Tag Archives: Design

The Art of Recycling: Does the UK care as much about the environment as we think we do?

As individuals, could we be doing more to help the environment? We looked a little closer at some of the UK’s recycling habits and learnt that on average, every seven weeks people in the UK throw away their own body weight in rubbish.[i]

The benefits of recycling are clear. Manufacturing one aluminium drinks can uses the same amount of energy as recycling twenty.[ii] What’s more, there would be 14 million fewer full dustbins every year if we recycled all the aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK.[iii] All our Rajapack cardboard boxes are 100% recyclable and we’re always working towards growing our range of environmentally-friendly packaging solutions.

94% of British adults say they care about the environment

What are the effects of not recycling as much as we could? Earth Overshoot Day gives us an idea of how much we are harming the environment.

Earth Overshoot Day

We use more from nature than the planet can renew. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date each year when we have consumed more than can be regenerated.  Thirty years ago, in 1987, this day fell on the 19th December. Ten years ago, 2007, it was 26th October.[iv] In 2017 Earth Overshoot Day falls on the 2nd August.

This is a clear indication we need to start doing more to help the environment. So, we decided to find out a bit more about the public’s attitudes to recycling. Local councils provide plastic crates, bins and bags – usually free of charge – specifically to make recycling easier for us. But is it working?

Are we a throwaway society?

In the country, 96% know aluminium cans are recyclable, only 76% that use them recycle them

Since 2010, the amount the UK recycles has been increasing. However, in 2015 this rate dropped.[v] To find out a little more about this decline, we commissioned a YouGov survey to find out how the British public really feels about recycling.

Our results show that almost everyone in Great Britain says they care about the environment (94%), but almost half of them (47%) feel they could recycle more than they currently do. This is despite almost three-quarters of the British public (74%) thinking their local council makes it easy for them to recycle. Do people simply not have the time to sort out their recycling?

We found out that although almost everyone in the country knows that aluminium cans can be recycled (96%), only 76% of those who use them say they recycle them every time. In Wales, 100% of people who responded to our survey knew that aluminium can be recycled, but only 80% said they recycle their empty cans every time.

100% of the Welsh know aluminium cans are recyclable, only 80% recycle them

Does a lack of knowledge around what can be recycled contribute to people not recycling more? Polystyrene isn’t a commonly recycled material, but some councils do accept it at household recycling centres.[vi] Yet over a third of Brits (37%) think polystyrene can be recycled, while nearly half of them believe it can never be recycled. Only 13% of those in Britain admitted they didn’t know.

Recycling cardboard

One of the most common packaging materials in the UK is corrugated cardboard[vii], which means most of us will probably have it in our homes in some form. The good news from our survey is Brits are more likely to recycle cardboard than any other material we asked about, with 79% of people who use it saying they always recycle it.

Our findings back up the statement that cardboard has the best recycling rate of any packaging material in the UK. This high rate of recycling means that cardboard boxes made in the UK contain up to 76% recycled material, on average. Some boxes are constructed from 100% recycled material. [viii]

The most recycled materials is cardboard, 79% say they always recycle it

How can we improve?

Although it’s worrying that recycling rates in the UK have dropped from previous years, it isn’t too late to do something about it. With people in the UK willing to admit they aren’t always sure what can be recycled, there is scope to educate people about what can and can’t be put into their recycling bins.

Many businesses are beginning use more eco-friendly packaging solutions. At Rajapack, we offer eco-friendly and recycled packaging across our range and our Packaging Specialists are always on hand to provide information on how to make more environmentally-responsible packaging choices.

If you want to find out more about what you can recycle in your local area, this tool from Recycle Now will tell you everything you need to know.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2026 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th-18th July 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

 [i]http://www.amgen-cymru.com/recycling_facts.php

[ii]http://www.amgen-cymru.com/recycling_facts.php

[iii]http://www.amgen-cymru.com/recycling_facts.php

[iv] http://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/past-earth-overshoot-days/

[v]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/593040/UK_statsonwaste_statsnotice_Dec2016_FINALv2_2.pdf

[vi] https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/polystyrene-1

[vii] https://cardboard.org.uk/what-is-corrugated-cardboard/

[viii] https://cardboard.org.uk/what-is-corrugated-cardboard/

New Rajapack catalogue launched and it’s changing lives

September marks the launch of Rajapack UK’s new 312-page packaging catalogue. Inside will be over 280 brand new packaging solutions to ensure your products reach your customers safely, plus we’ll be including eco-friendly packaging alternatives to help your clients answer their customers’ growing demands for environmentally responsible packaging.

The catalogue is being delivered right now, so expect yours in the post any day. If you haven’t ordered from us before, click the banner below to request your free copy.

Request the new Rajapack catalogue

Choose eco-friendly packaging and together we can change lives

Along with fresh packaging ideas, the new catalogue also focuses on the belief that ‘Together we can change lives’. Built on two of Rajapack’s core values: environmental responsibility and supporting charitable causes, we’re launching an action programme for Women & the Environment.

Women and the Environment

By simply ordering from a selection of 12 eco-friendly products, our customers can help women across the globe. For every one of these products bought between September and February 2016, we’ll donate up to £3 to help fund five community projects around the world.

These projects help women living in countries such as Cuba, Togo, Mozambique, Myanmar and India, to grow their own produce and build better lives for themselves and their families.

As you order at rajapack.co.uk, you’ll see a running total of money raised, and the difference your order will make to women around the world.

You’ll find full details about this great Women & the Environment project in the new catalogue and on rajapack.co.uk, plus we’ll be publishing information and videos right here on the blog.

Maximise your sales with environmentally responsible packaging

With eco-friendly packaging fast becoming a key factor for your customers, over the coming months we’ll be posting a number of useful articles highlighting the best ways for your business to be environmentally responsible.

Plus, following the launch of RajaPrint, our online custom printing service and online chat, our live chat service to provide advice, we’ve been working on more tools that will make buying packaging online even easier. So keep an eye out for these new features on rajapack.co.uk

If you have any questions about any of the above, please give us a call on 0800 542 44 28.

Happy Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day!

Today is Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day. On this day, we celebrate some of the more silly and ludicrous packaging that has been delivered over the last 12 months.

Examples of preposterous packaging might include:

  • Over-packaging; when small items such as batteries are delivered in containers suitable for larger items such as desktop computers. They usually require a lot of bubble wrap or loose fill to secure the contents
  • Packaging with the wrong name on
  • Needless packaging; when products are wrapped but don’t need to be
  • Packaging with too much protection
  • Packaging with unusual translations from different languages.

Bad packaging can be funny to some, but for businesses who receive or deliver items in packaging that is completely inappropriate, it can be a strain on costs and customer relationships.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most preposterous packaging that might affect the relationship you have with your customers, and some ways to prevent these from happening:

Excessive Packaging

One of the most popular examples of preposterous packaging is when items are delivered in a box or container that is far too big for the product inside.

Excessive Packaging

Using excessive protective packaging (such as bubble wrap or loose fill) can often mean that a business is not being environmentally-responsible. There are different definitions of what exactly constitutes environmentally-friendly packaging, but one common theme across government and industry guidelines is that manufacturers should use no more than the minimum amount of packaging required to safely transport the goods inside.

Over-packaging can also be expensive for businesses, as using more materials than needed means spending more than is needed on packaging.

Ordering the right size box and correct amount of protection is easy, and there are simple tools available online that can help, such as Rajapack’s Box Selector.

Incorrect Branding

Effective packaging must properly convey what the box contains. In order for customers to trust a company they are buying from it is crucial that they get what they expected when they open and use the product.

Incorrect Branding

Packaging is a great way of strengthening the brand and separating your product from the others on the shelf.

If the majority of the packaging you use is transit, this may not be a big issue for you. A lot of transit packaging is single colour (such as brown or white cardboard) with little in the way of description on it. Using materials such as custom packaging tape can help to strengthen your brand and customer communication.

Unnecessary packaging

A good example of unnecessary packaging is when items are packaged individually, when they could have been grouped together. Avoiding this mistake reassures customers that your business considers the environmental impact of packaging and helps save you money.

Needless Packaging

It may be the case that bananas stay fresher for longer if they are individually wrapped, but businesses must be mindful that customers are more aware of their responsibilities to the environment. This can play a large role in who they choose to do business with; blatant over-packaging like this can be harmful to a company’s green reputation.

Packaging that is not user friendly

As well as protecting and securing the contents, packaging has to be user friendly, such as having no  jagged or sharp edges, and with clear  labels or handling instructions (such as ‘this way up’).Packaging is also not user friendly if the customer has difficulty getting to the products inside. A great example of this is when scissors are packed in Blister packs which require scissors to open.

Blister Packs

Customers want to buy from a company again if they are satisfied with both the product and the service they receive. Their experience of the product starts from the moment they receive the package, so it’s vital that they have a good experience when opening their product.

 Packaging that makes sense

Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day started out as a light-hearted look at some of the more ill-conceived packaging that customers receive. On a serious note though, customers do take note of the quality of packaging they receive, and this can affect future buying decisions around who they do business with. Packaging effects the decision regarding repeat purchase.

At Rajapack, we offer expert advice to our customers on the correct type of packaging they use to make sure that their packaging is fit for purpose.

Fit for purpose might include factors such as the size of container, strength of material and environmental impact of the packaging among others.

Packaging that is fit for purpose will save money, time and the environment, which will result in happy employees as well as customers. If you have any great examples of Particularly Preposterous Packaging, drop them in the comments box below!

 

The lessons we can learn from food packaging

Whether it be primary, secondary or transit packaging, there are some top tips that help businesses better market their products and strengthen their brand. One industry that is very good at this, is the food packaging industry.

Food packaging is vitally important: not only does it protect food during transportation, but it also helps sell the food. You can have the same two products in two different packages, and if one looks much nicer it is much more likely to sell more.

Food packaging

Food packaging can also help to encourage repeat business, making it easy for customers to find and select your product in a shop. Though take note, it might also deter potential buyers if they don’t feel it’s genuine. This excellent food packaging comparison shows the reality of misleading food packaging, where in many cases the food product looks nothing like what the packaging suggests.

The key to good food packaging is a marriage of several elements such as practicality, attractiveness to customers and the ability to protect the food, amongst others.

We asked some top food packaging experts what they think are the key lessons that we can all learn from their industry:

1) Be honest about the way the your product looks

Stoats food packaging

These designs for Stoats by Leeds based Robot Food feature a window through which the porridge oats can actually be seen. Using a window like this gives the customer an accurate depiction of what the product looks like before they buy; the appearance of the product is actually a factor in the decision to buy the product. If the customer is persuaded by the appearance of the food, they are less likely to be disappointed when the packaging is finally opened.

We sat down with Simon Forster from Robot Food to discuss their work for Stoats:

“For any brand with a limited marketing budget, it’s necessary for the packaging to tell the brand story and promote the product. This was the case for Stoats. Retaining enough from the previous design to make it easy for brand loyalists to understand, we injected a whole load of fun in a way that was true to the Stoats story. The new designs are eclectic, colourful and inviting to all ages. The naive illustration style feels homemade, almost as if the designs were created by the team at Stoats. The packaging has interest and brand tone of voice all over to keep you entertained while eating your breakfast.

It’s important to see the quality of the premixed porridges and the high content of fruit inclusion. The die cut windows show off the product in an engaging way that works with the design to create a morning scene, celebrating occasion. Natural cues are represented in the nature of the loose illustration, with wheat, fruit, birds and sky and further cues come from printing the card on the textured reverse and in the choice of fonts.”

This method of showing the food is recommended for organic products and other high quality luxury foods.

Sausages

2) Create packaging people want to keep

 Coke

Famous packages like the Kikkoman Soy Sauce bottle (designed by Kenji Ekuan) and the Coca-Cola bottle (created by Earl R. Dean) are not only iconic designs, but also collectors’ items within their own right. Both of these designs are often used as small vases for flowers, and the multi-use properties of packaging such as these will often influence a purchase/encourage a sale? Other industries that could adopt this approach include perfumers and shoe makers.

3) Be clear: communicate what the product is in a simple manner

 shopping‘Value’ product packaging design may not be that obviously exciting, but it is undeniably clear in its communication of what’s inside the package. The Tesco Everyday packaging by Rocket Design is clear, concise and effective: a customer quickly knows exactly what they are getting.

Some designs are not so clear, such as this infamous Fabuloso bottle: is it a fruit juice drink or a cleaning product?

Fabuloso

Answer: It’s a cleaning product.

 4) Always think about the environmental impact of your packaging
(because your customers do!)

Bananas

This packaging for bananas in Morrisons went viral – and for good reason too. They really didn’t need to be wrapped in so much plastic and the environmental impact of so much packaging could be enormous in the long run.

When designing food packaging, a designer needs to consider not only how the packaging will be used to transport and sell the product, but what happens to once it’s thrown away. A good starting point is to ask the following questions:

  • Are all of the parts of the packaging necessary?
  • Are there any more environmentally responsible alternatives?
  • Can the packaging be reused in any way?
  • Can all of the packaging be recycled?
  • Can some parts of the packaging be recycled and not others? If so, can these parts be separated easily?

5) Make it practical

Fruit drinks

It’s all well and good when packaging has a unique, eye-catching feature, but it still has to function well. These fruit inspired creations are not only exciting and eye-catching – they function exactly the same way as a normal juice carton:

For food packaging to be most effective, there should be a perfect marriage between aesthetics and use. An interesting looking package may be enough to tempt a customer into an initial purchase, but it’s the functionality that will keep them coming back. A great example of this is Heinz Ketchup bottles; according to ‘The Marketing Blog’, customers consumed 78% more ketchup after the bottle changed size and turned upside down.

ketchup

6) Make it easy to transport

One of the key features of packaging is its ability to be transported. If you cannot transport your product easily and effectively without the packaging being damaged, then you cannot expect to sell many products successfully.

Toblerone

Nothing packs together as easily as a box, but boxes do not always make the most interesting package designs, so if you’re going to use experimental packaging make sure that the way it will be transported is practical and cost-effective.

The Toblerone chocolate bar box was designed to resemble a Swiss mountain range, but is also easily transported and stacked by turning some bars upside down and interlocking them.

 In Summary

A customer’s first impression of your product is usually based on the packaging as it is the first thing they see, and that impression could dictate whether they become repeat customers or even brand advocates.  Ensuring that your packaging is both fit for purpose and effectively designed will encourage repeat sales.

Effective packaging delivers the brand message, builds lasting relationships and gives the customer insight into the contents and quality of the product.  Because the food industry is so competitive, brands have to stand out, whether that is conveyed by the design of their packaging or by showing the quality of the contents inside.

Creative Ideas for Tape

Packaging tape comes in many different varieties, ranging from industrial tape which secures heavy duty items, to custom printed tape which strengthens brand and design messages, and low-tack tape applied to windows for the building trade. At Rajapack, we feel that it’s one of the most versatile products on the market.

Packaging tape

Packaging tape is not usually the first material people think of when they think of craft materials, but it’s extremely versatile and can be used in many types of project in order to customise an item or strengthen the structure.

To discover some of the lesser known creative uses of packaging tape, we sat down with two talented craft bloggers: The Crafty Gentleman and The Makery to discuss the different ways that tape can give a new lease of life to items.

Washi Tape Coasters by The Crafty Gentleman Packaging tape on coasters

The Crafty Gentleman was set up by Mike as a way of publishing more craft projects for men. These days, The Crafty Gentleman covers anything and everything that is craft or DIY related. As Mike puts it in his own words: “I’ll try making anything!”

He told us:

“I’m really into DIY and crafts, so I use printed tape quite often – it’s such an easy way to add colour or pattern to a project. Aside from the obvious uses in gift wrapping, printed tape can be used in so many creative ways. For example, I’ve used it to make wall art, makeshift picture frames, greetings cards and loads more.

My most recent DIY project with tape was a set of handmade drinks coasters. Get the full tutorial over on my blog at The Crafty Gentleman. You’ll be amazed at how easy they are to make! All you need is some printed sticky tape, plus a cork ring and some sealant or PVA glue (all of this is easy to find at any good craft shop). The great thing is that you can choose any colour/design of printed tape you want, so you can really personalise it to your home.

Why did I use printed tape? Because it’s such an easy way to add a strong colour and sharp design. If I’d used paint, or even printed a design at home, I don’t think I’d have achieved the same bold and eye-catching effect. I made the coasters a month or so ago when I moved house and they’ve held up really well. Give it a go and see what you can create!”

You can find out how to make the coasters for yourself here.

Decorating Jars & Mini Bunting by The Makery

The Makery Online Shop is a haven of creative delights, with an ever-expanding array of beautiful, carefully-sourced fabrics, craft kits and materials. You can pop into The Makery shop in Bath, or buy your craft supplies online.

They told us:

“Printed tape is a wonderful thing! We love it here at The Makery, and we use it all day long, whether that’s sealing up pretty packages, making handmade cards or just decorating everyday objects.

You can easily use coloured or patterned tape to decorate old jars. Just cut some neat strips from your tape and wrap carefully around your jars, horizontally or vertically, to make a stripy pattern. You can spell out names or words, and you could even experiment with cutting little triangles or zig zag patterns. Try popping a tea light inside to illuminate your design!

Packaging tape creative

lovelyvintage.canalblog

You can easily make mini bunting from any sort of sticky tape, you’ll just need a few different tapes and a little bit of string or twine. Cut out a diamond shape from your tape, and fold it in half around the twine by sticking it to itself. Then carry on making triangles until the bunting is your desired length.

You can use this to decorate handmade cards, or as a mini crafty display. Try using different coloured or patterned sticky tape, to create a sequence in your bunting flags. You could also try making square or heart shaped flags for your bunting. “ 

Three other creative ways to use tape

1. Printed messages and labels

Unusual packaging tape

James Greenfield

With custom printed tape you can decorate things with a whole range of messages or labels, from “Happy Birthday” to more practical labels such as “Pasta” or “Pens”.

2. Build a spider web game for children

Creative Halloween ideas

Handsonaswegrow

Building a spider’s web for your children is so easy to do and it encourages hours of fun. Simply find a doorway or adjoining walls and create wacky patterns by stretching your printed tape across the gap. Your children will love how their living room turns into a scene from a story book.

3. Decorating candle holders

Craft candle designNot only will this spruce up some plain old candle holders, but using different colours will result in some fantastic light effects. Similarly, with patterned printed tape, you can achieve some great shadow effects.

Customise items of any size and shape

There are many different reasons for customising items, from businesses looking to strengthen their brand message, to individuals giving their possessions a refreshing make-over.  Printed tape offers a low cost, simple way for people to easily customise any item in many different ways.

Finland Baby Boxes: Why Cardboard?

Shared 1 million times and read over 10 million times, the BBC’s blog about Finland’s baby boxes has become one of the most viewed blogs in the history of the BBC website. This unusual story about a long standing national tradition has grabbed public imagination and sparked discussions across the country.

Finland's Maternity Package

Image © Finnish Baby Box Ltd

BABIES AND BOXES

For the last 150 years, parents of new-born babies in Finland have been given a padded cardboard box that acts as a Moses basket for the first few weeks of their child’s life.

These boxes are provided by the Finnish state, but can be bought online from companies such as Finnish Baby Box.

Anssi Okkonnen, a founder of Finnish Baby Box, told us:

“The Finnish Baby Box is a great starter-kit to parenthood with a selection of high quality indoor and outdoor clothes that will help clothe the baby for the first 9 months, hygiene products such as nail clippers and bath thermometer, and the baby can sleep in the box too, as it comes with fitted mattress, sheets, duvet cover and a sleeping bag. The box is a safe and cozy place for the baby to sleep and it is surprisingly convenient when placed next to the parents bed – night feeding is easy and the baby is nearby but does not share the bed.”

The reason why this story is so popular though, seems to be the quirkiness of the material. Cribs and strollers are usually made from wood or robust plastic, not cardboard!

People don’t usually associate cardboard with being a suitable storage option for babies, which is incredible given its versatility, and the fact that we use it to ship other fragile items.

Statistics show that around 90% of packages sent every year are done so in cardboard packaging. That is an incredible percentage given the variety of goods and products that are being sent.

WHY CARDBOARD?

If parents in Finland have put their trust in cardboard boxes to accommodate their sleeping infants, why haven’t we?

First of all, it’s useful to look at the properties of the material. Cardboard doesn’t splinter or smash and is getting stronger and stronger, with new processes of manufacturing making boxes more durable and crush resistant than ever before. Companies such as ourselves offer extra strong triple-walled boxes, ideal for heavy or fragile goods which can support a weight up to 500kg – not that you’d need that for a baby!

What’s more, cardboard is not only a durable material, it is flexible too. A cardboard box can easily be adjusted to suit a particular size or shape.

Secondly, being manufactured with different layers of fluting, cardboard is an excellent insulator which is sure to keep babies warm in winter.

Thirdly, from an eco-friendly and environmental perspective, cardboard is one of the most sustainable packaging materials on the market, with many boxes being manufactured from recycled cardboard. Cardboard boxes can also be reused over and over again, to store items, move goods and of course, for growing families.

Many cardboard boxes also carry the Mobius Loop, a sign that they can be recycled, while some boxes are even manufactured to be biodegradable after use. This allows companies to adhere to green policies, and once a baby is old enough, parents can easily dispose of the box.

So it seems that Finland’s baby boxes are a real alternative to plastic cribs, strollers or Moses baskets; after all warmth, comfort and protection are the ideal conditions for any sleeping baby!

 MAKING IT PERSONAL

Inside the Baby Box

Image © Finnish Baby Box Ltd

With ‘personalisation’ seemingly the latest buzz term in packaging, cardboard boxes can easily be marked and personalised. For businesses, they can become an extra form of advertising to help strengthen a company’s brand, and overprinting allows them to add their own branding or bespoke design directly onto the cardboard.

It’s a material that can easily be personalised by parents to match their baby’s personality and character. They could have their own initials, name, birth sign or favourite picture on the box.

Cardboard boxes also make an ideal ‘keep sake’ or memory box for children, allowing them to store their most cherished items.

 

 BABY BOXES FOR BRITAIN – COULD IT WORK?

After reading the BBC article, we wondered why the baby boxes idea hasn’t yet been adopted in Britain. The benefits of cardboard are clear to see, so why shouldn’t we use it in the UK? We’ve run the numbers to see just how much it would cost the taxpayer in this country for the NHS to produce boxes for every new born baby.

Based on the most recent figures of baby births (taken from 2014), it would cost £6.5m to ‘box’ every baby in Britain. But if Finland, a country where temperatures can drop to -50°C, can trust cardboard boxes to protect their precious newborns, then there’s no reason why Britain couldn’t do the same.

Please note that Rajapack do not stock the Finnish baby boxes that are discussed in this article. The article is purely a response to a topic that was widely discussed at the time of writing.

Rajapack are proud to introduce to you…RAJAPRINT

We couldn’t be more excited to introduce our brand new packaging-tape customisation system, Rajaprint. Rajaprint is an online system that allows users to choose from varying types of packaging tape before customising them with different colours, texts or brand logos.

raja-print-custom

We’ve always tried to be the best for our customers and to us that means listening to their requests and trying our best to turn them into workable, affordable products. It also means moving with the evolution of the packaging world.

Rajaprint comes as a reaction to a wave of customer feedback that suggests that customisation is set to be the packaging must-have of 2015.

The list of variables for Rajaprint is impressive, even if we do say so ourselves.

  • Over 100 different tapes to choose from
  • 2 different widths of tape
  • Various lengths depending on the tape selected
  • Tape-materials including Vinyl, Paper, Polypropylene, Cross Woven, Heavy Duty, Low Noise

It’s not just the customised tape that we’re proud of though. The functionality behind the system is seamless and so easy to use. It involves a 3-step process so you can go from start to finish in just a few clicks. Here’s a video to show you more

The added branding potential that customised packaging tape can provide is such a benefit to SME business’ who don’t want the large overheads of specialised branding campaigns. With the Rajaprint, special launch offer customers can buy a stock of custom vinyl tape from just £1.67 per roll (72 roll minimum order) and in the process take care of packaging and branding needs in one go.

We’re pretty proud of the turn-around time as well; business never sleeps and so we’ve made our process as streamlined as possible. Our typical delivery time is just two weeks from design sign-off.

Click on the picture below to try out Rajaprint for yourself, it could be the best thing you do today.

Rajaprint

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.