Questions To Ask Yourself When Designing CPG Packaging

Melissa Traverse

Designing food and beverage packaging is definitely an art. However, there are some things that are critical to think through prior to engaging a creative resource.

Define Your Customer

Spend way more time than you think defining your customer. If you’re not sure how to do that, here’s a customer persona template. You need to understand what makes them tick. Once you do that, capturing their attention becomes much easier. 

Ask yourself

  • Who are they? 
  • Who/what are they influenced by? 
  • What are their goals? 

Survey The Competitive Landscape 

Take a look at the retailer sets where your product will live to get an idea of the competition. Make note of branding attributes you love (ie - boldness, fonts, packaging material, color scheme, use of space, etc).

Ask yourself: 

  • What are they missing? 
  • How can I deliver on that missed opportunity?
  • What are they doing well that I can leverage? 

In addition to the grocery store, places like Facebook/Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Google, and Amazon are gold mines for collecting feedback on your competition. 

Balance Form and Function

Create packaging that looks professional and different. However, remember you’re creating packaging for three customers: distributors, retailers, and shoppers. If your packaging makes it harder for any of them, your sales will suffer. 

When examining the retailer sets, take note of competing products that aren’t stocked properly along with ones that seem particularly well suited to maintaining shelf presence.

Ask yourself: 

  • What style of packaging are they using (e.g. pouch, box, wrapper)? 
  • What is the shape and serving size?
  • How can I be different but still achieve the function I need to make my customers happy? 

Focus on The Messaging

Keep your packaging as simple as possible while communicating important information. Customers spend just seconds making a decision, so you have to grab them immediately.

To plan out what you want to put on your package, make a list of EVERYTHING you want to say about your product.  

Not everything on your list needs to be communicated with words. Images and other illustrations are just as important as written content.

In addition to marketing messaging, you’ll need space for all the required information (e.g. ingredients + nutritional panel) and certifications (e.g. Organic).

Ask yourself: 

  • If you were sampling the product in a store, what’s everything you would say to get someone to buy the product?
  • Does the packaging clearly answer: 1. What is the product? 2. What is your brand? 3. How are you different? 
  • Have I given enough guidance on the best way to consume the product?  

Are you an early-stage brand who needs some help thinking through initial packaging design? 

We’ve helped countless brands with this sort of thing and would love to help you too.

Drop us a line today!