the package is the product

Hi Brand Manager!

I’d like to help you design the best possible packaging for your upcoming new product launch.

In my blogs I write a lot about the first moment of truth: merchandising! However, a consumer package must engage during all moments of truth including product use and end of life. To round things out a little, I am dedicating this blog to the structural side of the packaging development journey.

Consumers experience your product throughout its entire life and every touch from purchase to end of life impacts repeat purchase decision.

Ok, lets get started!

Form a packaging development team now to ensure you get our packaging done right and on time. Include your package designer and printer partners as well as a representative from each department from regulatory to marketing.


Please do write a packaging brief approximately 1 year in advance of your product launch, particularly if you are disrupting a product category. Get in front of your designer and printer soonest with the brief (like you just said in your product development meeting). Discuss discuss merchandising possibilities and what packaging materials to consider. Form the project team.

It takes a village of packaging pro’s to develop delightful packaging that engages consumers and leads to repeat purchase. Packaging is an important touch point for brands and as mentioned at the beginning of the blog, while attracting consumers at the retail shelf is important there are other packaging characteristics that contribute to repeat purchase.

Good packaging delights consumers during all moments of truth.

Consumers open, close, transport and read packaging through out the entire life of the product, and hopefully repurpose the packaging at end of life too. That continued consumer interaction during the product life cycle is what creates an emotional bond with a brand and makes package design decisions important.

The package is the product!

When developing consumer packaging structures, consider the entire product life cycle during all moments of truth:

  1. The zero moment of truth – The on-line google moment
  2. The first moment of truth -Merchandising for consumer purchase decision
  3. The second moment of truth – Designing for ease of use at home or on the go
  4. The third moment of truth – Consumer options to repurpose or recycle

Here are some structural considerations for the package design process:

  1. Re-closures – make it easy for consumers to open and close the packaging. Consider recessed closures for folded carton to help save $$ and material use.
  2. Handles – if your product is bagged or a multi-pack, consider a handle to help the consumer transport it.
  3. Materials – use recycled content and single material constructions where possible. Many packages today are multiple layers of different materials making them a challenge to recycle.

TIP:  Always ask your designer and printer to mock up of the packaging design during the design process and before signing off. Even if it is a miniature mock up, it pays to mock it up and see your final packaging in merchandised form.

One of my favourite structural packages:

As a hobby baker I buy sugar regularly. Redpath Sugar here in Toronto has designed one of my packaging faves. I bought Redpath sugar  in a plastic tub 4 years ago and continue to refill the tub regularly. The tub fits well into my pantry, is easy to open and close and there is no mess when I dispense the sugar (bags can be messy when measuring). I’m doing my bit to help the environment by reusing this branded tub!  The tub is 4 years old and is still my “go to” sugar vessel for baking. Looks good and works well!  PS –  I was not involved in the design of this particular packaging.

Take a look:


What are your thoughts on ideal packaging structures? I’d love to hear your comments.

Thank you for reading my blog.


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