Inspirational packaging design ideas for your small business
Getting the right look for your product is a key part of creating a brand and building a successful business. Of course, you can win people over with words as well, but the first step to making a sale is getting someone’s attention.
And the best way to do that is with your packaging. After all, it’s the first thing a potential customer sees, whether it’s on the shelf in a retail store, online or wherever it is you’re marketing your product. No matter how simple or complicated you want – or can afford – it to be, some kind of printed and branded packaging is the perfect finishing touch.
Major brands can spend a lot of time and a huge amount of resources developing their packaging. As a small business, you probably don’t have that luxury, but don’t think that means you can’t end up with something that looks just as good, if not better.
Whether you’re going to be coming up with the concept and doing the design yourself, or hiring someone else to do it all for you, the first thing you need to do is have some kind of idea what it is you’re aiming for. Otherwise, the chances are you’ll either spend hour after hour staring at a blank screen, or be presented with proof after proof your designer likes, but you don’t.
There are two main things you need to think about: what you want your packaging to do, and how you want it to look.
The best way to get started is to find out what else is out there; see what you like – and then think about why you like it. Look at the colours and fonts, the amount of space there is – do you prefer a clean or a busy design? How do the elements work together – do you feel drawn towards a modern look or something more traditional?
Now, of course, you could wander up and down a supermarket aisle to do that, but that would take a lot of time and may not deliver much in the way of inspiration. Thankfully, others have done the hard work for you, and delivered up a few examples you can start with.
Where to look
One great place to start your search is on Pinterest. If you don’t know it, it’s a social media site dedicated to images, and there’s probably no better place to seek inspiration. You’ll have to sign up to get the best use, but you should find it more than worth the effort.
Just use ‘packaging design’ (or add variants like ‘modern’ ‘innovative’, etc) as a search term and scroll through the results. Then create your own board, where you can save – ‘or ‘pin’ – the ones you like to come back to later.
Here is a choice of five of the very best pins to get you started – just click on the subheading to see the packaging in question:
Wild & Wolf’s Gentleman’s Hardware Collection
The old-fashioned styling and lettering on this packaging, combined with the individual number and saying or proverb for each item in the range, screams out that this is perfect territory for gift items and stocking fillers for fathers, grandfathers and husbands. If you’re scrabbling around looking for ideas for birthdays and Christmas, this is just the sort of thing that will catch your eye and make you want to explore further.
Rapha Performance Footwear
These shoe boxes show what can be done by combining some clever box design with some classically simple yet stylish branding. Once you’ve got past the minimalist yet classy outside, the box opens – and opens up again! – to reveal an intricate fold that as well as looking cool, does the practical and essential task of holding the contents safely in place.
A selection of creatively printed bags
Printed carrier bags are one of the most commonly seen varieties of branded packaging, and why not? It’s a great way of making sure your shop name and logo are seen by more people every time you make a sale. But you don’t have to feel limited by the ‘logo on the side of the bag’ approach, as this selection of cleverly, wittily and creatively designed bags proves.
Guaranteed to make sure your customers remember buying from you, not least for the interest and attention they’re bound to draw from others. From a great range, the one with the skipping ropes stands out, for the ingenious way it manages to involve the handles in the concept, in both the down and up positions.
On the other hand, the one with the gun, while very clever, may not be advisable in certain urban areas!
Like the shoe boxes, the outside of this packaging is relatively plain but intriguing, giving only slight indication of the delights to be discovered within. Once the lid has been lifted, however, you’re in another world, where the strikingly coloured inner grabs your eye, before leading it inexorably down to the cupcakes, as much a temptation to the eye as to the stomach. Incidentally, you can’t see it in the picture, but each cupcake has its own little hole to sit in, holding it safe and secure while being ferried home.
Meat & Bread
Sometimes less can mean more, and there’s no missing or mistaking what’s in these bags, jars and bottles, which are very plainly designed yet still eye-catching and enticing in equal measure. In a world where modern cuisine speaks in a language far removed from the lives and kitchens of most people, the design for this range takes the same delicatessen style ingredients and plonks them back in to the real world.