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CRE8 in Packaging for Electronic Products

21-Aug-2015

Richly experienced in package design, CRE8 is delighted that four of our projects are featured in the book - Packaging for Electronic Products. Kris Verstockt, CRE8’s Executive Director, also wrote the preface for the book to talk about how to “Create a Memorable Out-of-box Experience”. (Scroll down to read the full article.)

Create a Memorable Out-of-box Experience

Package design is a unique form of art. It is the first opportunity to communicate with your targeted group of consumers and to make an impact on people who haven’t had a chance to actually see the product. Therefore, enticing a potential consumer to desire the product inside becomes the primary design goal. The package has to stop people in their tracks and make them want to further explore the goods.

Many companies fail to understand that their product’s package is the first impression that decides the overall product experience. It needs to make consumers want to open the box by creating instant anticipation - by the time they reach the product, they already feel excited and want to see and learn more.

Which elements are crucial for a successful package?

For every company, branding is the key to success, and product packaging is an effective tool to visually translate the core values of the product and the brand. Eye-catching designs and images are vital at the most basic level because they deliver the message in a direct way that affects consumers’ decision-making processes.

Equally important is a solid and carefully devised structure that allows for easy access to the products while providing sufficient protection during the shipping, storage, and in-store display processes, especially for high-technology products, which need special protection.

This is also relevant to the product’s in-store life cycle. People have to believe that the product is trust-worthy to make a purchase, and a firm, well-constructed box reinforces this feeling.

Green Design

A new generation of consumers is concerned about the ecosystem. It is our responsibility to design a package that leaves the smallest carbon footprint possible while still maintaining its core attributes. So our next question is this: how do we reduce carbon footprint?

This can be done from three perspectives: choose eco-friendly and recyclable materials; save more energy and reduce waste by using fewer components and simplifying the manufacturing process; and use smaller boxes. Think carefully about how to facilitate the shipping process as well as how to reduce unnecessary space inside the box for less fuel oil consumption and pollution.

What is the difference between designing a package for technical products and for other product genres?

The principles for package design are actually the same across all product categories - to create a memorable out-of-box experience and enhance users’ appreciation for the products. You can develop additional approaches to meet a range of needs.

For example, if the boxes are mainly for shipping and storage, then the design strategy will focus more on protection and size reduction, while packages for in-store display will involve more consideration of the package’s appeal for potential consumers.

There are three crucial questions to contemplate before designing a package for a technical product: 1) why do consumers need this product? 2) Will the product work for them? 3) What are the specifications to justify the cost?

When it comes to technical products, too many companies try to include all the technical details on the front of the box, but this “overkill approach” dilutes the aesthetic and branding experience, as well as providing unnecessary technical information where it doesn’t belong.

The top priority should be creating an immediate “I want it” response. Many people may be initially intimidated by new technologies. Thus, it is the designer’s mission to come up with an attractive and approachable box front image and design and to reduce technical information to a minimum.

Another major goal is to simplify the complexity of information as much as possible. Don’t overwhelm consumers with too many messages. The following rules of thumb ensure that the right messages appear on the right planes of the box: core values and major product features should be placed on the front and the top planes; the secondary features should appear on the sides; the simplified technical specifications should be placed on the back; while the regulatory information should appear on the bottom plane.

Prototyping! Testing! Iterations!

Keep in mind that the unboxing process also creates a powerful first impression of the overall product experience. In order to achieve perfection, there are no shortcuts - you will need to go through a detailed process of research, creating prototypes, testing your design, and iteration. This is precisely the process that CRE8 DESIGN uses every time we design a successful new package for our clients – one that is attractive, ergonomic, and intuitively functional.