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October 18, 2022
February 2, 2024

Packaging Psychology: How Top Brands do it and What You Can Learn From Them

Mrignayni Pandey

Packaging Psychology: How Top Brands do it and What You Can Learn From Them

October 18, 2022
February 2, 2024
Mrignayni Pandey


Making packaging attractive isn’t the only factor influencing your customer’s purchasing decisions. To gain a competitive advantage and get more people to buy your product, you’ll have to use psychology-based design tips to create your product packaging. 

In this article, we’ve laid out five such tips and shown how top brands use them to inspire your packaging design strategy.

Use packaging color to your advantage

Packaging color is one of the most important aspects of product packaging, especially in the food and beverage industry. Here’s why: 

  • It conveys relevant information about the properties of the content inside, like the flavor of the food or beverage, which influences the consumer’s purchase decision.  

    For instance, the product packaging colors of fruit-flavored candies or beverages always correspond to the color of the fruit the flavor is derived from.

  • Research has shown that packaging color influences the consumer’s perception of taste. Product packaging with vibrant colors are perceived to have a more intense flavor, while packages with milder colors are perceived to have milder flavors.

    For instance, take a look at Nissin’s noodles. The primary colors — black, red, and orange — tell consumers that the dish is going to be spicy. 
Image source: LBB

Compare this with Samyang’s seafood noodles. The packaging is blue to create an association with the sea and the freshness of the ingredients.

Image source: LBB
  • Colors have cultural implications. When researchers tried to determine the best colors for a range of novel flavors of chips, they found that participants from different countries associated different colors with different flavors.

    For instance, orange is perceived as sour by Malaysians, while a majority of Americans and Indians perceive it to be sweet.
  • Sometimes, packaging colors create associations with a specific brand. Think Coca-Cola’s red, Cadbury’s purple, and Barilla’s blue.  That’s why well-established brands don’t change the color of their packaging without careful consideration. 

In short, you’ve got to consider the relationship between a product’s taste and color in  a particular region to choose a color that creates a positive association with your brand.

Leverage packaging shape 

The packaging shape influences purchase decisions as consumers tend to associate it with a specific product or brand.  

For example, one would associate a soft contoured soft-drink bottle with Coca-Cola and a cylindrical container with ice cream. This is called creating an “image mold”

Covent Garden, a soup manufacturer in the UK, leveraged the image mold technique to switch their packaging from conventional soup tins to the Tetra Pak format. 

Since UK consumers formerly associated this packaging type with milk, consumers got the feeling that their soups were fresh. 

Image Source: The Dieline

While this was a resounding success for Covent Garden, other players like Olia weren’t as fortunate as they took the image mold too far. 

Since Olia is a high-end olive oil brand, they thought they could make their containers look like luxury perfume bottles to create the perception of luxury. 

Although the association to luxury was made, it didn’t work in their favor because perfumes aren’t meant to be ingested.

Image source: The Branding Journal

This goes to show that image molds may also carry unfavorable connotations that will negatively influence purchase decisions. 

So, if you don’t want to go all out with image molds, add slight modifications to your containers. 

For example, if you’re selling yogurt, you can modify the roundness of your label/logo/container to test how they impact the taste as research shows that consumers associate rounder yogurt containers with creamier contents. 

Create heavier packaging

Products presented in heavier packaging are more likely to be perceived as having a more intense smell, better taste, and quality. Therefore, customers are willing to pay more for it. 

However, it’s not always possible to create heavy packaging due to cost constraints. In such cases, you must experiment with different materials and shapes to arrive at the best packaging design. 

For example, check out Natuterra’s milk cartons. They’re shaped like bottles and use a high-quality packaging material to create the perception that the container holds more milk. 

Image source: 99 Designs

Incorporate textures into your packaging

Textures are an important yet underexplored aspect of product packaging as they affect how customers perceive the contents inside. 

For instance, embossed finishes create the perception of a high-end product, while rough finishes create the perception of a low-quality product. 

It also acts as a marketing tool and encourages the customer to pick up the product off the shelf. 

One of the best examples of brands that use texture as a marketing tool is Heineken. It uses tactile ink to create the illusion of condensation on its surface, so consumers will be encouraged to pick it up. 

Image source: Packaging Of The World

Here are a few types of textures you can use in your packaging to get more customers to buy from you. 

  • Recycled/Ruff finish texture: Famous perfume brand Carta, uses this type of texture to create a natural feel and represent the various regions the perfume takes inspiration from. 
Image Source: The Dieline
  • Emboss/deboss: Embossing refers to raising graphics above the surface, while debossing refers to the process of sinking graphics below the surface. Both textures can be used along with foil stamps to create an illusion of luxury.
    For example, this Compass Box limited edition whisky uses embossed visuals to convey a sense of exclusivity right off the bat. 
Image source: The Dieline 
  • Matte finish: These are becoming a popular choice because their soft texture and minimalism help brands stand out.
    For example, this Oceanista box with beach essentials has a matte finish to create a resemblance to the texture of the beach. 
Image source: Oceanista

Add auditory cues to your packaging design

According to sensory marketing expert Prof. Charles Spence of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University, using auditory cues with food packaging can enhance the user’s taste experience by as much as 20%.

It can also play an important role in capturing the customer’s attention and is used to distinguish your brand from others in the market. 

For example, an image of opening a Coca-Cola bottle automatically creates a “pop” sound in your head due to synesthesia, the crossing of two senses — sight and sound in the brain.

Image source: Twitter

Even consumer electronics brands like Apple make auditory cues a huge part of their unboxing experience. Their designers create luxurious packaging with just the right amount of air gaps to create the friction needed to hear a “whoosh” sound before opening the box. 

Image source: The Economist

To jump on this bandwagon and create a product that stands out from your competitors, create auditory cues that are both distinctive and functional. 

For example, if you’re a snacks brand, you can design your packaging to create a gentle sound when agitated in the shopper’s hands. 

The tool to help you nail your product packaging design: Artwork Flow

Creating effective packaging design involves a lot of steps and cross-collaboration between multiple teams. That means there’s room for confusion and communication issues which eventually lead to product launch delays. 

To prevent this from happening and launch your products on time, you must invest in a creative collaboration software like Artwork Flow, as it has the following features:

  • Online proofing tools: Catch labeling errors like spelling mistakes, color, and font inconsistencies, which you might otherwise miss.
  • Annotation: Gather feedback from all teams in a single place to reduce your revision cycles. 
  • Workflows: Inject accountability and get an overview of what everyone is working on. 
  • Checklists: Make sure your team completes all the steps in a task before moving it to review. 
  • Digital asset management library: Keep an account of all the changes made to creatives and restore any version in a jiffy. 

Wrapping up

Creating an eye-catching packaging design isn’t limited to creating aesthetically pleasing packaging. 

You should also understand packaging psychology and how it influences consumers’ purchase decisions to create effective packaging. 

However, this isn’t easy as creating a print-ready label involves having to maintain clear communication with multiple teams. 

This is where Artwork Flow comes in. It’s a workflow automation software & a brand asset management software that helps teams communicate seamlessly with each other and launch their product on time by reducing the number of revision cycles. 

If you’d like to see how Artwork Flow can help your organization in creating and approving product packaging quickly, contact us for a free demo.

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