In a previous blogpost, we established the elements that should feature on your product packaging design. These elements answer two key questions: what is the product? And why should consumers buy it?
Once you have your elements, the next step is to create an easy-to-follow flow. You must arrange your elements in a logical layout on your packaging design. The order in which the elements are seen influences understanding, perceptions and, ultimately, persuasion.
Our guidelines for packaging design layouts
- Brand before product and variant
- Function before emotion
Imagine starting with a white box, on which you need to place your elements.
People typically start their ‘visual search pattern’ at a spot about 20% to 30% below the top (the rule of thirds from photography seems to also apply to how people navigate the layout of a packaging design). Therefore, you’ll want to feature your brand logo in this optimal position. Immediately under the logo, you can then state the product category, type and/or variant.
Use the space underneath to communicate the functional benefits, reason(s)-to-believe and an (emotive) end-promise. And consider using the space at the very top for a call-to-action (‘new’, ‘improved’, ‘20% extra’, etc.).
Packaging design flow revealed through eye tracking
What eye tracking reveals time and again is that there is a risk in featuring an emotive picture to visualize the end-promise. The risk is that, depending on the layout, the eye could be first drawn to this image, before the elements that communicate the brand, product or functional benefits. This illogical flow may detract from product understanding and persuasion.
Take a look, for example, at the Braun Satin Hair line of three variants. On all three packaging designs, the end-promise is represented by a beautiful woman with fantastic hair. When looking at the 3 and 5-series designs, consumers see the dryer and its benefits before the woman and what she promises. But, with the 7-series design, due to the packaging layout, consumers look at her before the dryer. This may result in sub-optimal sales of the 7-series.
Let’s also evaluate the flow of the Pantene Pro-V moisturizing shampoo, a market-leading product in the US. Eye tracking reveals the order in which consumers see the different design elements:
First, shoppers see the brand.
The ‘shampoo’ mention should come next, but in this case, it has been placed at the bottom. Shoppers typically see this last. This isn’t a problem in shelf situations where the shampoos are clearly separated from the conditioners, but this is not always the case.
Secondly, shoppers look at the visual representation of one of the two reasons-to-believe (the PRO-V pearl). Ideally, the functional benefit (in this case, the daily moisture renewal) should be seen before the reason-to-believe.
Shoppers see the second reason-to-believe (the rich lather) after the functional benefit.
The promise of shiny, rich, beautiful hair, and the end-promise of indulgence are communicated via the shiny, smooth, luxurious texture of the bottle design.
More tips on creating powerful product packaging designs
Read all nine of our packaging design best practices in our whitepaper, which you can download below. You can also learn more about creating standout designs through color contrasts, congruent elements and a unified line of products in our packaging design blog.