Image credit to Friendsoftype

Packaging Design and Emotion

Necessity is what drives people into making certain purchases, and a price point helps to decide between brands. But in a world of pricing competition, the difference in cost between brands is increasingly small.

The great decider, ultimately, is emotion. An emotional response, triggered by a particular brand, is what a consumer is going to remember – and a positive emotional response, engenders brand loyalty.

Packaging is very often the first point of contact that a consumer has with a product or brand – If emotion drives the decision process of purchasing from brand A or B, it follows that emotion should be guiding packaging trends.

Emotional states

It is theorised that there are eight main human emotions;

  • Joy
  • Trust
  • Anticipation
  • Surprise
  • Disgust
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Sadness

How can brands connect with the more positive of these emotions in order to drive sales?

1. Joy

Nostalgic Packaging Design for Pasta Sauce.

A brand focusing on the lighter, happier side of life would undoubtedly have an easier time of instilling joy into their product packaging than, say, a company selling bug spray.

The Via Roma packaging is an excellent example when we talk about emotions and packaging. Via Roma brings back nostalgia with black and white photography, traditional heraldry and strong, simple typography. The neutral palate against the rich colours of the sauce allows the images to speak volumes. The packaging shows the true character of this authentic italian brand.

Making the connection between colour and a positive emotional response, such as joy, can also be important. A consumer only has seconds to make a decision when in the aisle of a supermarket, and colour is far and away the best way to stand out and be noticed and can go a long way to making a consumer feel comfortable about that brand and particular product.

2. Trust

Recyclable and Eco-friendly Packaging Design

In difficult economic times, such as we currently find ourselves, it is more important than ever for manufacturers to give the consumer a solid reason to trust in their brands, over the alternatives on offer.

Product packaging is a relatively cheap (when compared with advertising and other marketing strategies) way to build trust and relationships with the consumer.

If a brand product is genuinely environmentally friendly, the packaging design agency should incorporate this into the final design as with the above example designed by Brandimage. As long as fears and concerns for the well being of our environment are around, this kind of tactic (if genuine) is always going to help build trust.

3. Anticipation

Unique Packaging Design

Effective packaging can help to build a sense of anticipation and excitement, around the unpacking experience.

Consumer statements such as “I always look forward to what’s inside; what will I find when I open the pack? or “It’s finally mine and I can go ahead and open it!” help to explain why product value is enhanced by the right packaging.

Again, colours play a major role here as does the material chosen by the packaging design agency. Touch is a very up front and personal thing, and tactile packaging can take advantage of that in a very positive way indeed.

4. Surprise

Packaging Designs Which Add an Element of Surprise.

Surprises. Everybody loves them, whether they say they do or not – it’s a universal truth.

Using the element of surprise in order to leverage customer retention is a relatively new idea, and more tactile presentations are ones that packaging designers are beginning to utilise more and more.

From a simple thank you message on the underside of a lid (only visible once the pack is opened), to more elaborate designs like a concertina pack that displays a pleasing image once opened.

Packaging Design by Yui Studio

In conlusion

Ultimately product packaging should be easy on the eye – that is to say, it should be visually pleasing. For example, you could choose to use bright colours to make the package stand out, but this might also evoke strong reactions if it is too provocative so to speak. Bright pink is one example that is not applicable on just any product package. Another mistake could also be to “over crowd” the packaging and add too much info, design features etc. Apple is always used as an example of great packaging, mainly because of its clean, minimalistic look.

Luxurious packaging can be used to give people the impression that they are buying a highly exclusive product. These type of packages are almost fashionable to be seen with, think Selfridge’s bags, and even to be saved at home – almost as a purchase souvenir.

At home, the box of an Apple product may be ‘accidentally left out’ when visitors call, to show that an Apple product is owned – even if said product is not visible.  You might be able to think of more of these fashion statement examples. On the other hand, unsightly packaging or cheap looking packaging can be a mistake, but this is not always the case. Cheaper, own brand, products on the lowest shelf in the supermarket usually have a very distinctive, plain look about them. But this adds to the image and price expectations we have with this type of product. It should look plain.

This sounds counterintuitive, excessively so even, but think about it for a moment. If you had occasion to look for the supermarket own brand product, you automatically look for the packaging that looks the cheapest to produce. Low cost looking packaging has always been associated with low cost product, and sometimes that is exactly what the consumer is looking for.

In these instances, the consumer will invariably ignore the ‘prettier’ package designs in favour for the plainer – looking for that bargain. Certainly something worth keeping in mind. This is not say, however, that you should just slap a white sticker on a silver can with ‘beans’ scrawled on it in magic marker.

The aim in this circumstance is to convey the idea of a low cost, quality product and not low cost, poor quality.

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