Packaging is the consumer’s gateway to your product. It isn’t only there to keep the products inside safe and sound—it’s doing much more than that. It’s a secret weapon that businesses use to encourage you to buy their products instead of reaching for one of their competitors. For this reason, packaging is central to branding strategies and has much to do with psychology.
Think about it. When browsing the aisles, there are so many options to choose from that sometimes it’s a little overwhelming. You’d like to think you’re only considering the highest quality product on the shelf, but aesthetics play a significant role. Brands design their packaging to draw you in, and you’re usually drawn to eye-catching items. So, what is it about custom packaging that holds so much power?
Polypouch – Flexible Pouch Supplier, says that strong branding provides the following benefits:
- Speeds up new product acceptance;
- Increases the value of your product and your company;
- Commands higher prices;
- Resists price erosion.
Exploring the Psychology of Packaging
The psychology of packaging is a complex combination of emotional stimuli, aesthetics and science. An impactful packaging strategy understands and utilises these factors to capture consumers’ attention. To better appreciate the relationship between these three elements, we need to break it down into its core components: colour psychology, typography, tangibility, design elements and the relationship between perceived value vs price. Let’s explore these components in more detail:
Let’s start with colour psychology. Colour influences our emotional state and decision-making processes. A talented packaging designer will harness the power of colour psychology to influence consumers’ perceptions and buying choices. For example, blue is commonly associated with trustworthiness and reliability, whereas red is linked to excitement and urgency. Green is typically used on the packaging of eco-friendly products, whereas black gives products a sophisticated and luxurious feel, increasing the perceived value. The choice of colour is vital because it has emotional resonance, heavily influencing whether a consumer believes a product is right for them or not.
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Like colour, typography influences consumers’ perceptions of packaging. The font used can communicate a lot about a brand. For example, serif fonts, characterised by small strokes on the end of the letters, evoke tradition, history and integrity. Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, are characterised by clean lines, giving them a minimal and modern feel. But that’s not all—they are also easier to read than serif fonts, making your product accessible to a wider audience. Choosing the right font for your packaging helps to convey your brand identity to those browsing the shelves, so it’s essential to get it right!
The feel of the packaging is a crucial aspect of the overall customer experience, and, at times, this element of packaging design is overlooked in favour of visual elements. For many, shopping is a multisensory experience. Tangibility plays a significant role in shaping our perceptions of a product or brand because we often desire to touch something before deciding to purchase it. It might be as simple as picking the product up for a couple of seconds, allowing us to feel its weight and texture, influencing our perception of its quality. If the packaging feels high-quality and sturdy, we’ll think the product inside is good quality, making it more likely that we’ll pop it in our basket.
Shapes, images and layout
Other design elements, such as shapes, images and the layout of information, play a central role in the overall appeal of product packaging. Shapes have their own symbolism. For example, rounded shapes are often associated with comfort and friendliness, whereas angular shapes convey power and durability.
Including images on your product’s packaging is a great way to evoke emotional responses in consumers, establish brand identity and tell a compelling story. Finally, the hierarchy of information on your packaging also matters. Key information, such as the brand name and the product type, should be what consumers see first, followed by ingredients and instructions.
Perceived value vs price
Perceived value, what the consumer believes a product is worth compared to its price, is another essential aspect of packaging psychology. For example, packaging with a luxurious feel adorned will likely have a higher perceived value in the customer’s mind. This is one of the reasons why customers are willing to pay for products that look higher quality, even if the actual product is almost identical to a cheaper option.
However, it’s vital that you strike the right balance between the perceived value and the actual cost of the product, as getting it wrong can have disastrous consequences. For example, overpriced products with questionable packaging may lead to scepticism. In contrast, underpriced ones with high-quality packaging may lead to suspicion about the quality of the product inside.
Understanding the psychology of packaging provides businesses with insights that can inform branding and marketing strategies. By effectively using elements such as colour, typography, shapes, images and textures, brands can craft compelling packaging that speaks directly to their target audience and meets the main objective: boosting sales.