Some Rules Are Not Meant To Be Broken

When we meet someone new, their face is a quick giveaway of who we think they are. If they have a loud, forceful voice and an impressive stance, one might think they are aggressive and quite dynamic. If they have small delicate features, a soft spoken tone and a slight build, we might assume they are gentler, maybe someone that can be pushed around. Thus, a book is indeed judged by its cover. So it is for packaging. The face of a brand is everything and carries its fortune. It is the first point of contact and the basis for recognition and perception. Its power is immense.  And not everyone gets their packaging right.

Packaging is used to reflect personality. However some packaging works very well and some products once launched at shelf are missed entirely. What governs the right kind of package? Are there any rules we could instill, that would ensure a successful, winning formula?

1.    Focus:
Know your brand. Create a core DNA for it and live it. A good packaging design will be reflective of a defined brand promise. You can own the idea of energy or freshness or soothing capabilities. But not all three. More than one communication base is a crowd. Dove owns moisture. Their brand oozes this across product categories. Firstly, it owns white at shelf. When you see white packaging you think of Dove. Something that was built out of the promise of ¼ moisture content in their soaps; now exists in deodorants, shampoos, body washes and body lotions. A defined sense of self ensures that their product is differentiated at shelf, is relevant – speaking to a core consumer and is able to meet their emotional and functional needs.

2.    Foundation before color:
Great packaging is defined by structure, first. Many brands do not pay heed to this in their overall package design. When Parachute launched its Advanced Body Lotion it did so in the silhouette of a woman’s body. Its shape very clearly speaks to the Indian woman- she is curvy, she is feminine and she is not “the entire family”. With its customized shape – it makes her feel special. The graphics are very simple for this offering – the design language and massaging need very little support to communicate what the shape does, so effectively.