Small Business Brief

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7 Creative Packaging Tips Sure To Delight Your Customers

How you package your products impacts customer’s opinions of your brand. Here are 7 creative packaging tips sure to delight your customers and improve sales.


The average number of items carried in U.S.supermarkets is 38,900. All these items are fighting for space and impact on the supermarket shelf. You need creative packaging tips to make your product stands out from the rest.

Product packaging makes such a massive difference. Just think about great products such as Coca-Cola, Pringles or Toblerone and you how the packaging contributes to the brand.

The packaging industry includes designers, printers, brand managers, product producers, and retailers. Whatever your angle, you need to understand what makes for good packaging decisions. Taking the next step to creative packaging takes a little more thought.

Read on for 7 creative packaging tips sure to delight your customers.

Packaging Tips

There are some basics you need to get right when doing product packaging design. Here are the basic rules:

  • Clear and simple
  • Honest
  • Maximize shelf or website impact
  • Practical for customer and supply chain
  • Cost-effective

So that’s the basic packaging tips out of the way. Let’s get creative.

1. Start at the Beginning

Getting involved early in the product lifecycle provides lots of opportunity for creativity. The product development process provides the packaging designer with critical information about the product, it’s target market, competitors, and the supply chain. All this is useful information to help stimulate the creative process.

Imagine a Toblerone without its packaging. The product and the packaging are indivisible parts of the whole product identity. The genius of the product is not the chocolate but the unique shape, how it stacks, displays, how it stores during shipping, and the eating experience created by the shape and packaging together.

Get thinking about packaging as early as possible. Involve a designer such as Pixel Productions Inc. early. Any set of business tips is going to encourage getting involved early in a process and packaging tips are the same.

2. Surprising Shape

Toblerone is not the only product to use a unique shape for its packaging. When Pringles produced their tube packaging chips were almost universally packaged in bags of various sizes. The bagged snacks would be easily damaged and display on a shelf was a challenge too.

P&G created the new chip shape as a response to these challenges and the hyperbolic paraboloid shaped chip was born. Because it can stack, a tube was the packaging solution.

Thinking differently about shape was the breakthrough creative step.

3. Surprising Material

In a time when most drinks were packaged in glass, in 1967 a Dupont engineer started looking at alternatives for storing carbonated drinks. Glass was heavy, it breaks and if recycled, the glass bottle soon started to look scratched and old. Nathaniel Wyeth opted for polyethylene terephthalate or PET.

PET was light, not easily broken, and instead of using metal caps, the bottles could be resealable by the consumer. This led to larger bottles such as the two-liter size which is now very common on supermarket shelves. PET is recyclable and recent developments in materials mean that the raw materials used in manufacture are more sustainable.

When developing packaging, consider whether you are using materials simply because that is the material that has always been used. Thinking differently about materials allows for new opportunities.

4. Greenwashing and Sustainability

Greenwashing is a form of spin where marketing is used to create a perception of environmental credentials where they do not exist. You may have seen signs in hotel rooms asking you to reuse towels in order to “save the planet”. You might suspect that this is entirely about reducing their costs and increasing profitability.

Credibility and authenticity are key when skepticism and cynicism about business motives are rife. Be real about this.

If the product itself has an ethical dimension to the brand such as fairtrade, organic, or sustainable, then the packaging should be consistent with it. For example, there are paper products that may be more consistent with environmental consciousness such as mulberry, bamboo, or hemp paper. Check out the sources and impact on local people of production and processing.

5. Handmade and Personal

Something that looks handmade looks personalized. It seems to be made specifically for the customer.

Lush retains the fresh, handmade feel of their cosmetic products despite their massive global scale. Their packaging also reflects this feeling.

For example, buy soap from Lush online and you can buy a Knot-Wrap. This packaging is recyclable, reusable, and sold as a product in its own right. The customer can then gift the soap in personalized packaging.

6. Add Function

What happens when you open a packet of chips and want to share them with people while they watch a movie on TV? The chips spill onto the floor. Hands get greasy as people feel around inside the bag and then so does the furniture.

Doritos came up with a geometric design that reflected with triangular shape of the product and also made the package self-supporting. This meant you could open the packet and it became a serving dish, perfect for sharing.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup turned up sales figures when they turned their bottle upside down. The improved function of a squeezy bottle making the ketchup conveniently easy to squirt on the plate added greatly to the product.

7.Be Playful

Life can be so serious. As adults, we learn how to restrain our playfulness to fulfill our adult roles. But we love being playful and that’s official. Ren? Proyer, at the University of Zurich, has researched this and says “Adults are playful – and that’s a fact”.

The first product we mentioned in this article was Coca-Cola and so it’s appropriate to end with Coke too.

Coke has long been associated with Christmas including often being credited with the invention of the red-coated Santa image. In 2009, their holiday design packaging was a spherical bottle which looked just like a Christmas tree bauble. True to the brand and fun too.

Playful designs grab attention. They delight and amuse us. Have fun with packaging design?

Let’s Wrap It Up

Getting the packaging basics right is so important. It’s not clever to have a funky design if the product arrives at the store in a damaged state because of packaging failure.

After you have the basic packaging tips in place, to stand out from the competition and delighting customers, follow these creative packaging tips. Be fearless and have fun.

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