Psychology seems like a big subject that few of us will ever venture into, but a lot of psychology has been involved in helping influence our decisions when it comes to packaging.
When faced with rows and rows of products in the supermarket, what makes you pick one in particular off the shelf? You might think it is an independent and rational choice, but a lot of psychology has gone into making sure that it is the one that makes its way into your basket.
So, how does psychology play a part in product packaging, and what does it mean?
Packaging is actually a huge part of your marketing strategy and will form the basis of any other campaigns that you put together.
Therefore, plenty of time and thought should be put into this to create a cohesive marketing effort that draws in customers. It requires attention to detail, an understanding of the customer, and an idea of where your product will be situated within the market.
We are all aware of the power of color. Whether it is what you wear, the paint on your living room walls, or the shade of your car, all color choices have some sort of significance in our minds. This is all relevant when it comes to designing packaging, as certain colors will have particular connotations or triggers in the customer’s mind.
We often have an emotional response to colors, as each one might conjure up images of cleanliness, health, or passion. Bright, fun colors are often aimed at children, whilst softer hues are generally targeted towards an older market. Colors such as black, silver, and gold often represent luxury products, whilst lavender is considered spiritual. An edgy and modern brand might opt for bright colors set alongside a lack of a feeling of energy.
Choosing the right color for your branding should be influenced by the message that you want to portray. You should also consider whether that color helps you stand out from the competition, works for visual impairments, or has negative connotations that might work against you.
Don’t forget that color is not just flat. Incorporating patterns and designs will also speak volumes about your brand, so think about how gentle flowers might compare to bright neon stripes.
Packaging is about more than just colors. Any packaging designer needs to think carefully about the shape, structure, and form, not only for practical reasons but also for making it appeal to the right customer.
As with color, different shapes create certain thoughts in our minds. It is generally felt that slim, narrow products make us think of health, whilst anything squat and narrow is considered sturdy and bold. More complex shapes can also be used to make your branding seem unique, and it is possible to make this shape evolve as your brand develops.
For many years, technology was seen as angular and boxy; however, it is now much sleeker, thinner, and rounder to reflect innovation in the modern world. Thinking about whether you want something to be seen as modern or retro might influence your packaging’s shaping.
The Right Materials
Everything about how you present your product affects the buyer, and that is not just the color or the shape, but the materials you use in the packaging. First of all, you need to consider who your target market is and how you want your product to be viewed. A luxury product needs materials representing this, such as wood or metal, whilst cheaper materials like cardboard will reflect something functional.
We don’t just choose a product with our eyes, we also rely heavily on our sense of touch, so you will need to consider your packaging’s texture. It will need to feel pleasant to touch, and the sensation should fit in with the context of the product.
We have all spent Christmas morning fighting to get in packaging that is layered, sealed, and protected. The complexity of a product’s packaging should reflect whether it is intended to be kept and re-used or simply discarded. The environmental impact of packaging is gaining increasing amounts of attention, so you need to ensure that your approach to packaging should reflect the ethos of your business.
Remember the time we all used Comic Sans for everything? Thankfully, typography has moved on a little since then, and the font used on the packaging also influences how you feel about it. Does your branding need curls and swirls, rounded elegance, or pure simplicity? This choice will speak loudly to your customers, so make sure you choose it loudly.
Every marketplace is a crowded one these days, so you need to decide how to make your product stand out from the rest. Your packaging is a good way to show that your product is unique or offers something that the others do not. The branding and packaging of your product do not just influence customers; it also impacts the stores themselves, as this can impact where they decide to place your brand on the shelves.
Being able to identify your product at a glance is a sign that your marketing is on target, and the branding is established. How you have put your packaging together will play a large part in this, so think about what you want to say to your customer first and build your packaging around this idea.
Branding is important when it comes to any product, and it shouldn’t just be something that looks nice. It should tell the customer everything you want them to know about your product without saying a word. This requires the subtle use of psychology to help your customers understand more about your brand and make them want to choose your product above any others on the shelf.
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