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The Anatomy of Great Packaging

Do you remember the first time you opened a brand new iPhone? For those of us who have owned that device, we certainly do. There’s something extremely satisfying to a well-designed piece of packaging. With packaging, it’s all about intention and attention. You want every decision to be on purpose, and you want to consider every detail.

Steve Jobs once said, “Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.” That couldn’t be more true, and he was a person that understood the performance packaging plays in the overall enjoyment of a product. We, too, understand and enjoy that experience. Let’s break down the anatomy of great packaging, and how we achieve it.

Great Packaging is Tactile

Tactility is, quite simply, how something feels in your hands. Our sense of touch tells us many things, many of which are subconscious. Our fingertips can tell us if something feels “high quality” or not, even with our eyes closed. As an example, in a blind test where you handle sheets of newsprint versus heavier, handmade paper, do you think you’d know which one was “better”? We think you would!

Great packaging has to achieve that feeling, whether you opt for heavy stock, high-gloss for your packaging, or maybe a less shiny matte alternative. On the flip side, you could go for something thinner and more elegant. There are many details to the story you tell in your packaging, all of which inform the impression made to consumers. We’re experts in telling the narrative you want to tell and understand how various materials and printing options can tell it.

Great Packaging Pays Attention to the Form

Packaging can be austere and functional, fun and flamboyant, or some combination of both. However, what you want to do is make an intentional choice of how much or how little of each you implement in your packaging. Form and design are like the cover art to a novel; it’s often the first impression for consumers who glance its way.

We work with clients to find the perfect proportion of form and function that suits their product. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is more! We’ll help you find the best solution to emphasize the story you’re telling with your product.

Great Packaging Creates an Experience

Going back to the iPhone, the first time you open that packaging you realize how thoughtful the experience of the unboxing is. Each tab is carefully placed to unfurl, one layer at a time, into a performance akin to origami.

Packaging can be theatre. That’s exactly what Steve Jobs meant when he uttered those words. He understood that, in our hearts, we’re still children on Christmas morning, yearning for the experience of opening our gifts! He tried (and succeeded) to give us a more sophisticated version of that experience. 

We understand the theatre of packaging, and our mission is to make your product stand out as fun to explore and open. The enjoyment of a product doesn’t begin when it’s used; it should start well before it’s opened, and certainly in the opening process!

Great Packaging Conveys Information

Picture, for a moment, the pharmacy aisle of your local supermarket. Something as simple as choosing a new body lotion or shampoo can be a dizzying experience. What, with the myriad of choices all jumping out at you. Today, we have options. Now, more than ever, it’s important to tell consumers why your product stands out from the rest.

Your packaging should convey information at a glance. It should communicate to a consumer what it does, how it does it, and do all of this while insinuating that it’s pretty effective at it. Yet, you don’t want to overwhelm the consumer with information. We love finding that careful balance between information and elegance.

Let’s Work Together

As you can see, there are many considerations when planning and designing packaging. We haven’t even explored things like dimensional constraints, budgets, shipping logistics, and many of the other components that complete the picture. However, we love that stuff. We’re packaging experts, and when you work with us, you’ll feel empowered to explore those “out of the box” solutions for your product without worrying about the details. That’s what we’re here to do. To take further inspiration from Apple, with us it just works.