Skip to main content

For products sold in store and online, packaging design is one of the most important marketing investments that a brand can make.  It is often the primary touchpoint for driving sales and brand loyalty, making it a mecca of marketing opportunities. Decades of experience has taught us more than a few things about packaging design including these takeaways.

Brand Strategy Should Drive Design

Packaging is so much more than a pretty face. It’s literally an extension of an overall brand strategy, market position and differentiators. From key messages and call to action to substrate and finish — here’s your golden opportunity to own brand attributes. This is also the place where cross category and product development plans come into play. Packaging design should cohesively communicate how your brand sees itself both on the shelf today and where else it plans to go.

First Impressions are Everything

Stand 6 feet away then walk past your package, giving it exactly 3 seconds of your attention. That’s how a consumer will experience in store. Online, a quick scroll is your magic moment. Shape, texture, imagery, and copy all have to work together to attract eyeballs. It’s the most important and often the most complicated platform a brand must tackle, and trust us—that first impression will make a lasting impression.

Oh the Storytelling Opportunities

An effective package design tells the whole brand’s story and invokes the right tone in every aspect of design and content. Brand history, values, intention and so much more have their place on the PDP (primary display panel) or elsewhere. This goes double for the online shopping experience! For consumers who get to physically connect with packaging, the ultimate goal is the “cereal box” effect. We want to give shoppers good reason to spend time and engage with every inch of the package. This isn’t to suggest crowding a package with too much information but rather finding the sweet spot of storytelling through the overall design.

Let’s Get Seasonal

As we approach the holidays, so do the return of seasonal packing and flavors that we wait for all year. Over the years we’ve developed award winning seasonal packaging that have proven to show sales lift up to 20%. Yes, you can expect the operations department to push back because yes, it can be costly and add logistical challenges. But these hurdles are inherent to packaging in general and can be overcome with proper planning and management. And the opportunity to drive incremental sales and excitement is so worth it (just ask the big CPG brands).

Don’t Forget Digital

We’ve always believed in the power of QR codes and these days, they’ve become second nature in our purchase behavior. QR codes connected to dedicated landing pages, videos or other content are invaluable opportunities to engage and measure what your consumers are looking for. Finally, metrics that really matter to marketers! If your packaging is sold only online, there are still plenty of ways to extend the “face” of your package with interactive information. Even a simple rollover or GIF can go a long way to elevate the packaging experience.


You can trust the strategic thinkers and creative doers at Harbor Creative Group to ensure your packaging is working as hard as it can to win sales and build loyalty. Bring us your challenge, we’re ready.

Lisa Minardi

Author Lisa Minardi

More posts by Lisa Minardi