This post is an article presented by Vanessa Fogel, designer, in a packaging conference in November 2008.
Design tips from the designer’s mouth
- Stick to the basic design rules, but try and be innovative, even if it is just through the use of different paper or varnishes. Be a Leader rather than a follower.
- Always keep your design simple, never over-complicate the process. Always question why something is being done. Don’t design for design sake.
- Gimmicks may look impressive initially, but will not give your brand longevity. Do not change your packaging often.
- Make sure your name and branding, and message is strong.
- Make sure that the printing and production costs of your packaging are realistic.
- Do your research in the market; know your facts before starting the design process, as you don’t want to go through the same exercise in a hurry.
Invest in your product by always using a specialist-packaging designer.
- Sustainability is the biggest world-changing concept at the moment. Turning life-draining wastefulness into green gold is the new Holy Grail. Don’t ignore its siren call. It will matter to every package designer on this planet very soon.
- Bio-based, biodegradable and recycled materials are becoming more and more relevant. Internationally there is strong emphasis on environmentally friendly packaging, to the extent that certain noxious packaging materials being banned in some EU countries, that require certification of environmentally – compatible packaging.
- Greening a product in the first place, of course, is the best way to reduce its environmental footprint. Companies are motivated to do so for a variety of reasons including increased consumer demand, pressure from partners across the supply chain and risk to the brand simply by being complacent. Adding the eco friendly banner to your product has become a strong sustainable marketing tool.
- Technology has to become the designer’s friend, and designers must embrace these technologies. Package design on the whole is becoming more simple, but the message conveyed is more sophisticated, hardworking and streamline in design, and design quality. Design should convey a strong concept of lifestyle, and graphic imagery.
- Good simple design, combined with more complex use of substrates, whether environmentally friendly or just unusual, mesh together with the use of interesting shapes and dyes, can culminate in some exciting printing technologies, results in great design. This is an exciting challenging time for designers.
Cost saving packaging tips
- Planning design, and printing in advance gives you time to weigh-up your options and evaluate new suppliers. It’s good practice to regularly evaluate alternate suppliers. Look for suppliers that are willing to work with you to identify cost saving options the industry is capable of delivering.
- Once the development process is complete and specifications agreed 80% of the costs are embedded, leaving only 20% of the problem to work on for those in manufacturing. Therefore major opportunities for saving occur in the design stage and this is where your designer can assist you.
- A good designer will see a way of creating brand extensions, or streamlining your costs, through the use of good clever, well thought out design.
- Continue looking at cost saving ideas even when you need them the least. A simple modification to your packaging specifications could lead to substantial cost savings over the long run.
- Determine your production volumes annually. Unit costs decrease in accordance to volume. It’s more expensive ordering small quantities so rather order less frequently and let your suppliers carry the stock, invoicing only when it goes into production.
- Most food products are perishables, (unlike good wine) and a stagnant inventory doesn’t improve with age. Excess inventory ties up capital and ‘hidden’ costs such as damaged, lost, redundant stock, warehousing, insurance and financing costs, all eat into the bottom line.
- Insist on having a service level agreement in place. A simple way to measure your supplier performance levels is based on on-time, in-full and error-free deliveries. By regularly monitoring and managing your suppliers you can maximize the benefits of your sourcing strategy, and ultimately increase your profit margin.
Vanessa Fogel is a specialist packaging designer, based in Cape Town South Africa. In the past she worked in both England and America, returning to South Africa, where she started her own small specialist studio, winning many design awards both in her own country and Internationally. Being passionate about good design has lead to many exciting projects for, Disney International, and in her own country for Orange River Cellars, which is one of the largest wine producers globally.