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    Product packaging is far more art than science. As precise as the marketing business would like to be, the truth is it can be very difficult to predict how customers will react to one kind of product packaging over another. To be sure, there have been numerous great examples of successful packaging over the years, from custom boxes to in-store product dispensers. It can be equally difficult, however, to say for certain why one package design outperforms another.

    Here are four ways you can tell a good package design from one that might need improvement.

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    The first rule of product packaging is it must be visible and recognizable from across the room. Just as an illustrator knows a character design must be recognizable even in silhouette, a package designer knows the product must be visible and recognizable at distance. The most successful packages are those that can draw a customer across a store.

    What makes this possible is an art concept called “contrast.” Color combinations like white on black, white on red and yellow on green are good examples of contrasting colors. They are the ones most likely to draw attention at a distance. You can learn more about color contract from Viget.

    Color Theory

    Ever wonder why almost every fast food logo is red and yellow? There is a reason for it. Certain colors evoke certain kinds of emotions. For example, green is the color of peace and prosperity. Red is an aggressive color that makes people imagine intensity. Yellow is an anxious color that makes people anticipate things.

    Your packaging should take advantage of colors and the emotions they draw from your customers. We already know red and yellow make people hungry. What do you want your product to make people feel like? Happy? Try pink. Melancholy? Light blue. At ease? Brown or orange. It’s something worth considering. Emotional connection is everything in marketing.


    Whenever possible, you want your package to be round. While this doesn’t work so well in a store where you want things to stack neatly or where you want to use standard packaging supplies, the truth is round things sell better than blocky things. Round fits the hand better, and we know if you put a product in a customer’s hand, they are much more likely to buy it.

    If you absolutely must have a box for your product, make your logo and decorations round in some way. Yes, there is a reason so many logos have a round element to them. It satisfies people’s expectations better than other designs. Learn more here.


    To continue the discussion of what fits in the hand better, consider the difference in size between a bottle of wine and a candy bar. The former is popular with adults. The latter is popular with children. Why is the candy bar so much smaller? It fits in the child’s hands better.

    If you are designing a product or a package, you want it to fit in the hand of the person buying it. If it is too big or too small, it won’t have the same appeal.

    There are people who make a lot of money designing packaging for retail products. If you don’t get it right at first, don’t worry. Every design can be improved.


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