Whitepaper: Nine best practices for creating powerful packaging designs

Nine best practices
for creating powerful
packaging designs

Packaging design is not just about standing out from and winning against your competitors on the shelf. Your packaging is also the primary embodiment of your brand. It is an always-on broadcast of your brand that is leveraged across all touchpoints and media. Therefore, it pays to invest time and effort into creating a powerful packaging design.

package stroke
Our packaging design guidelines
Unpackaged bottles

MetrixLab is a global digital research agency. We have expertise and a strong footprint in packaging design testing. As well as in-house design experts, we have a suite of online behavioral simulation, visual and implicit tools and techniques, such as 3D virtual store technology and eye tracking. We founded our online packaging design testing practice in 2005, and we’ve tested thousands of designs since.

Based on our collective experience and our benchmark database, we’ve pulled together a set of nine best practices for powerful packaging design. These include guidelines on visibility, communication and persuasion:

icon 1 Visibility: Use color contrasts for a standout design.


icon 2 Visibility: Nurture distinctive visual assets.


icon 3 Visibility: Unite the line and differentiate the variants.


icon 4 Communication: Include all the recipe ingredients.


icon 5 Communication: Follow the recipe for a logical flow.


icon 6 Communication: Augment your message through congruent elements.


icon 7 Communication: Establish the right value perception.


icon 8 Persuasion: Create a persuasive design.


icon 9 Find a balance between visibility, communication and persuasion.


These guidelines offer a framework to help you create powerful new packaging and self-assess the strength of your current designs. You can also use these guidelines to better inform your design agency briefs.

To get started with optimizing and validating the strength of your current or new packaging designs through market research, contact us at info@metrixlab.com

#1 Use color contrasts for a standout design

Ensuring strong visibility is the first step in creating a powerful packaging design.
Nothing else in your design matters if it isn’t seen first. A powerful packaging design is clearly visible on the shelf; it stands out from competitor designs.

Choosing a color for your packaging design

One of the easiest and most effective ways to create strong shelf visibility for your design is through color. Select a dominant color for your branding and packaging design which contrasts with category codes and competitor colors.

In the past, a chocolate bar was red for pure, blue for milk, and green for hazelnut chocolate. Then, Milka caused a sensation by using purple packaging. Other brands that have successfully leveraged a contrasting packaging design color include Campbell’s soup (red and white), Tide (orange), and Vanish Oxi Action (pink).

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