As much as we design packaging to be seen and stand out in-store, we also seek to create a bond or relationship between the product being presented and the purchaser.
There are many products where there is an emotional bond between the product being sold and the purchaser, and the ones that are perhaps best examples of this are cars, motorbikes, music and certain books. Travel similarly, as a service and movies also can awaken the senses to create this emotional bond.
It is however pretty hard to evoke the same level, or any sense of excitement about a dishwashing liquid or soap, yet it can be done.
Packaging design is an art form. It can also be sculptural. It uses shape, textures, colour, type, photography, materials, and the interplay of all of these to create a feeling - be it positive, neutral or negative as a response to what is being presented.
A dishwashing liquid may not be the most exciting product in the world, but if it feels clean, looks clean, smells attractive, has no spill marks on its sides, squirts easily when used, fits neatly under the sink, and does not look out of place beside the sink, then chances are that it will be more desirable than a product which is too big to put in the cupboard, dribbles when used, smells revolting, and doesn't foam when used!
Product form and function all merge together with the package - being the bottle, cap closure, labels to create the overall image of the product. All of this forms the package.
What we are looking at here is attitude.
We all form attitudes towards everything that we see or experience. There are places we like to shop, restaurants we like to visit, and brands we always buy, and ones which we will never purchase no matter what the price.
Brands are not passive and neither is our response to them.
So, how far does packaging design go? Does it just involve the design of a label, or should it involve all aspects of a product's presentation.
We can't pretend that we are designing a Christian Dior perfume when we are designing a dishwashing liquid, but the same principles apply.
At Brandname Properties we like to design with a depth of feeling in the design work we do.
Perhaps one of the best examples of this 'passion' and 'depth' is the design of our own children's games.
Rather than create a logo in which the brandname is inside a box or oval shape, we have created our own shape - a carousel wagon shape, complete with wheels. This same shape can be seen on Happy Books. We have also used a rocking horse as a graphic decoration, and the name Geoff Stuart Classic Collectibles as the signature brand to the range.
This logo appears on the front of the box, but the emphasis is still on the game title - which is relatively well known by people who play games.
The whole image is one of nostalgia, yet the solid colour backgrounds are designed to have great standout in store.
We have also designed the cards and every aspect of both games to have reflect sophistication and style, even though the games are children's games.
That feeling goes through to the choice of printing and paper used. We believe that the success of the games will come not just from the retail presence, and gameplay, but also from the pleasure that comes from playing with high quality cards. Each illustration is unique in its own right, and a lot of time has been spent in getting the card illustrations to the level of craftsmanship that they have. We believe that people will also gain pleasure from just looking at the illustrations themselves, and we hope they do.
If they get pleasure and enjoy the craftsmanship that has been put into the games, then it is hoped that they will in turn recommend the game to their friends.
From a design view, we have put a lot of effort into creating a whole 'game experience', and we have taken the view that we are creating a classic game, and not just a short term gimmick.
This is what we mean by attitude.
We have set out to make the 'game experience' interactive. We are looking for a response on a number of levels, not just one, and we are looking to develop a relationship with people who buy the games, with a view to developing other games and products in the future.
We are not trying to sell once and we believe that word of mouth will help build the brand and enable it to expand to new products.
Designing with an attitude means looking at the big picture and also the small but significant details - details like illustrations, copy, choice of paper, print quality, and how the product is to be sold in-store.
Designing games and books is very different to designing biscuit packs or cosmetics, but the same care and attention to detail will ultimately reflect on the brand.
Article written August 2003
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