David Roberge

By: David Roberge on February 9th, 2017

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3 Common Packaging Fails & How to Avoid Them

Packaging Materials | Packaging Design


Product packaging serves several important purposes. It protects items during shipping, makes storage easy and, ideally, presents your product in a way that will entice customers to choose it over the competition. Many manufacturers and producers underestimate the negative effect that poor packaging design can have on sales.

Truly effective product packaging combines form, functionality, and design to create a recognizable brand that sells items and becomes a seamless part of a product’s life cycle. The professional packaging advisors at Industrial Packaging can provide your product team with the knowledge and tools they’ll need to avoid some classic packaging fails.

1. Mixed Messaging

It might seem like we’re stating the obvious, but your product packaging should tell customers what they are purchasing and what the product is used for. Busy, misleading labels can cause confusion—and those extra seconds of deliberation will cost you money in the long run. We  consumers have a notoriously short attention span, which means it is imperative that the aesthetics of your packaging design present your product in a way that helps customers quickly and easily interpret its purpose. While there is an obvious benefit to making your product stand out among its competitors, your packaging design should always make it clear what kind of product you’re selling.

2. So Secure It's Impossible to Open

In many cases, businesses create a packaging design strictly for its performance on the shelf without considering how it will function once in the hands of a customer. Packaging that is inconvenient to open, difficult to dispose of, or environmentally hazardous will drive down repeat sales. Oftentimes, there are simple solutions to these issues, such as additional perforations or tabs. Flexible packaging offers product manufacturers several solutions to common packaging issues such as reduced shipping costs, extended product life with resealability, and improved ease of use.

3. If It Ain't Broke . . .

Packaging redesigns have been proven to boost sales for many products. However, before redesigning your packaging, consider which features of your packaging make your product immediately recognizable to consumers. In 2009, Tropicana attempted a sleeker, more modern appearance for their orange juice containers by removing their iconic orange-and-striped-straw labels. The replacement labels featured simple blocks of color and text, which they hoped would appeal to modern, minimalist consumers. What Tropicana did not anticipate was the immediate negative response incited by the public. Within two months, the company was forced to discontinue the packaging and revert to their original labels.

Product packaging doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are worried about how your product packaging design will fare on store shelves or are considering retiring and revamping an older design, our professional packaging advisors are standing by to help. Contact Industrial Packaging today and find out how we can help improve your product presentation.


About David Roberge

I am grateful for my 9 years as part of the outstanding Industrial Packaging team. I was able to hang out with some of the most knowledgeable folks in the packaging industry. I feel even luckier that I was able to share that knowledge with you. I love learning, hiking, and growing people and teams both personally and professionally, and helping companies grow better.