Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Psychology of Packaging Design

For bees, the most attractive flowers are the ones with the brightest colours.  We’re a bit like bees in that we tend to be attracted to packaging that ‘jumps out’ at us; and it can be easy to let our instinct for attractive packaging override our better judgment when making purchases.

It’s no secret that product packaging is designed to make us pine for the product inside. Just picture a product displayed in the Apple store; rows of moulded plastic cases filled with pops of colour. It’s the same feeling children get in sweet shops.

Product marketers often call on psychologists to determine what shifts products off the shelves and into consumers’ hands. Their ultimate aim is to make us buy and they do this with persuasive marketing techniques such as using colours, textures, words and shapes to signify that their product will enhance our lives.

Ultimately, it’s about psychological triggers that bring out the inner child (a natural reaction) in all of us. If packaging can make us feel excited, eager, safe or secure – and persuade us to buy the products within – then marketers can rest easy knowing they’ve done their jobs.

Cups and Tea Packaging

 


 Why are so many things packaged?

Occasionally, you may find yourself wondering why many things are packaged the way they are. Do bananas really need to be bagged in plastic? Do cucumbers really have to be shrink-wrapped? If retailers want to sell them, then the simple answer is yes. An attractive package instils us with confidence to trust and in turn stay loyal to the product.

The history of packaging psychology is well-documented, and the word ‘purity’ features a lot. Take Quaker Oats, for example. When the brand was established in the 1870s, it was the first brand of pre-packaged oats available; previously they had always been sold out of barrels. Co-founder Henry Seymour decided that this made Quaker Oats more “pure” and so he decided to name the brand after the Quaker faith, with its connotations of religious purity.

Were they significantly different to any other oats? Probably not. But the idea caught on, and three-quarters of a century later, the sterile environment of the 1950s supermarket summed up our obsession with shrink-wrapped purity. “To the developed world imagination,” says Susan Willis in a study on packaging, “the open-air markets of the developing world are a riot of impurities. In the developed world, the package is the fetishized sign of the desire for purity.”

 Why does shape matter?

 You may think it doesn’t, but the shape of the packaging and texture can have a direct effect on how well an item sells. If consumers are compelled by an attractive or unusual shape, it’s more likely that they will choose that product.

It’s the reason why, for the past thirteen years, bottled water brand Evian has collaborated with designers such as Diane Von Fürstenberg and Jean-Paul Gaultier to produce shapely glass bottles of water decorated with 3D-textured prints, retailing at around £7.00. The product contained within is no different to the usual Evian offering – and a comparable plastic bottle costs just 80p!

Different shaped Evian Bottles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not just the style-savvy who are prepared to pay a premium for less product volume either. In 2013, Coca Cola launched a 250ml ‘slimline’ can in the UK, aimed squarely at the health-conscious. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the slim can is only a tiny bit cheaper than the brand’s standard 330ml can.

Slender packaging can imply that the product within is healthier and will, in turn, make the consumer more slender. Some have even suggested that certain packaging (such as washing up liquid bottles) is designed to resemble the female shape.

Image of washing up liquid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The importance of colour

 As the most obvious feature of product packaging, colour, has the most potential to affect our perception of a product. Colour is by far the easiest way to make packaging reach out to consumers.

Stroll down the aisles of a toy superstore or sweet shop and you’ll see that the shelves throng with colour. Any parent will be well aware that this works to capture the attention of children! Take a nosy round a health food store, however, and you’ll find a very different scene. All the packets are decorated in colours that look safe and mature – including tans, vegetable hues and watery blues.

The comparisons are endless. The metallics, greys and whites used to package digital goods and cleaning products appeal to efficient and modern people. Pastels are light-hearted and feminine. The neon shades that adorn the bottles of energy drinks and nachos can suggest energy, youthfulness and vitality.

We might like to think that we base our shopping decisions on price and quality – and to some degree, we do. But colour does continue to form a huge part of our unconscious buying habits. Which would you perceive as safest: the neon pink and bright green box of baby formula? Or the soothing pale blue box? Fortunately marketers can test different ideas through market research to minimise the risk, before the product packaging is trialled on the market.

 

The Luxury Packaging Awards – Our Reaction

The Luxury Packaging Awards are a brand new annual event that celebrates the best and brightest in luxury product packaging design. This year’s inaugural event took place at the wonderful Underglobe on London’s Bankside, with a shortlist of hopefuls that included companies as Stölzle Oberglas, Allied Glass and many more.

Image of Black Bottle by Allied Glass

Black Bottle Whisky by Allied Glass

Rogue by Rihanna

Rogue by Rihanna by Glass Stölzle Oberglas

The awards are organised by Packaging News, and run in conjunction with the annual easyFairs’ Luxury Packaging exhibition and conference. The awards aim to showcase the most inventive and original designs from around the world in a range of categories from food and drink to cosmetics, perfumes, bags and tobacco products.

The nominees are judged by a panel of industry experts on several different criteria, including:

  • Quality and innovation in graphics, decoration, shape and structure.
  • Functionality.
  • Shelf stand-out.
  • How the pack adds value to the brand.
  • Luxury feel.

The winners were announced on September 29th in front of a special V.I.P crowd; here are our reactions to the winners, from Rajapack’s Senior Buyer Kezia Gray and Purchasing Manager Hector Au

  • Drinks Primary PackTanqueray No Ten by Allied Glass

Tanqueray Glass

Kezia really liked this new take on the Tanqueray bottle. It was reminiscent of the Art Deco period with its classical, yet contemporary styling. Kezia felt it was definitely an improvement on the current bottle and it looks an expensive, premium product.

  • Drinks Secondary PackGlengoyne 25-year-old Highland Single Scotch Whisky by PPS

Image of Glengoyne Whiskey

Hector regarded the design as very old fashioned and doesn’t think this is pushing the boundaries much in terms of the ‘Whisky bottle in a box’ theme.  The design evokes ideas of a late 19th and early 20th century heritage.

  • Perfume PackTresor Repack by Stolzle Oberglas

Tresor Repack by Stolzle Oberglas

Kezia thought the design was very old fashioned for the perfume market. She wasn’t sure what demographic the product was targeted to. For her it wasn’t enough of an inspiring design to warrant being on the winner’s list. 

  • Cosmetics & Personal Care PackGENEU Airlift Pump System by Toly Products UK

GENEU Airlift Pump System by Toly Products UK

Both Hector and Kezia found it difficult to understand what this product could offer you from the packaging alone. For Hector it reminded him of a late 90s Armani perfume or after shave dispenser.

  • Jewellery & Accessories PackNew Accurist Watch Box by Hunter Premium Packaging

New Accurist Watch Box by Hunter Premium Packaging

Hector thought that the packaging gave the product a more upmarket feel. However, he thinks that Accurist need to do more with the overall brand, to change perceptions of this brand. But nonetheless a valiant effort.

  • Luxury Food PackAloha Gelato Box by Pringraf

Aloha Gelato Box by Pringraf

This evokes memories of American style take away Chinese food packaging. But one thing was on Hector and Kezia’s minds in terms of how the frozen ice cream filled fruits were insulated within the packaging. Was there a polystyrene inner layer that we could see from the photos?

  • Luxury Tobacco Pack – Dunhill Special Reserve Limited Edition Global Travel Retail Pack by Webb DeVlam

Dunhill Special Reserve Limited Edition Global Travel Retail Pack by Webb DeVlam

Both Kezia and Hector felt that there was more packaging than there was actual product. But they agreed it had a very upmarket look. Wouldn’t look out of place in a Gentleman’s club or an old fashioned smoking room.

  • Luxury Shopping BagRose Demi Sec La Montina by Gruppo Cordenons

Rose Demi Sec La Montina by Gruppo Cordenons

Kezia liked the bag for its very contemporary look – she regarded it as a modern, Mediterranean take on a typical upright bottle packaging concept. Perfect for hot, summery weather.

  • Special EditionBombay Sapphire Laverstoke Mill Distillery Limited Edition by Webb deVlam

Bombay Sapphire Laverstoke Mill Distillery Limited Edition by Webb deVlam

Not a massive departure from the iconic Bombay Sapphire standard bottle, it is more of an evolution says Hector. It is more see through and less opaque than the standard bottle and similar to the approach Cristal have followed with their champagne bottles.

  • Innovation of the YearAbsolut Originality by Ardagh Group

Absolut Originality by Ardagh Group

Both Hector and Kezia preferred the standard bottle design with its italic script on the label rather than the blue vein design that runs through the glass. The shape of the bottle hasn’t really changed that much, it’s really only the label that looks different.  But they both thought it was less exclusive looking than the standard bottle design.

  • Best in Show – Aloha Gelato Box by Pringraf

Aloha Gelato Box by Pringraf

Both Hector and Kezia would have opted for other designs that were up for this award rather than the Gelato box. For Kezia it was the luxury shopping bag for the Rosé wine and for Hector the Tanqueray bottle was more to his liking.

Uber Taxi Set to Shop

Does Amazon have a new business to compete with? With the popular taxi hailing app, Uber branching out, Rajapack takes a look at its new delivery service.

If you hadn’t already heard, Uber is an app-based taxi service originating in San Francisco. The app connects the driver to the passenger, organising taxi hire at the lowest possible cost. It has proved particularly successful amongst Londoners.

 Introducing Uber Essentials

Currently being trialled in Washington DC, the Uber Essentials service offers an inventory list of around one hundred items ranging from sweets to ping pong balls that users can order to their door. The full shopping list can be found on Uber’s official Corner Store. Although it’s a fairly limited stock list right now, a form on Uber’s site allows you to request other products that are missing from the list.

New York Taxi Photo

 New York Taxi by Craig Cloutier

How does it work?

Though it’s just in the planning and trial stages right now, the service is simple to use:

  • ‘Toggle’ your Corner Store option (which will be available Mon-Fri 9am-9pm).
  • Set your delivery location and confirm your address.
  • Meet your driver and place your order.
  • No cash needed. You will only be charged directly to your Uber account.

UberEssentials Picture

What does this mean for the packaging industry?

This is changing delivery and packaging by the day, with companies competing with each other more than ever before due to the growth of ecommerce. Market leaders are catering to the demands for longer opening hours, faster communication and bespoke services, all delivered fast!

For now, the battle between Uber and its competitors is one to watch. eBay offers a same day delivery service that could potentially disrupt Uber’s attempts, for example.  Though Amazon packages its own items itself, both Uber and eBay could be looking to external packaging options and innovations.

Power Sellers – significant sellers on eBay – may also take advantage of Uber’s new service by making sure they’re prepared with shipping materials like envelopes and other mailing items. Access to constant packaging stock would not only improve the seller’s business efficiency, but also the customer’s overall experience.

What’s next?

Not only is Uber offering sweets and games, they have also partnered with Vaccine Finder offering UberHEALTH on a one-day trial in America. Through Uber Health, a registered nurse will come and give taxi users a flu jab for free. By partnering with different companies, Uber has managed to increase its reach whilst dominating ideas for personal delivery service, far beyond just catching a lift.

Although in its early days, Uber is showing a clear head start in its goal of supplying and serving customers in a personal and immediate way. If the initial trial is a success, then waiting up to a week for deliveries will surely become a thing of the past.