Specialty vs. Mass Market Package Design Part II

We’ve learned the difference between specialty and mass market packaging in Part I. Now let’s read more from Matt Nuccio on how to avoid these common mistakes when designing packaging.

1) Monochromatic layouts:

Far to often, when I’m speaking on packaging at trade shows, I have startup companies with great products come to me completely confused on why they have such poor sales. Many times they have some very thought-out, esthetically pleasing monochromatic packaging. My first questions is “from what design discipline does your designer come from?” The answer is almost always some sort of print or web design discipline. The potential problem with that is that unlike print and web design, consumers picking up your package at retail locations are not a captured audience. By making your packaging monochromatic you are basically making your product camouflage itself on shelf. You need to make sure the right elements pop off the package. Using 10 shades of the same blue won’t easily achieve this effect.

2) Poorly-spaced type:

All too often I meet designers who think that just making a typeface large and bold constitutes a logo …and while I will confess that on occasion it can work, nothing drives me crazier then a designer who doesn’t know how to properly space letters beside each other. There needs to be a spacial relationship that will balance it out. This is a Design Edge staple. We imagine a small ball that needs to travel within the negative space between the letters and in a channel that is a perfect size for that ball. It is the designers job to make sure that ball can travel perfectly between the letters without getting stuck or having too much space on either side.

3) Overly attractive layouts that tell no story

I see this a lot when designers over-aim for the specialty market. They make gorgeous layouts that don’t tell you diddly-squat about the product. For the designer, it can be a proud centerpiece for their portfolio. But to the manufacturer, it can be a disaster in dead inventory. It all goes back to the points I stated earlier, that these packages are basically really attractive people with no brains. If you’re having a hard time conveying a message on the package, have limited real-estate or maybe production requirements, then I suggest you roll with the Steve Buscemi approach to packaging. You know the odd looking guy who looks like the gangster-version of Don Knots. You may know him from HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”, “The Sopranos” or Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs”. Anyway, he is so ugly in a unique way that he is attractive. Don’t get so hung up making your package sexy, make it “Buscemi”, the odd-looking package that stands out in a store full of sexy packages.

We hope this has been helpful and you are ready to get designing (and shopping)!

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