I must admit, over the past 18 months I’ve become rather giddy over packaging. Friends have started to look at me oddly when I tell them about the latest bubble wrap innovation (strong enough to be run over with a lorry and not pop!), or void fill solution (the bits that keep your latest eBay splurge secure in the box).
But in terms of consumer packaging, I think it’s a lot easier for people to get excited about, especially given the role it plays in influencing your purchasing decision. As Drew Smith, founder and creative director of branding agency Smith Lumen, notes: “Consumers usually purchase the first product they touch on the shelf.”
Take for example, my weekly Graze box full of nibbles (see image) – its cardboard exterior always has some eye-catching print, or seasonal design.
And it’s no secret that brand owners are using packaging to entice us into buying new shiny things. In fact, a certain Silicone Valley tech giant deliberately ensures that its boxes take a little while to open to make the initial ‘unveiling experience’ last that few seconds longer. It’s simple psychology at its finest.
My desk mates are probably sick to death of hearing me talk about the trip to Japan I’m planning for 2016, and considering I don’t read kanji, hiragana or katakana, a lot of my purchases may indeed rely on some guesswork through the packaging!
Colour also plays an important part; blue is a trustworthy, white is a blank, modern canvas…we all recognise Coca-Cola red, Cadbury purple and now there’s even a Minion yellow. Black, gold and silver are often used in embossing for luxury packaging, while earthy, rich tones feature prominently in packaging for organic, or eco-friendly products.
So next time you’re scanning the aisles of the supermarket, or opening your latest high-tech product…take a deeper look at the well-executed shell encasing your newest buy – were you swayed by the design, just as the brands intended?