Every waking hour of our life is spent interacting with products. Basic activities such as washing our hands, cooking a meal, taking a shower, or enjoying a chilled pint of beer, all part of everyday life cannot be completed without some or the other product. Yet, we fail to take cognisance of the impact, the design of these products has on our behaviours and our relationships with them.
There is a lot of emphasis on the relationship between a product and its consumers, until the product’s point of sale/ purchase. But really, this relationship goes far beyond mere purchase and is determined by the product’s usability and its packaging. Product and packaging design therefore need to address an existing consumer need or problem and attempt to solve it, eventually building a long-term relationship between the product and its consumer.
Look around you and you’ll notice it’s actually not so difficult to spot some really unique packaging design solutions. From cosmetics and toiletries, food packaging and electronics to personal and healthcare, manufacturers and designers are increasingly taking note of the importance of good design in packaging, and the impact it has on sales.
In a first, of a series of articles that will focus on various aspects of packaging design, we take a look at some of the important factors to consider when developing packaging design.
Bengaluru-based ID Fresh Food tackled a unique, new-generation problem of homemakers, with their Vada Batter packaging. The ‘squeeze and fry’ pack innovation addresses the problem of creating and retaining the perfect hole in a medu vada, an art mostly perfected by family matriarchs. By introducing a cutter at the spout of the innovative squeezy pouch, the manufacturers simplified the entire process of creating perfectly shaped rings of batter, for young homemakers, without compromising on taste and quality.
‘How practical is the packaging’, is an important question to ask when designing product packaging. Practicality refers to the structure, functionality and ease-of-use of the packaging, which are all directly related to product sales. Carlsberg addressed consumers’ need to drink draught beer just about any time, anywhere, by replacing the conventional pry-off cap of beer bottles, with the very novel ring-pull ‘Pop Cap’. This design eliminated the need to rely on a bottle opener or other alternatives such as keys, commonly used to pry open beer bottles. With this practical design, Carlsberg delivered on its brand promise of “Now you can pop a draught anywhere”.
From a middle-class user’s point of view in the Indian context, every product needs to exhibit the ability to be stored efficiently, save on space and yet be easily accessible. The transparent, oval shaped inverted PET bottle adopted by Pears Shower Gel, has a snap-on cap to facilitate easy dispensing. More importantly, Pears addressed the needs of users, to be able to access and store the bottle conveniently in the bathroom. Along with a structure that aids free-flowing gel in the inverted position, they introduced an intriguing hook that allows users to easily hang the bottle during use in the shower.
Optimising product packaging design for human use is called ergonomics. Ergonomics is important in packaging design since it creates environments best suited for the users’ needs. Dettol, one of the top 10 Most Trusted Brands in India, addressed the paramount issue of affordable hygiene, anywhere, with the Dettol Squeezy. Replacing the mechanical pump of liquid soap bottles, with an ingeniously developed dispensing system that is more efficient, Dettol ensured that the bottle is easy to carry, does not leak and stands firmly when placed on any surface. All this, without compromising on its brand promise of hygiene.
In conclusion, when design goes beyond form and appearance to address functionality, the chances of positive user experiences and enhanced brand loyalty are greater. When packaging design focusses on solving user problems, product experiences improve, which eventually result in greater ROIs for brands.