Packaging can often be an overlooked opportunity to truly elevate and position your brand while giving your product real personality that is memorable. It’s an element of your marketing arsenal that is tangible and that can demand attention from a potential customer at the point of sale. We spoke with DMA senior graphic designer, Cassie Bales, to explore what exactly it takes to produce outstanding packaging that’ll delight customers.
When beginning a new packaging project, how do you get started?
I like to read market research and highlight things that I find important, such as the average age range of those who purchase the product most frequently. I really try to get to know the customer that I am designing for—what are they activities they like to do? What do they care about? I build a personality and profile for them. I also evaluate the client’s current packaging and pick any elements that I should keep and modernize. Lastly, I look at competitors, big or small, and analyze what they’re doing well. Ultimately, if I can make my packaging look cooler and more trustworthy than the competition, that’s success. I want the packaging we design at DMA to speak to the target audience in a different way than the competition.
In your opinion, what makes great packaging design or “next-level”?
I think excellent packaging is anything that has a strong sense of personality. So many other sections of the store have packaging that is bursting with personality—which is something that you don’t see as much in the produce aisle. The packaging is a physical embodiment of the brand. A brand needs to be represented by so much more than just a logo. When it comes to branding in packaging, a lot of people don’t realize that there are subconscious things that happen – serif fonts will always look more classic and older rather while sans serif fonts will look more fun. We have trained people to associate certain things with certain aesthetics, and I think we can utilize this type of knowledge better in fresh produce packaging.
What are the greatest barriers to creating successful packaging?
The quality of the material that the design is printed on makes a big difference. Certain materials limit greatly the types of colors we can use and alters the potential of the design. I also find it important to strike a balance on how much information to include and understanding that certain information is often required on packaging. We can’t crowd the rest of the available space with too much messaging. You have to choose your words carefully in order to tell your story with the little space available.
How can a client best participate throughout the design process?
The entire packaging design process goes much more smoothly when the client is informed about the specifications and needs of their dielines for the packaging. It’s great knowing from the beginning exactly which type of information needs to be included. It’s also very helpful when a client understands the difference between pantone and CMYK—because those are things that can drastically change the outcome.
I also find that the best outcomes happen when a client is willing to be little bit more risky and is willing to show a bit more personality and identity in their packaging that is truly uniquely their own. If they're hesitant, we can end up with confusing messaging that isn’t as effective. It’s crucial for the client to consider everything from the perspective of their customer and not from their own personal perspective. All stakeholders must evaluate packaging designs from the lenses of their shopper and try their best to avoid seeomg things through their own personal tastes.
What are some of your fresh produce packaging crushes?
Love Beets has always stood out to me. They made beets accessible and exciting through their fun packaging—there’s so much personality and warmth behind it. I also think that Village Farms has great design because of the simplicity of their packaging—it looks impeccable. They get their story and message across through the least amount of words possible.
Feeling inspired to create some eye-catching packaging that’ll make your products pop? Contact us to explore how we can help you!