Packaging: Thinking Outside The Box

April 2nd, 2013 in Design, Packaging Design Packaging

Perhaps only Christmas can rival Easter when it comes to decorating the nation’s living room floors with discarded packaging. Around 90 million eggs are consumed in the UK each year, and that makes for an awful lot of cardboard torn apart by hungry kids – and sometimes greedy adults!

0001364_470-Essential-Easter-Collection

It’s easy to assume at this time of year that packaging doesn’t really matter, and that it’s what’s inside that counts.Whilst of course the quality of the ultimate product is key, packaging attracts all kinds of attention. For instance, just last week the House of Commons saw fit to debate Easter egg boxes, with the MP Andrew Stunnel unveiling facts and figures which suggest confectioners are still producing excess packaging. As you might imagine, the companies are doing their best to burnish their green credentials in response – chocolate giant Nestle, for instance, are keen to emphasise their¬†eco-friendly Easter packaging.

All of this underlines the point that packaging matters. They might seem to your toddler like a pesky hurdle before the main chocolatey event, but the companies which sell those eggs put huge thought into the boxes: from the structure to the materials used, packaging is considered to be an important part of the overall offer. Cost is weighed, of course, but more important is the message sent by the box in question – and the extent to which consumers will appreciate it.

So as I cleaned up some of the wreckage left behind by this year’s Easter feast, I found myself looking at the branding choices made by the designers of the board and foil I was picking up. At Image+, we offer packaging and promotional items services which embed your brand in the daily experience of your customers. Understanding what they expect of your product and its packaging, what that packaging needs to achieve (does it sit on a shelf, or travel across continents?), but also how your brand should influence and even dictate its shape, colours and composition can be key.

The packaging of those Easter eggs might be disposed of quickly (or not – some virtuous souls in the Image+ office eat their eggs slowly, using the box as storage!). But it’s also the first thing anyone sees of the egg and the company which made it. That makes it key at the point of sale, of course, but also afterwards in reinforcing and reminding the consumer about a brand you want them to recall and trust. I blogged last week about branding¬†– packaging is where all that design work arrives in the real world – not just on the floor, but also in people’s lives.