The packaging of a food product is all about enticing people – drawing their eye, tempting their taste buds. It’s the ninja of marketing; you might not even notice it when it’s good (because it’s seamless), but when it’s bad you’re sure to spot the problems.
Here at Graphic Evidence, we know what side the bread’s buttered when it comes to food packaging. There’s no substitute for a real conversation – but to give you a flavour of what we do, here are our golden rules for gourmet packaging.
1. Colour within the lines
People are going to eat whatever’s inside that package – you want to whet their appetites, not remind them of their household chores. Most successful food brands stay away from artificial colours, or colours that you don’t often find in food. Colour is hugely influential and definitely should be considered seriously.
2. No Lone Cowboys (or girls)
When did people first meet your brand? If it wasn’t on the shelf, then you need to help them go from that first meeting (be it a print advert, TV spot or online banner) to the real thing.
Keeping visual, linguistic and brand consistency is the best way to do this. Having an image that works across different mediums is also a great way to future-proof – it sets you up for adding to your range. Any design agency worth their salt can create branding that does this, and can help you talk through it if you’re unsure.
3. When to KISS….
Keep It Simple, Stupid. It’s possible to spend a lot (of time and money) producing a beautiful, unique piece of packaging but if it takes too long to reach the food inside, people will get hangry (hungry-angry). Which means they’ll go straight past you next time.
4. …and when to break the rules
“Unique” doesn’t mean every element of your packaging has to be groundbreaking – one tiny twist can make a brand a household name. Depending on your sector and what your competitors are doing, it might be the right time to shake things up – or, the most radical thing might be to stay simple and understated.
5. The Truth Will Out
Be true to your product – don’t make promises on the packaging that it can’t live up to! Authenticity is everything these days, and you’ll quickly be found out if something doesn’t match up.
Also be true (and clear) about what people need or want to know – clearly call out allergens, and signpost where people can go for more information.
6. The Reality Show
There’s no point creating the most innovative packaging known to food if it doesn’t work in real life. Your package might look great against a white wall, but that’s unlikely to be the context when it’s on a supermarket shelf.
It doesn’t stop once you’ve got that purchase, either – unless your brand is deliberately cryptic, it should be obvious how to get inside.
7. Love The Planet, Help Others To
What happens to your packaging once it’s no longer needed? There’s a wealth of recyclable materials available, and lots of ways to keep an environmental impact to a minimum if you don’t have a recyclable option.
This isn’t just something to consider for brands with an “ethical” or “natural” image – it’s a concern for most consumers these days (especially for perishable products like food), and will only ever be a bonus.
Restrictions are opportunities for people like us. Sometimes the most rigorous briefs have the most innovative results because they narrow our creative focus to one or two elements, which is all you need to stand out on the shelf!
If you want to chat to one of the Graphic Evidence team about a project get in touch or alternatively click here to find out more about our food packaging design services.