Well, I’ve finally returned from my unofficial sabbatical…and am thrilled to be blogging again. Although I took a break from writing, I can assure you I did not take a break from working.
It goes without saying that the process of developing a product for a crowded marketplace is multi-layered and complex. But the creative process for developing the packaging of a product can be just as complicated
And that’s where I’ve been the last few months…deeply embedded in the packaging process. As with all developmental and creative processes, we began with meetings to discuss what we wanted from our packaging besides the obvious, selling the product.
This prompted me to think a lot about how packaging impacted me as a consumer. Typically, I walk into a store with no expectations. I take a step back, scanning the shelves and waiting for something to jump out at me. It’s as if I’m saying, “I’m here now. Impress me with something.”
What is the “something” I want?
I want a package to make me feel something meaningful. I want to feel inspired. I want to feel happy. I want to laugh. I want to be amazed. I want that package to stand up and make me smile, to compel me to pick it up and hear the promises it makes to me about what I can find inside.
Ultimately, I want that package to make me feel that I can’t leave the store without taking it with me. And once I get it home and remove what’s inside, I often treat the packaging as a product itself .
In fact, I’ve been known to save beautiful packaging and boxes for weeks or months, claiming, “Just in case. I might need it again some day. Really, I might.” The truth is that I just can’t bring myself to throw away something so beautiful, something that inspires a connection to emotions.
Personally, these are some of the things that appeal to me when it comes to packaging:
Texture: I do love to see a package that makes me want to touch it. It can be the actual texture of the paper or material. It can also be a design that gives the illusion of being three dimensional, prompting me to want to touch it to confirm that it’s flat. Our limited edition sculpture-inspired headphone packaging is literally molded into headphones and begs to be touched. That’s the appeal.
- Conceptual/literal: This is what I would call “clever” concepts. Arthur Schreiber’s design for Samurai vodka would fit into this category. It’s brilliant in that it presents a literal interpretation of the actual company name and, at the same time, embodies the entire concept of a samurai. I’ll not only remember the packaging after I walk away, but I’ll remember the name of the company and the concept behind the name. Henrik Persson’s packaging for a limited edition book about New York City is also a great example of this. This type of packaging might be my favorite. It doesn’t just make me feel something. It also makes me think.
- Shape: An unexpected shape in a world of square boxes is another type of packaging that appeals to me. Kleenex did a great job with their summer series called “Perfect Slice of Summer.” The thing I find most appealing is that it is also conceptually relevant, reflecting tones of summer and evoking an emotional reaction about the season. Brilliant.
- Subtlety: Granted, I’m a minimalist at heart anyway. But sometimes the shelves are glutted with so many items screaming, “Look at me! Look at me!” that they all begin to look the same. And that’s when the one package that stands regal, demurely looking back at me without too much effort…that’s the one I can’t resist.
What kind of packaging speaks to you?