11 August 2022


According to a 2013 study, if the packaging is attractive enough, consumers may buy the product even if they were not planning on making a purchase. This behavior may be the result of the way attractive packaging triggers activity in the brain — it’s all a part of the psychology of packaging design. 

When you see something you like in a store, it activates your brain’s reward responses and suppresses activity in parts of the brain that are responsible for reflective thought. As a result, consumers are more likely to buy something attractive because it makes their brains happy and reduces their likelihood to question their decision.  

These factors span into influencing decisions on edible products and influence the psychology of food packaging. There is a consideration in the food packaging’s color psychology. It might be unique with vibrant colors or svelte contours.


So we know that attractive packaging engages the brain and makes consumers more likely to purchase. However, what exactly makes packaging attractive? How powerful can food packaging color psychology be? With the psychology of packaging design, there are several elements to consider.


Creating packaging with a unique shape is a great way to help your product stand out. Whether you are trying to sell perfume or a bag of chips, there are plenty of ways you can achieve a unique product design. 

According to a 2004 psychology of food packaging study, attractive containers can even make consumers perceive those containers as being more full. As a result, unique containers are valued not just for catching the eye of potential customers, but because people feel they can get more bang for their buck. 

Besides the overall shape of your product’s packaging, the other design elements are important. These elements include variables like: 

  • Label design
  • Label orientation 
  • Alignment
  • Angularity 

According to a 2012 study, consumers respond to certain packaging elements more than others. For example, participants in the study enjoyed it when graphics were to the right of the text. Some of these preferences may evolve with time or change with trends. However, several branding options can come from long-ingrained evolutionary or cultural traditions.

In general, customers respond well to curved lines and find sharp angles to be threatening. That is not to say that you must only use curved lines in your packaging. Simply consider how you can use this information to reinforce the brand identity of your product. 


It can be easy to choose the first font you see. However, considering your font choice carefully vastly improves the quality of your product’s packaging. Your font should be readable, and it should be able to convey plenty of information. Few packaging design mistakes are bigger than adding an unreadable font. 

The particular font you choose will depend on your brand’s identity. More ornate fonts often work best for products that want to evoke old-fashioned branding. Meanwhile, bold or simple fonts are a good way to convey modern sensibilities. These all play a vital role in the subtle psychology of packaging design. 

Remember that certain fonts are easier to read online versus in print. For example, serifs work best in print, and san-serif fonts are easier to read online. Always consider how well the font on your packaging will work with your online and print branding.

According to a group of 2012 studies, font characteristics such as harmony, naturalness, weight, and flourish are some of the most vital aspects of fonts that play into the brand identity. These variables make a brand seem more: 

  • Exciting
  • Sincere
  • Sophisticated 
  • Competent
  • Rugged


Color is one of the most central aspects of the psychology of food packaging. It is often responsible for drawing a customer in and allowing a product to stand out. The right color choices will reinforce a product’s brand identity and appeal to a customer’s psychology and emotions. 

Food packaging color psychology tells us that there are several theories about why humans enjoy the colors they do. According to one 2009 study, some colors are more stimulating to the human brain than others. Often, humans prefer colors that remind them of objects that share that color. So, if your product is “Blue Sky Brownies” you should use a palette of dreamy blues, rather than fiery reds.   

Another study suggests that humans developed certain color preferences and associations over time. These connections grew, as a result of evolution that allowed humans to recognize safe food and comfortable sleeping areas. As a result, effective branding will build off of a customer’s existing psychological associations. 

Food packaging color psychology is simple to apply. When designing your packaging, ensure that it fits well with your brand identity and any style guide you have. Be sure to use the same shades throughout all elements of your branding materials, including on your website and packaging.


Many of the aforementioned aspects of packaging are related to visual stimulation. Visuals are vital. However, it is vital to engage the consumer’s other senses. Touch is an important, but often overlooked aspect of packaging. 

When humans touch something, they receive and analyze an immense amount of information. The touch of something can convey quality and make people feel like they already own the item.  

If you ignore touch when designing your packaging, you may end up with an item that is unpleasant to touch. A 2019 review looked at the importance of packaging design in terms of a tactile experience. Several variables can affect how you perceive an item based on touch. In some cases, touch can even impact how your other senses perceive a product.


When designing the packaging for your product, it is important to keep the identity of your product and the customer you want in mind. You should get a good idea of the packaging your competition uses. You want your resulting packaging to balance between fitting in with similar brands and standing out. 

A key to the psychology of food packaging is once you have a good handle on the needs of your customer, and the existing market preferences, you should select your branding elements with care. Choose a packaging material that is nice to touch and fits your brand. For example, if you have an environmentally-friendly brand, you should avoid packaging with plastics or other unsustainable materials. 

Another vital element in the importance of packaging design is the right shape. Ensure that the packaging shape will nicely contain your product and that it is a functional way for consumers to interact with your product. 

Play with several different colors and fonts before you settle. Make sure that the colors and fonts you use are the best possible representation of your brand. While staying true to your brand is the most vital component of packaging design, you should also consider readability and whether or not your packaging stands out. 

As part of your market research, you should try to get feedback on potential branding options. Design a few combinations of fonts and design elements and give them to potential customers. Ask for feedback to see if customers respond to some designs over others.


Using the psychology of packaging design to create the perfect packaging for your product is easier than you think. All you need to do is understand how elements such as color, font, overall shape, and touch impact your branding. Packaging design is important for a variety of reasons. There is a lot of psychological effort behind packaging designs from colorful retail merchandise to food. 

The importance of packaging design can’t be underestimated, and with a bit of research into your customer and careful strategizing, you can create packaging to help your product fly off the shelves. Contact The Packaging Lab today to get expert help with your packaging.

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