This is a guest contribution by Lost and Found.
Great packaging does more than just look pretty on the shelf. The best package designs communicate the right messages to the right people, and ultimately, persuade them to buy your product. It is for this reason we often refer to packaging as ‘the silent salesman’.
Here are our top three tips for making the most of your packaging budget:
1. Get the foundations right first.
Getting your packaging right goes far beyond design. Strategy and creativity must work hand-in-hand in order to achieve a successful outcome. The most beautiful, award-winning packaging can be ineffective if the strategy and marketing messages are off-the-mark. Likewise, a great strategy can fail miserably if the creative work fails to resonate with the intended target market.
It is important to have a strategy in place that will act as a strong foundation on which to build and manage your brand. This involves research, competitive analysis, and a brand strategy that considers positioning, personality, points of difference, target customers, value propositions, and brand architecture. A failure to consider these elements at the start can result in ineffective brand names, brand identities, and packaging that will struggle to sell; resulting in costly re-designs and re-prints.
2. Work with experienced professionals.
Packaging is a highly specialised area. We recommend working with a designer who has the relevant skills and experience; someone who is familiar with the mandatory labelling regulations, packaging engineering, production and logistical constraints, the requirements of the big retailers, and who has good relationships with production suppliers.
An experienced designer can save you a lot of time and stress by dealing with production suppliers on your behalf, speaking their language to ensure that there are no costly miscommunications. Working with an inexperienced designer can end up costing you far more than you initially saved if things go wrong.
3. Know your numbers.
It is important to know your budget for design and production, and what per unit price you need to achieve. If you don’t know your numbers, you run the risk of designing packaging that you can’t afford to produce, or per unit costs that make it impossible for you to make a profit.
Talk to your designer about your budget, and they will be able to work backwards from that and recommend appropriate solutions that can stretch your budget further. For example, optimising print runs to deliver better per-unit pricing, using digital printing rather than offset printing, or producing your packaging offshore.
When it comes to production, lower quantities result in a high per unit cost. If you can’t afford larger quantities, some sacrifices may have to be made in the short-term, including using off-the-shelf packaging rather than custom designs, and / or hand assembly instead of automated assembly.
It is important to note that all is not lost if you have a limited budget. Life may certainly be easier with an unlimited budget, but constraints can often inspire lateral thinking and innovative ideas that push boundaries.
By Rebecca McKeating
Studio Director at Studio Lost & Found
Lost & Found is a Perth-based creative agency that specialises in strategic brand development for the food and beverage industry.