Catch Their Eye: The Impact Packaging Design Has on Consumer Purchasing

Think about it. When people walk up and down the aisles of a store or browse online, a product’s package is the first thing they see. If your products don’t have a unique packaging design, how can you expect them to stand out? Packaging design communicates to consumers what they need to know about the product and how it will benefit them.

But more than that, a package’s design is responsible for attracting interest in what’s inside. Point blank, packaging sells and communicates what type of consumer the product is for. A study conducted by IPSOS and the Paper and Packaging Board revealed that 72% of consumers think packaging design determines whether they buy something.

But what is it about a product’s unique packaging design that you have to pay attention to, hone, and modify as consumer preferences change? Here’s a look at the different elements of packaging design that can catch a consumer’s eye.

Materials

The materials you use in your packaging design can have a significant impact on consumers’ purchasing habits. For example, in the consumer survey mentioned above, 68% of purchasers say the packaging’s material factors into their decision. So while buyers tend to lean toward paper and cardboard versus plastic, you need to first think about your target market.

For instance, are you trying to appeal to eco-conscious markets? Are there local or national regulations that specify what type of materials you need to use? Even if you attempt to appeal to environmentally friendly customers, consider how the packaging materials impact the overall experience.

Frito-Lay’s SunChips infamously went through an eco-friendly packaging redesign that backfired. The packaging was biodegradable, but consumers rejected it because of the loud noises it made. Even though other elements like brand look and colors remained the same, the noise and new feel of the package led to sharply decreased sales of one of the manufacturer’s top brands.

Graphic Design(s)

A package’s graphic design is one of the more essential elements because it can help consumers recognize your brand. Subcomponents of your packaging’s design can include:

  • • Brand logos
  • • Icons and characters
  • • Symbols
  • • Layouts
  • • Fonts
  • • Images
  • • Patterns

If you have a strong brand reputation or want to establish one, placing your company’s logo in a prominent position on the packaging is key. You can also make a logo more prominent with bright or dynamic color patterns.

Icons and characters can come into play if you want to personify your brand or product story. The Pillsbury Dough Boy is a prime example. It’s a character used in the majority of the brand’s packaging and advertising. It can help consumers pinpoint and recognize the brand’s product line in a crowded aisle.

Other design elements, such as layout, fonts, and images, can determine how visually appealing a package is. These elements can also influence readability, and the impressions consumers form about your product(s). For instance, does the design imply the product is generic and of lower quality? Or does the design communicate a unique brand look and feel?

Color Scheme

Your brand probably wants to communicate and evoke specific emotions in consumers. Those emotions lead people to purchase your product(s) because they associate them with that feeling or scenarios where they tend to have those feelings. Blue, for instance, tends to have a calming effect. Red, on the other hand, can evoke feelings of aggressiveness.

Many brands and packaging designs use multiple colors and color schemes. Those colors are more than just a unique packaging design. You’ll often see them in print, television, and digital forms of advertising. Colors not only grab consumers’ attention in a store but aid people in recognizing favorite brands and products.

Consumer research shows that color is one of the top factors consumers use to form a subconscious impression of a product within the first 90 seconds. Between 62% and 90% of that initial assessment comes from the color(s) on a package.

Design Flexibility

Your product’s packaging needs to accommodate the needs of the consumer and how customers use your product. For example, microwavable meals are packaged in small containers that people can eat out of. Some companies choose packaging that divides different types of foods within the same meal. Others don’t, which could turn off consumers that like to keep distinct foods separate on the same plate.

This packaging contains materials that allow the food to cook in the microwave but prevent it from exploding everywhere. Companies that market convenience meals to health-conscious consumers might also include recyclable packaging to appeal to related interests.

The size and shape of your unique packaging design can also influence consumer perception. For instance, many people comment on how expensive potato chips are and how the bags appear to be getting smaller. In addition, some people make remarks about how the bags tend to have more air than chips. As a result, some manufacturers use see-through packaging or bags that do not hold air at the top to combat these negative perceptions.

Creativity

A creative package design can be both functional and attract consumer attention by reducing waste and more:

  • • Breaking up the similar shapes and sizes in an aisle.
  • • Producing a “wow” factor
  • • Making consumers look twice
  • • Allowing for greater ease of use

Companies only have a few seconds to make consumers take a second glance and notice their products. When your design looks like everyone else’s, it’s increasingly difficult to make that happen. Consumers are typically drawn to products based on price, look, and familiarity with the brand.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how a unique packaging design can grab a consumer’s attention, you can put these methods into practice. While it helps to study what your competitors and other firms are doing, don’t try to go along with the crowd. If your product blends in too well, consumers won’t notice your products. Instead, survey your ideal customers to find out what makes them take a second glance.