Pack Design

5 common pack design mistakes and how to avoid them

With increasing competition and more expectations from consumers, brand packaging effective in retail design can make or break a brand. Nowadays it’s not enough to have a recognised name and a good product to stand out: pack design weighs in more than ever, especially in a growing but demanding beverage segment. Of course, packaging design agencies have picked up on this trend and offered creative packaging to make bottles and cans as mouth-watering as their contents. However, here at SiebertHead we’ve identified 5 common beverage pack design mistakes made that may be costing marketers money, and we offer tips on how to avoid them.

Omitting a selling point in pack design

Of course, beverage pack designs have to cover some basics, such as the logo, brand name, artwork or other elements required on FMCG packaging. Most current pack designs contain more than information only, and make the most out of selling and promotional opportunities on bottles, cans and boxes. However, many of the designs miss a clear ‘call to action’ speaking directly to the consumer. Moreover, most creative packaging information from the main label is just repeated on the neck, which isn’t only a waste of a selling opportunity, but also a tedious redundancy. Pack design, both through the use of artwork and copywriting, should call for action and make a strong, direct selling point. In most cases, it’s enough to add a strong, clearly visible call-to-action message.

Failing to innovate in packaging shape and opening

Launching a new bottle shape is no mean feat. Such projects covering pack structural design are costly and long. Marketers often struggle to cope with their own internal processes, for example by changing the project scope mid-way, disregarding filling lines in factories, and similar. Sometimes they’re unprepared to even kick off a structural pack design project. Very often such projects are managed by a single brand manager from the brand marketing department. However, playing with the packaging shapes, colours, and materials often results in attractive brand packaging design which catches consumers’ attention, leading to better results for marketers. Similarly, a clever opening can equally reinforce the message, for example by using colour or copy printed under the cap. A clever shape that stands out and continues to engage after the cap is lifted will add to any packaging. In order to ensure that such projects are successful, structural pack design projects should be managed by a cross-departmental team with support from structural design experts from packaging design agencies. Marketers, while selecting the agency to work with, should ensure that the agency is competent and experienced in structural design, including expertise in working with PET plastic and glass. This will ensure that any creative work from the first creative concepts can actually lead to launching a new bottle shape. Plus, only an integrated design approach which incorporates structural design with label design can lead to an effective competitive advantage.  

Including too much text on packaging

While it may be tempting to include as much information as possible on FMCG packaging, beverage pack designs aren’t best suited for excessive amounts of text. Only part of the label is clearly visible, and its surface competes for attention with many other, very similar shapes in the category. Modern consumers already suffer from information overload, and many of them feel attracted to minimalist, understated solutions. Marketers and packaging design agencies should leverage this trend and avoid including too much text on packaging, be it in the form of creative copy, slogans, lists of ingredients or descriptions. Less on the label is more.

Forgetting about secondary packaging

Pack design successful in any retail design extends far beyond just the bottle. One of the most serious mistakes often made by packaging design agencies is forgetting about the power of secondary packaging. In fact, secondary packaging provides six very big areas that should definitely be used as advertising space. Well-designed and effective secondary packaging can even replace all point-of-sales materials, leading to lower costs. FMCG secondary packaging isn’t there just to protect the product and its primary packaging, but it also plays a vital role in attracting consumers. Good secondary packaging allows for the on-shelf blocking effect and create a stronger on-shelf standout effect in comparison to products in primary packaging. Moreover, shelf-ready secondary packaging makes it quicker and easier for shop staff to re-stock shelves. In the case of beverages, secondary packaging can further reinforce the brand message. It’s crucial to consider not only the actual packaging design, but also the materials it’s made of. Successful secondary packaging doesn’t compete with primary packaging, but creates stronger brand recognition.

Not seeing beyond the product packaging

Beverages, even more than food, have a role that goes far beyond just consumption. Be it coffee, a soft drink, beer, alcoholic drink, or juice, consumers’ choices correspond to their values and preferences which form their day-to-day. Consumer research on the majority of markets worldwide confirms that consumers interact with beverage packaging during social occasions more than with any other packs.

Packaging design agencies often forget about it and come up with creative packaging that’s limited to the product and doesn’t go beyond the shop shelf. Only an integrated approach to beverage pack designs can result in creating a global universe in which consumers play a role, and that’s aligned with their lifestyles, settings, and wider choices. Both on-bottle and on-label intriguing but short storytelling is more influential than even the website.

Most of the mistakes in beverage pack designs we’ve discussed here are down to a single-sided view of brand packaging design. Focusing only on the packaging can lead to unsatisfactory revenue. Keeping these 5 common mistakes in mind, marketers can go beyond the traditional beverage pack designs and surpass not only the competition, but also consumer expectations. Here at SiebertHead, we know even more about brand packaging design coherent with retail design and we’d be delighted to share our insights with you.