Human beings are surrounded by creative package design. Be it cereal for breakfast, gifting hampers, shampoo bottles, or even online food delivery – packaging is everywhere. There are many layers to the product packaging design, and all of them are integral to a brand’s reputation. Each layer is essential from the outermost to the innermost packaging and requires thorough research to be made just the right way. Here’s a detailed explanation of the three layers:

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1. Outer packaging

The outer layer is usually cardboard boxes, or plastic wraps to endure shipping and transportation. Packet protects the item from spills or damages and ensures that the product is safe inside. It can be the shopping bag with the brand’s colors and logo for a cloth brand, while it can be a plain, thick cardboard box for an electronics brand.

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2. Inner packaging

Inner packaging protects the product from the wear and tear of the outer packaging. It can be in the form of shredded paper, plastic wraps, bubble wraps or sealed bags.

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3. Product packaging

Product Pack is the final stage of packaging that holds the product. Shampoo bottles, oil bottles, butter or jam jars, and the golden chocolate wrapper are examples of product packaging. These designs fit the brand logos, colors, descriptions, nutritional information, also essential details like manufacturing and expiration dates.

Not all products have all three layers of packaging, but each layer is vital to maintain the product quality and enhance your brand’s image. Many brands miss the mark and create inconvenient packaging, low-quality, or doesn’t complement the product.

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Here are 11 such design blunders to look out for a while designing a new product packaging:

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1. Over-Packaging

Over Packaging design

The famous saying “Less is more” is best suited to the packaging industry. Customers hate wasteful and bulky packaging designs that take up a lot of shelf space. The less complicated a product packaging is, the more positive feedback it will get from the customers. In addition to the apparent waste of money, time and resources that companies spend, complicated packaging increases the cost of the product and severely affects brand reputation. Suppose a product packaging has too many layers that make it difficult and time-consuming, then it looks impossible to reach the product. In that case, customers are dissatisfied and are less likely to purchase the same item again.

Today, customers are aware of plastic waste, climate change or energy depletion and prefer products that offer sustainable and eco-friendly packaging. Adding unnecessary layers to the product packaging also contributes to waste and is unsustainable. Thankfully, there are many sustainable alternatives to reliable packaging material to secure the contents, for example, waste paper shreds in place of bubble wrap and recycled gift wrap paper instead of plastic wrappers. You can work with a professional packaging design company to customize sustainable packaging that your customers will enjoy unboxing and reduce the waste on the planet.

Therefore, create an appropriate packaging for your purpose with the correct size to make it easy to transport, store and handle in all stages.

Now let’s have a look at some of the over-packaging designs and the right ones for your understanding. (source)

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2. Wrong Material

Wrong Material

Imagine this: You ordered food online, and by the time it reaches you, it’s ruined because the container wasn’t airtight. The food has come out of the container and isn’t safe to eat anymore. Your money has gone down the drain, and you are disappointed. Would you ever trust the same restaurant and order again? Most definitely not.

The primary function of packaging is to keep the products safe. Low-quality material in packaging can cause severe damage to the product, even before it reaches the customer. The particular damage costs the company and eliminates customers’ trust if the product is not up to the promised quality standards. Quality matters when it comes to packaging, especially with e-commerce products where customers expect their products to bear the wear and tear of shipping and transportation and remain undamaged. Discounting on packaging quality can result in additional cost bearing and the loss of customer loyalty. When this continues, businesses generally experience a heavy drop in sales and struggle to make ends meet. Make sure to give your customers the value for their spending with good-quality packaging to protect the products inside.

Choose the proper packaging material that is appropriate for your product. You need to research various pros and cons before deciding on the material. In the present time, as there are different materials used, you’ll definitely get the perfect material for your purpose.

Now let’s look at some inspirations of different misleading packaging materials and correct materials used in products.

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Also Read: Creative Agency Guide – Definition, Importance, Costing and Challenges

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3. Typo Mistakes

There are so many memes on social media pointing out hilarious errors in product packaging that everyone loves to look at, but never to be actually featured as those memes. To breed trust, build credibility and avoid backlash, it’s essential to proofread every single word on your packaging 100 times before taking a final print. Sadly, once an obvious error is out, it’s complicated to take it back, re-establish customer trust and really costly to recall the product. The damage is severe.

Consumers rarely want to pay their hard-earned money to a brand that can’t get simple packaging details right. They are grammar critics, perfectionists and digital savvy who are unable to put up with misspellings and questionable design layouts. Spelling errors are one of the top packaging design mistakes to avoid at all costs. Clear, honest and precise communication is what it takes to build brand authority and win customer trust. How can a customer invest in a product if the company itself doesn’t seem to? It’s recommended to put time and effort into brand communication, attention to detail and value to the customer. So always double-check your package design, and then do it once more.

Now let’s go through some of such typo mistakes made by the brand and how to rectify them professionally.

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4. Misleading Package Image

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Some companies deliberately use misleading images on the product packaging to create an impression that the product’s value appears more than its actual worth. While it can earn companies a quick sale, it puts them in a bad light and doesn’t lead to sustainable sales over a long period of time. Tricking customers is an ill-advised practice that’s always a bad idea. It eliminates their trust in the brand and not only stops them from making another purchase but also stimulates them to spread the word to their family members and social circles, warning them against your products.

If overdone, misleading packaging can also put you at risk of a lawsuit. In spaces like the food industry, regulation authorities examine each packaging thoroughly and can suspend a company’s license for misleading the customers. Additionally, any company can get sued by a customer in the consumer court for over-commitment and under delivering. This information could show a bigger product size than it actually is, or promising benefits that the product doesn’t deliver. As tempting as it seems, dishonesty in any form is a bad idea and can be a huge blow to your company’s reputation.

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5. Hard to read


Often in an attempt to arrange a lot of information into a small space, brands use a tiny font or cluttered text that’s practically impossible to read. Customers often have to squint their eyes or use a magnifying glass to read labels. Unreadable labels and nutritional information discourage the consumers from making a purchase, which takes a huge blow at sales. Besides, as per the regulatory authorities, information on the packaging needs to be in accordance with the normal sight to enable most consumers to read it properly. The shape and size of the product packaging design play a huge role in determining the correct font size.

Using proper typography is the best way to grab attention and communicate the brand’s messaging to stand out from the crowd. Typography is the use of varying font sizes and colors to direct attention to important information. Typography can define the packaging, differentiate the brand and attract the customers towards making a purchase. However, it’s not an easy task that can be done right by anyone. Experts from a design agency can help you pick the right typeface and font based on your product specification and target audience.

Therefore, choose the most appropriate font according to your segment and products. Let’s have an outlook at some of the inspirations of wrong and right fonts used in designs.

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6. Impractical Shape

Most brands use unique shapes to make their products look appealing and stand out. While that works with many products, eccentric and impractical packaging shapes often do more bad than good. It isn’t easy to design, print, transport, open and increases the cost of the product. It makes things more complex than they actually should be and affects a company’s reputation. An impractical-shaped packaging is rarely perceived well and can take a blow at sales.

Using the simple principle of K.I.S.S. is a simple yet effective hack. It stands for ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ and encourages the use of simple ways to create the maximum impact. Simplifying things is often the most complicated task to be done, but with the right efforts, brands can create an easy-to-use design that conveys the right information and is convenient and impactful. Unnecessary complicated details distract and confuse the audience and obstruct them from making a purchase. They take away the focus from the product. The right design should be original and easy to operate, making unboxing easy and without any fuss. Keeping it simple will reduce friction and make the purchase experience smooth.

The usage of unique suitable shapes will catch the consumer’s attention faster than your competitors on the same shelf. They will pick your product even to see the creativity behind the design, which finally ends up purchasing the product.

Let’s outlook at some inspirations to understand how shape of a product influence in packaging.

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7. Hard to open

Hard to open packaging

Would your customers have to use tools to open your product packaging? It is a major design flaw. However beautiful and appealing a design must be, its ultimate goal is to make way for the product. Hard to open designs are frustrating and often, dangerous. If packaging requires customers to use complex tools and techniques, the process can hurt them. It can cut their fingers or twist their wrists. It’s dangerous, time-wasting and can also affect the product in the opening process. If there’s an accident while opening your product packaging, your customers will choose another brand with convenient packaging next time.

In today’s world, where people are conscious about where and how they spend their time and energy, the last thing they’ll want to buy is hard to open packaging, irrespective of how good the product quality is. Many forms of traditional packaging are hard to open, posing a challenge to the customers. To overcome this, companies all over the world are working to design convenient packaging that anyone can tackle with ease. You need to position the opening in a space that is easy to open and convenient for users. A creative design agency can help design easy-to-use and open packaging compatible with the product and visually appealing.

Let’s go through some of the designs where the method is not used correctly with some properly used designs.

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8. Lack of Emotional Bond

Lack of Emotional Bond

Emotions are what make us humans and connect customers to a brand. They’re necessary for a ‘feel-good factor. Building an emotional bond through packaging makes customers feel special and develop positive feelings towards the brand. The products people buy express who they really are, so they’re always on the lookout for products and brands that care about them, make them feel special and add value to their life.

Storytelling is the best method to connect people emotionally. Brands make use of stories to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Storytelling, when done right, can prove to be the most powerful branding and marketing weapon. It can make the target feel, connect, and respond by making a purchase and building trust in your brand. The story conveys the brand’s history, what it stands for and believes in and how its products can add value to your life. Keep it brief, but engaging enough to draw the customers and convince them to choose your product instead of the competitors.

Not sure where to start? Reach out to a creative design agency to design a balanced packaging that makes use of the right colors, fonts, typography, imagery and words to create an emotional connection with the target audience.

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9. Irrelevant colors

Irrelevant packaging colors

A lesser-known field of Psychology but an effective one, Colour Psychology helps establish your brand in just the right space. By identifying the target audience, their preferences and their expectations from the product, brands use appropriate colors to make the best combination. For example, bold, bright colors are used in children’s products to appeal to them. Using the wrong colour will make your package design irrelevant and make it difficult to position the brand among the target consumers. Besides the target group, the nature of the product is an important factor to consider before selecting a colour. Colour preferences differ across age, gender, geographical locations and individual preferences. If your target consumer leads a sustainable lifestyle and prefers eco-friendly, green products, using colors of nature like brown, blue and green will be the best call for your brand.

Identifying your target audience and adopting the right colors to attract them is a tedious and challenging task. However, you need to research the industry, competitors to understand the current trend of the market so that you’ll get an idea about the different ideas. With a team of expert creative designers, brands can build a well-researched strategy and use the best combination of creative elements to their advantage.

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10. Busy Design

Busy Packaging Design

No matter how attractive a design is, it’s difficult to interpret without white space. There’s nothing more off-putting than an overcrowded and busy design with no white space to make sense of the imagery and the text. Crowded spaces, though vibrant, get overwhelming and can deter the customers’ attention from the primary brand messaging. On the other hand, too much or unequally distributed white space makes the design looks overbearing and not pleasing. Creative package design experts help companies design packaging by perfectly balancing brand messaging, white space and vibrant design.

White or empty space throughout the packaging design is fundamental in achieving a balanced aesthetic and completing the design. The neutral contrast provided by the white space perfectly complements the practical design and helps your brand message pop through. It’s essential for a brand’s messaging to be clear and precise on the package, especially if it’s product-related information. When too many elements are crammed together in a small space, customers can miss out on important information like the expiration date, key ingredients, nutritional information or allergy information. Minimalism in design goes a long way because it’s easier to digest and gets the message across in the most simple way.

Therefore, make your design simple; don’t saturate the package with a lot of text or a busy design. Remember, you only have little seconds to convince your customers, so create a design that grabs their attention within that short time itself.

Let’s have some designs to compare the busy designs with some standard professional designs.

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11. Lack of Differentiation

Lack of Differentiation

The most creative package design is the one that catches a potential buyer’s eyes and is remembered by an existing customer. But if your packaging design looks exactly like a competitor’s, it doesn’t have a chance to stand out and make an impact. Most companies make the mistake of drawing inspiration from their successful competitors’ designs and incorporating the same in their packaging to be successful just like them. While this is very tempting, it can actually backlash at a company’s reputation and limit its audience reach.

Most consumers get confused while selecting products with identical packaging. Because of the similarities, they often don’t pay close attention to details and can pick up a competitor’s product instead of yours. Neither design stands out, causing trouble for your product sales. So it’s important to be visually distinct from your competitors and stand out instead of struggling to blend in. Some important factors to consider while finalizing a packaging design are your target audience, brand guidelines, unique selling proposition (U.S.P.) and size. Each company has a distinct approach to building its products, and maximum sales can be driven by aligning all the branding collaterals (packaging, website, brochures).

Think about some of your favourite products. You’re most likely to remember clean, minimal and grammatically correct packaging, not a busy, cluttered one. That’s the power of a great design.

Now let’s look at some of the brands that lack differentiation under the same industry with some unique designs.

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In this blog, we’ve discussed major mistakes that are seen in the packaging design. In an era of unboxing videos and an over infusion of brands, the packaging is a critical marketing tool. It’s ineffective in risking your business or sales over packaging design mistakes that you can easily avoid.

If you require your product to stand out on shelves and be indelible to customers, you should create design choices based on your ideal brand identity. Encapsulating your brand nature in your packaging will need a custom design.

You have to give out the designing task to some group like agencies with high experience in this industry and complete projects by satisfying clients. Don’t design your packaging in a vacuum; also, look at your competitors and try not to come up with such similar designs.

Suppose, you have any queries on creating a proper design in a professional method, you can reach us. The DesignerPeople team will guide you in creating unique, attractive designs that make your brand unique in the market.

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