The role of a book cover and the product design label is quite the same. While you should not judge a book by its cover, an interesting and intriguing cover will grab your attention. Labels are even more crucial for products. Food, beverages, cosmetics, or pharmaceutical products heavily rely on the product label for ensuring public safety. Design elements are often highly regulated by the regional government. Despite the restrictions, these labels also must be unique and relatable enough to attract the consumer.
Redesigning an existing label can be just as challenging as creating a new label. Often redesigns fail miserably because the consumer can no longer relate to the product. Tropicana is one such example.
However, redesigning can also save brands from the brink of bankruptcy – such as RxBar.
Let’s look at 3 key reasons why brands redesign their products.
A shift in marketing strategy
A while back in 2018, Dunkin shifted their name from “Dunkin Donuts” as the company tried to move away from just offering donuts. The rebranding was not a simple logo change, but a shift in their entire marketing strategy as the brand started offering more menu items. 34% of the consumers noticed the name change and 32% noticed the new logo. The brand kept its original color scheme and typography ensuring that it is still the brand customers know and trust. Such changes can be tricky as the brand can often lose old customers if they introduce drastic changes.
In most cases, packaging redesign takes place as a part of a regular branding refresh. To stay competitive, brands need to change, while staying true to their roots. McDonald's recently changed their product packaging to reflect the true nature of the food. While the bright yellow “M” logo stayed the same, they introduced more colors to describe the food items in the packaging.
Another reason why packaging refreshes take place is because of company-wide changes such as a merger or acquisition. Companies can even change their name or logo as they change their operations. In 2015, food giants Kraft and Heinz merged to create the third-largest food brand globally, giving rise to a new logo and packaging design.
Another notable example would be the merger of the two telecom services – Vodafone and Idea into Vi. The brands created new logos and packaging for all their products and collateral.
How to redesign your packaging label effectively
There are multiple reasons why your product may need a redesign. Depending on the reason, the redesign can be an easy task, or it may mean redoing the packaging label from scratch. Key challenges in packaging label redesign include:
- Managing multiple projects together.
- Defining multiple workflows, and onboarding internal and external stakeholders to every project.
- Organizing old and new design assets.
- Ensuring regulatory compliance across all projects.
- Keeping the designs error-free.
No matter what the situation is, here is a list of tips that can help you create the redesign efficiently.
1. Know why the redesign is taking place
The reason for the redesign of the packaging label will define the workflow you will choose for the project. You can use a project management platform, or better yet, an artwork management platform to oversee this development process. Depending on the degree of changes, you may have to define a project from scratch, or you can re-use the workflow of an old project if it’s a minor change.
You need to have a clear understanding of the following:
- Who are the stakeholders and what roles do they play?
- Who will have access to which part of the project? These include assets and collaterals with sensitive information.
- Who needs to complete which task, and by when?
Once you have this information, you can chalk out a plan for how the packaging label redesign will progress.
2. Stay true to the company values
When creating a redesign, it is always recommended that one does not stray away from the company values. A great example is the redesign of the protein bar packaging – RxBar. The brand's core values were to offer good quality protein bars, but their old design was not communicating its "No B.S." message clearly enough. The new design is a radical change that brings out the fundamental values of the company. The new design is also clean, transparent, and minimal.
RxBar’s old redesign was made in Powerpoint. However, the new change needed branding and design experts to pitch in. Such drastic changes often need multiple collaborators, including QA and legal teams. With multiple SKUs, such projects can become quite tedious to manage. Bringing everyone together and working on the same packaging label design becomes easier with Artwork Management platforms and Label Management software.
3. Ensure familiarity
A lot of communication between the brand and the customers takes place through the visual medium. This sense of familiarity often comes from the logos, the colors, and the typography used in the design. Dunkin' here is a good example of that. However, communicating color and typefaces can become difficult without the right tools.
Designers often use Pantone, CMYK, or HTML color codes to communicate colors and internal review teams may not be familiar with them. Also, understanding what fonts have been used in a design file can be challenging with the right tools. Using artwork management tools such as Artwork Flow, you can ensure that your new designs stay familiar with the help of color extractor and font finder tools.
4. Use a centralized asset storage
Redesigning a packaging label means using both old and new design assets. If you haven’t used an artwork management solution before then you will probably have to sift through email threads to find old design files. Your cloud storage could also be filled with both personal and work files. To avoid such a mess, you can make use of the storage that comes with artwork management platforms.
A key feature of this storage is that it automatically organizes your files based on the project they are in. You can assign role-based access to these files. Furthermore, with version control, you can be sure that no file is mistakenly overwritten or deleted.
5. Define timelines, onboard stakeholders
Once you have listed the people and the assets needed for the project, creating a project can be done in a few simple clicks. The entire process can be done in two steps:
- Create the project: In this space, you will upload all the artwork, or onboard the external agency to upload the files, add details such as the names, deadlines, and project type, and create a project.
- Define the workflow: You can onboard stakeholders and assign them lists of things to do. In Artwork Flow, you can make use of predefined lists and assign deadlines. You can even save the workflow for use in the future.
Defining a clear workflow allows stakeholders to have a clear view of what to do and by when. This ensures that you can launch the product on time.
6. Ensure compliance
Meeting regulatory compliance is one of the key challenges of designing a label. To ensure compliance, you need a complete checklist of regulations you need to adhere to and the tools to verify the correctness of the design on time.
You can create lists for each project type and save them to reuse. For example, for food packaging designs, the elements that are regulated include the information panel, the vegetarian/non-vegetarian logo, the calorie count, the nutritional values, and more. You can make lists of each element and what to check (the color or the font size) and save them as lists.
When you define tasks for stakeholders, you can share these lists directly and give them a due date.
7. Keep track of the changes made
With version control and PDF compare tools, one can check if feedback is incorporated into the design. Often feedback for regulatory compliance includes minor changes such as increasing the size by a few millimeters. It is hard to understand visually if that change has been incorporated or not.
But by using the PDF compare tool, reviewers can easily check for these changes. Furthermore, with version control, you have a complete understanding of the changes made to a design file over time.
8. Double-check for errors
Artwork management platforms provide you with all the tools needed for collaborative proofing of design files. These include:
- Color extractor: See if the right colors have been used or not by verifying their Pantone of CMYK color codes.
- Font Finder: Extracts fonts from design files and shows the typeface names.
- PDF compare: Compares two PDF files side-by-side and highlights the changes in the files.
- Online Measurement Scale: Measures the size of the elements on the soft copy of the design files.
- Spell Checker: Look for typos and translation errors in the design files.
- Visualize layers: See the different layers of the artwork files.
Reviews get checklists and deadlines. They can then use these tools to check the elements mentioned in the checklist and provide comprehensive feedback to the design team.
9. Visualize prototypes
Building prototypes can be expensive. To see how the design die line looks on a 3D packaging, you can simply upload the design file on the artwork management platform and see how the design looks when printed. This not only saves you money but also saves a lot of time.
10. Double down on bottlenecks
Managers can use the dashboard to view the progress of the project. The dashboard gives critical information regarding where a project is. It can also show if a project may get delayed or has missed a deadline. This allows managers to proactively address bottlenecks, ensuring that the launch day is not missed.
11. Manage multiple projects
Packaging label redesign involves multiple projects running in parallel. Most brands have multiple product lineups, and the packaging needs to be updated together. With a Workflow management software & a brand asset management software like artwork flow, meeting compliance and sticking to timelines with zero errors becomes much easier.