired? Which types of materials should be avoided? Available material options include certified boards, recycled plastics, microwavable, dishwasher safe, etc. It is also good to find out if certain materials should be avoided. Some retailers do not like certain materials and it is important to know where the product is being sold so the right materials can be selected.

4. Who is doing the assembly? Depending who is doing the assembly and what type of equipment they have will dictate or eliminate some types of designs if purchasing capital equipment isn’t an option.

5. What type of visibility does the product need? Some products have multiple components to them and some need to be visible while some do not. Understand the visibility requirements. It is typically always better to show at least some of the product when possible. This helps to ensure the customer is buying the right product. Try to show the product when possible.

6. Does the packaging have a use after it’s purchased? In some cases the packaging will be used to hold a product for multiple uses by the consumer. Examples are: screws, eggs, cereal, etc. The product will most likely not be used in one use, so the packaging has to be designed for multiple uses. In this case, open and close features become very important.

The full list of questions to ask when designing packaging is significantly longer than listed here and continues to grow as technology and processes evolve. The goal is to ask questions that are relevant to the product you are packaging so that greater success is achieved.

At the end of this series, I will be sending out a complete list of questions to all who are subscribed to my blog. Visit http://www.brianjpankratz.com and subscribe to this blog if you are interested in receiving the full version.

For questions or if you would like help with designing your products packaging, contact Brian Pankratz at Display Pack, bpankratz@displaypack.com.