Four tips for perfect product packaging

How to create the perfect packaging for your product

Each of my husband’s days off start with the same phrase, “I’m hungry.” He wakes up ravenous and immediately thinking of breakfast. The majority of our days off together are spent talking about food… What we ate the night before. What we plan on eating for breakfast. What wine our dinner that night will be paired with. Now, while I do love food, unlike my husband (who used to be a chef), food and wine don’t occupy the majority of my thoughts. I have learned to live with his love of food and wine. Honestly, it isn’t all that difficult since I get to consume the dishes he conceptualizes and then prepares.

I got to know his love of food on our first date as we swapped stories of our favorite childhood dishes and talked about our most cherished foods. I was a bit shocked when he said that his all-time favorite food was an egg. Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of eggs but it was hard for me to imagine a chef that had worked with precious and rare ingredients saying that his number one food was an egg.

Then he explained… Eggs are the perfect food. They can be incorporated into so many other dishes as well as stand on their own. They can constitute foam on a fancy dish or cocktail or be the perfect hangover cure when fried in butter and paired with burnt toast. All of those things were wonderful, he said and part of the reason he loved eggs. But his number one reason was not the egg itself but its’ packaging. The eggshell is the perfect package. Like the egg itself, it is simple and classic. It also served a purpose: to contain the egg and to protect it from bacteria and dust.

Many years after this first date and our deep conversation about eggs we got three chickens for our suburban backyard. I grew up with a mother who was overzealous about food safety and the second our chicken laid her first egg I grabbed it and nearly ran to store it in the fridge. My husband informed me that as long as you don’t wash an egg, you don’t have to refrigerate it… yet one more reason that an eggshell is such a perfect package. This got me thinking about how an eggshell shares many of the same qualities with great packaging for products.

Let’s imagine you’re in the grocery store and trying to decide between two cans of beans. For most of us price plays a role in our purchasing decisions. But, let’s say both cans are the same price and have the same ingredients, then how do you decide? Chances are that you’ll purchase the can with packaging that appeals to you.

As creatives we spend a lot of time dreaming up ideas for our products, then perfecting them. It’s key to remember that your packaging is just as important as your product itself. Of course your product should be unique and created with quality materials but if your packaging doesn’t match the awesomeness of your product, your customers may never bother to pick it up and debate whether or not to purchase it.

Large companies devote whole departments to product packaging but most of us independent business owners don’t have that same luxury. Many of us wear several hats and serve as our own heads of marketing, accounting, product development and packaging. Even though we’re juggling a lot it’s key to dedicate time to making sure our packaging is not only functional but also mirrors our products and brand. Lucky us, we have so many resources available… From printing our own labels on our home printers to creating unique handmade packaging to using a resource like Packlane to create professional custom packaging.

I recently made some necklaces (inspired by our Craftcation presenter Lisa Solomon’s class at Craftcation) and I was super excited to test out Packlane to create packaging for them. Packlane has an awesome interface on their website that let’s you choose your type of packaging, then upload your existing artwork or create your own and throughout every step of the process you can see a preview of how your final packaging will look. This last part was amazing and perfect for creatives like me who need to see how something will turn out before they commit to it. One of the other things I love about Packlane is that they have low minimums so there isn’t a huge commitment. I ordered 10 boxes. That’s right, I was able to create my own completely custom packaging with a very small financial commitment.

Here are a few images of what the process of creating my packaging on Packlane was like and my finished packaging. I LOVE how you get a preview every step of the way!

How to create the perfect packaging for your productHow to create the perfect packaging for your product

How to create the perfect packaging for your product How to create the perfect packaging for your product

Whether you go with professional-style custom packaging like Packlane or get your DIY on and create your own unique handmade packaging there are several factors to consider when creating your product packaging but here are the top four things that your product packaging should be.

Fucntional:

No matter how lovely your packaging is, if it doesn’t contain your product in an effective way then what’s the point? If you make shirts and people have to try them on, packaging them in a bag that your customer can’t remove the shirt from isn’t functional. If you make something that you don’t want people to touch but that they do need to see, then clear packaging seems like a good bet.

Cost-effective:

Packaging costs must be factored into the cost of your product. If your packaging is amazing but pushes your product price point to unreasonable level, you should probably reconsider and figure out a less expensive option. Sometimes packaging is what makes your product rise to the next price point and makes customers feel like their purchase is worth the investment.

On-brand:

Everything about your packaging should reflect your branding and the mission of your business. If you create recycled scarfs then your packaging should be minimal and likely made from recycled materials as well. If you have a luxury product with a high price point then it may make sense to invest a bit more into your packaging and you likely don’t have to be quite as eco-conscious. The fonts, colors, images, shape, pattern and design of your packaging needs to match with the overall branding of your business.

Informative:

Think about the questions you want answers to before you buy a product. What is it made of? How long will it last? Where was it produced? How was it produced? Etc. Now, more than ever, consumers are making more conscious buying choices. They often don’t buy something just because they need it (especially now that we have SO many choices) but rather tend to gravitate towards products that tell a story and fit with their ethics. It’s key to inform customers about the facts of your product (for example: they need to know your necklace is made of sterling silver in case they’re allergic to nickel).

As you start to think (or rethink) about your packaging keep these tips in mind and remember the awesome perfection of one of nature’s perfect packages: the eggshell.

To enter the giveaway:

If you’re interested in taking your product packaging to the next level check out Packlane and leave a comment on this blog post below by June 15th letting us know about a product that has awesome packaging that you admire or your biggest struggle with trying to figure out the perfect packaging for your product and we’ll pick one lucky winner to a $100 gift certificate to Packlane!!

Curious about Packlane?

Here’s a bit more about them:

Packlane.com helps small business owners like you create unique and professional branded packaging that looks just the way you want it to. The traditional printed packaging model involves stock sized boxes, limited design options, and expensive set-up and tooling fees – but that’s all about to change with Packlane.

With Packlane,  you call the shots. Box type. Box size. Box color. Box graphics. Box, well, everything. They built the ultimate 3D-design tool – that you can’t get your mouse on anywhere else – so designing the idea in your head and customizing it to perfection is as easy as a few clickity clicks.

From the materials they use to make the boxes, to the state-of-the-art presses used to ink them, quality is always top of their list . They know you want your brand to connect with your customers before they even set eyes on your product – and they have all the tools to make that happen.

Start customizing your packaging today at Packlane.com

How to take your product packaging to the next level from Dear Handmade Life
Four tips for perfect product packaging from Dear Handmade Life

21 Comments

  1. THIS INFORMATION IS AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing – I love Erin Condren packaging. Never did I think I could have custom boxes with spending $100’s of dollars. I’m so checking them out.

  2. Good stuff! I sell etched glassware, and besides the obvious breakage problem, i also sell a variety of sizes and get orders for multiple item sets. One box size simply wont work!

  3. Candle maker here!! I struggle with wondering if my packaging will entice a customer to pick up and explore the candle further. I’m constantly thinking up designs for my candle labels that I think would work well, as well as if I should include several different types of packaging – different shaped jars, different colored lids- to my collection. I also wonder if a certain type of packaging had a shelf-life in terms of customer interest and how long that shelf-life lasts!! Ps. Thanks for this info!!

  4. I am the creator of fine handcrafted soaps from Northern Canada and am continually struggling to find packaging that shows the beauty of the soap, allows me to list all of the ingredients, keeps the hands off the soap and is most of all pretty! I am always experimenting and have found a few fun things that meet my needs. but nothing that is perfect yet! thanks for these tips..i will definitely use them on my next mission! xo

  5. OMG this is just what I needed! You saved me a ton of time- no need to Google-fu packaging resources. Packlane seems to be the perfect fit for my business. Thanks for writing about this, Nicole!!

  6. You made a really good point about staying on-brand with your packaging. The packaging is the first thing your customers will see, so it needs to represent your business. One point that you didn’t mention is to choose a style that is reusable. I love re-using product boxes as storage containers or gift boxes, so I really love it when a company sends my order something useful like that!

  7. I really like what was said about making your custom packaging cost effective. I can see how lots of businesses would place importance on this because packaging is so important but so is saving money. If I ever own my own business I am going to take this into account.

  8. I appreciate the advice on how to design a package that perfectly matches your product. I never knew that the packaging is just as important as the product itself — that is unbelievable. I am a big collector of shoes and having the box is almost like a part of the set. Thanks for the post!

  9. This is amazing, I will definitely look into Packlane. How did you get the pattern to upload? Did you create that yourself?

  10. I like your example of the tshirt. Like you said, having a shirt in a bag isn’t functional design. I can see why’d you want to consider appearance and function; in the end both of those things are part of your overall branding.

  11. I liked what you said about how you should make sure that your packaging is functional It does seem like you should make sure that the packaging will keep thing secure in the box. It might be smart to get the professional help you pick out good packaging.

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