Brands use product and display packaging to generate desire in shoppers and drive sales. In fact, packaging functions as a form of advertising for its associated product: the impact of the colours, design and copy could mean the difference between a shopper purchasing or dismissing the item.
Product packaging also helps to differentiate cheaper brands from the more luxury when similar items are displayed next to each other in supermarkets.
Many products require specific packaging to protect them from:
• Air contamination (e.g. milk is kept fresh in a sealed, air-tight carton)
• Temperature (e.g. hairsprays must be stored at room temperature)
• Movement during transport (e.g. ornaments are secured in foam-lined packaging)
• Light (e.g. fabrics could fade if exposed to excessive light)
Packaging must be adequately protective to ensure that the quality of the product is preserved, that it will not cause harm for the environment and vice versa.
Many products require specific packaging to maintain their shape or position. For example, tins hold fruit cocktails and puddings securely while small electronic components are compartmentalised inside boxes to prevent them from moving around during transport.
Whereas foods such as bananas and carrots are easily identified by shoppers, many other products require packaging to label what they are. Electronic items such as televisions and mobile phones have their varying specifications displayed on their packaging so the consumer can make an informed choice. Plus, different types of meats, juices and yoghurts could not be easily identified if they were not labelled.
Packaging must be built to suit its transport requirements and this is the reason why most products are contained in square or rectangular shaped boxes. These similar shapes can be easily handled by forklifts and and easily stacked within lorries to provide safe and simple transport from manufacture to retail.
6. Stacking and Storage
Product packaging must also be a suitable shape for convenient storage and display within shops. During your next visit to the supermarket, take note of how many products are encased in square or rectangular-shaped shelf-ready packaging with a minimal gap between each box.
Packaging is used to print important consumer information, some of which is often required by law. You’ll often notice some or all of the following information on product packaging:
• Nutritional Values (e.g. salt, fat, calories)
• Best Before Date
• Specifications (e.g. for a television: HD ready, smart TV, 1080px)
• Storage guidelines (e.g. for hairspray: do not store in direct sunlight)
• Trademark information and company contact address
• Instructions for use
• Disposal or recycling guidelines
Daniel Jones is a point of sale packaging designer and print finishing specialist at PH Laminators. A leading UK print finishing company, PH Laminators provide a comprehensive design, manufacture, finish and fulfillment service for businesses across the UK.