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Successful package design is a choice

Of the thousands of new products introduced by consumer packaged goods companies every year, most fail.

Of the thousands of new products introduced by consumer packaged goods companies every year, most fail. Brand managers and product development teams increasingly are spending more time and resources conducting market research and consumer-insight sessions to ensure the products they bring to market have the necessary attributes and benefits that result in a positive consumer experience. However, these product launches have timelines that have been shortened, and they focus primarily on pricing, marketing communication, strategy, and promotional activities. Too often, little or no attention is given to the role that packaging plays in a product’s success or failure.

One of the worst fates a package can suffer is to be rushed. Early engagement with your packaging manufacturer in the product development process can positively affect the package design and significantly increase the chances for product success. Nothing thrills me more than seeing a well-designed package sitting on shelf at retail. Conversely, when I see packages that do not meet performance expectations, or have product migration into the package or other structural deficiencies that could have been avoided, I am disappointed in the design.

With proper planning, all package performance, communication, merchandising, and brand objectives can be met. For example, a value package that may be sold in a three-pack would have more economy of space if nesting and placement were considered prior to the completion of product development. Another example could be identifying either each user interaction with a product, or the different consumer interactions with the package, that reveal the product in a logical or sequential manner. Marketers refer to each consumer interaction with the product and package as a “touch point.”

The best package design not only complements and protects the product it contains, but also performs the necessary transportation and retail objectives for a product. Great package design can truly influence a shopper’s purchase decision at the point-of-sale. The package design is as much a part of the brand promise as the product itself. Shape, size, color, category position and exploration, and material use all factor into a good package design. When done properly, they collectively help convey the brand attributes. With emerging technologies and packaging re-usability incentives, it is important to keep an open mind through the package-development process.

Secondary considerations to the package design are the merchandising systems, sealing or packaging operation processes, and any retail requirements a package many have. Too often, the package design is missing one or more of the functional requirements, and that omission leads to a lackluster experience for the consumer or a disappointing performance for the brand owner or retailer.

Having a packaging professional and solutions provider who has a clear understanding of the category, channel of distribution, competitive landscape, and brand endeavors increases your potential for a successful package. Innovative and clever solutions abound, and when all packaging functions and the environment are considered simultaneously with product development, packaging has the potential to influence the direction of a consumer and all stakeholders involved.

With early involvement, enough thought, and careful planning, your perfect package awaits.  

About the Author: Peter Zeiss is a Certified Packaging Professional and senior package designer at Transparent Container Co. Inc. Contact him at For more information about IoPP, visit

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