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The old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” applies to packaged goods as well. Just because a product has an attractive package doesn’t automatically mean it will be a good product.

Still, brands need to entice consumers to try their product in the first place, and one way to do this is through packaging. In fact, for a consumer who’s new to a specific product category, attractive packaging could go a long way toward nudging that consumer in a specific brand’s direction.

In the end, it’s not always the product itself that translates to purchase intent and actual sales — how the product is presented also plays a large role. Here are five examples of ways product packaging influences purchases as well as some negative techniques brands should aim to avoid.

1. Ability to Stand Out

The Psychology Behind Product Packaging

One way to get a consumer to gravitate toward a product is to make sure the packaging stands out. This can be achieved in a number of different ways, such as a color that catches the eye or a slightly bigger size than other comparable products.

Bright colors can be an asset here, but brands also don’t want to go too far. If a product’s packaging is too busy or vivid, it could end up turning off a potential consumer.

It also helps make sure the brand’s name is prominent and immediately recognizable. If the consumer doesn’t happen to pick your brand this time around, make sure they at least remember it’s an option.

2. Reusability

An effective product package is more than a one-time proposition. The best packaging encourages consumers to use it over and over again. In fact, roughly 90 percent of consumers reuse product packaging. That means the packaging could serve as a type of advertisement as it passes in front of new eyeballs.

It makes sense when you think about it. An attractive bag might be used for general purposes. A nice box could be repurposed as a gift box. Or, a package that also serves as a sturdy container might be used to store other items once the original product is gone.

On the flipside, brands should avoid packaging that essentially becomes useless as soon as it’s opened. This can depend on the type of product, but you generally don’t want the packaging to make its way to the trash the instant the product is brought home by the consumer.

3. Iconic Imagery

There are some brands you can recognize by logo, even without any text. McDonald’s has its signature golden arches. Apple uses its familiar apple with a bite taken out. Nike has its globally-known swoosh symbol. The list goes on and on.

Another good example is Coca-Cola. Even without reading the words, you know a Coke product from its signature red color, the typography in the logo and the contour wave that makes it onto every can or bottle.

Now, telling a brand to create a package that’s as iconic as a can of Coca-Cola is like telling a budding basketball player to start playing like Michael Jordan. It’s just not that simple! Still, creating a logo and other imagery that triggers a brand name into the mind of a consumer goes a long way toward making product packaging effective.

Of course, not every brand will be able to come up with something as iconic or as long-lasting as Coca-Cola. That said, brands should be sure to avoid common pitfalls such as basic font styles or stock images that don’t stand out. Packaging that is too boring is destined to get lost among the ocean of other brands competing for the consumer’s attention.

4. Honesty and Transparency

The Psychology Behind Product Packaging

Any packaging worth consumers’ time is honest about the product it contains. This might include things such as a food product that contains all-natural ingredients or a cleaning product that’s odor-free.

One way some brands choose to be transparent with consumers through product packaging is to literally make the packaging transparent. A package that has clear elements to allow consumers to actually see the product can help that product sell itself.

For example, think of competing packages of cookies sitting on the shelf in the snack aisle of the supermarket. Are you likely to pick a brand whose package says the cookies are bursting with chocolate chips or one whose cookies you can actually see are full of said chocolate chips?

When it comes to honesty and transparency, brands need to avoid any words or language on the packaging that might be considered misleading. In the end, that will only lead to consumer disappointment and a feeling that the customer has somehow been duped.

5. Keep It Simple

The Psychology Behind Product Packaging

Sometimes, the best way to get a product’s packaging to stand out is to just keep it simple. It’s a delicate balance, of course, because you also don’t want it so simple that it’s not noticeable. But there have been brands that have used simplicity in packaging to their advantage.

One example is Buster, a brand of drain cleaner that’s popular in Europe. The brand decided to use packaging that showed a simple image of what the product does — clears clogged drains — in an attempt to calm the mindset of consumers.

This decision was a stark contrast with many similar products that depend on bright, over-the-top packaging and lots of hyperbolic claims. The result was a 42% boost in sales.

Still, brands should also avoid being too simple. You don’t want a package that doesn’t make it clear what the product is or what its benefits are. Again, keeping it simple yet informative without going too far can be a fine line, but the best product packages are able to meet that balance.

When all is said and done, attractive product packaging alone isn’t likely to make consumers return to a product. That’s the job of the product itself. However, for consumers who are new to a category of products or are in the market to try something new, effective product packaging can be a major key in that consumer’s decision-making process.

Lexie Lu is a freelance web designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design news and always has some coffee nearby. She owns Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

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2017 AIGA Design Conference

AIGA[1] will hold its annual Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 12-14, 2017. This year's conference theme "community, connection, and career journey" will bring together an incredible gathering of creatives from all walks of life.

"For more than 30 years, AIGA Design Conference has served as an epicenter for our diverse community of professionals to meet, exchange ideas, and grow the design industry," commented Julie Anixter, AIGA executive director. "Our community is our most valuable asset. The strength within our community is fueled by making sure that designers have the competencies to make an impact on business, industry, and society. This year, we're really focusing on career journeys and the myriad of possibilities evolving out of design's ever-changing landscape."

During the three-day conference, AIGA will provide more than 17 design workshops to deliver inspiration and knowledge within a hands-on learning environment. New this year, AIGA will launch its conference Match program where seasoned designers will connect with first-timers to mentor, guide, and enable them to get the most out of the conference.

Roundtables featuring industry-leading designers will discuss the shifting landscape of design and offer practical ways to convert inspiration into stunning new integrations. Conversations will explore commitment to leadership, design excellence, impact, and equity-the core values of AIGA.[2]


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Autodesk SketchBook 4.0 for iOS Arrives in the App Store

Autodesk has today released a new update for its digital painting and drawing app on the App Store. SketchBook 4.0 for iOS allows digital artists to leverage the full compute power of modern iOS devices, including GPU acceleration, with a revamped rendering engine.

The new version also features several new improvements that make a smoother, more convenient drawing experience and also enable larger canvas sizes, unlimited layers, a larger undo stack and more.

SketchBook 4.0 highlights include:

- Redesigned rendering engine
- Redesigned brush engine with brush texture and more than 60 new brushes
- Enhanced symmetry tools with 16-sector radial symmetry
- Algorithmic predictive stroke to create precise shapes, lines and curves
- New ruler and true ellipse guides
- Color adjustments for hue, saturation, and luminance with real-time preview
- Flip canvas, lock layer and an improved time lapse screen recording workflow
- UI updates including: Clean canvas with two-hand mode, Marking menu, Quick-access toolbar, Sliders for quick brush size & opacity adjustment on the brush menu, and Customizable color swatches stored on the layer editor

Autodesk SketchBook 4 for iOS 01Autodesk SketchBook 4 for iOS 02Autodesk SketchBook 4 for iOS 04Autodesk SketchBook 4 for iOS 05

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Finish Line Taps Creative Consultancy Green Stone to Craft a New Generation of Mobile App

Green Stone recently redesigned Finish Line's mobile app with the aim of integrating personalized curation, style-centric content, and commerce in a delightfully differentiated way.

Green Stone's design utilizes their hallmark methodology of earning sales through what they've termed Modern Loyalty: a meaningful value exchange that goes beyond ads, points, and giveaways, in the hopes of providing customers with a reason to interact with Finish Line beyond commerce.

The app features a smart and shoppable content feed, providing users with style inspiration mixed with commerce to create an ever-improving feed of personalized content; and 'Finish Line Live,' a creative way for the brand to connect to users by incorporating live-streaming content to keep users coming back to the application again and again.

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Type With Pride Contest

Ogilvy & Mather NYC, in partnership with Fontself, recently launched Type With Pride, a milestone color font project to honor Gilbert Baker, the designer of the iconic Rainbow Flag.

"We wanted to create something special that would not just honor Gilbert and his iconic Rainbow Flag but also give the LGBTQ community a fantastic tool to help them create their own banners, posters and signs," the design team commented. "People can now raise the Rainbow Flag with every letter they type. By literally embedding the Rainbow Flag into the font we made it possible for everyone around the world to type with pride."

Type With Pride has now launched a design contest around creative uses of this typeface. Design your own banners, posters, videos and signs to celebrate diversity & creativity. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2017.

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