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Product Packaging Designs

7 Common Mistakes in Product Packaging Designs and How to Avoid Them

by Ruhia

Children these days are very environmentally conscious. After all, they grew up hearing about the casual slash and burn of Mother Earth’s rainforests. Yet despite our progress in recycling, humans still waste a gargantuan amount of paper; approximately 85,000,000 tons per year to be precise. Some of the biggest paper wasters are the ones you wait for at your doorstep every day: packages. Mistakes in product packaging designs often lead to further paper wastage in an industry that already wastes it on a daily basis. Companies can make a big difference by reducing the packing peanuts and plastic sleeves they use.

Having the right product packaging ideas not only saves the environment, though. It saves you money and time.

Read on as we discuss seven mistakes you might be making in your packaging design ideas.

1. Mistakes in Product Packaging Designs: Over Packaging

Everyone has received a product packaging design that was wasteful with materials. As an example, you get a large, yet lightbox. You open it, only to discover a single small item such as wrapped pair of jeans.

Of course, some of this is just how fulfillment centers pack their trucks. You have no control over Amazon if they decide to use overlarge boxes for small shipments. You can, however, keep packing to a minimum on your product boxes specifically.

Packaging for large products these days is often highly efficient. Fragile items like television monitors make use of the spaces in their Styrofoam bumpers to store new cables and user guides. Boxes are formfitting, matching the dimensions of their product closely to avoid being overlarge.

In other words, avoid using too much material. Maximize the packing materials you typically use. This makes for less waste, an easier unpacking experience, and more efficient bulk shipping.

2. Overusing Non-Recyclable Materials

Think of the last time you purchased an electronic device. There were likely oodles of plastic. Plastic charger covers, plastic USB caps, plastic screen protectors, and so on.

The concern here is not just the environment; plastic does not biodegrade for hundreds of years. It’s also that that little plastic adds up over time. Teeny tiny product packaging costs like this bleed your budget in a way accountants won’t notice for years.

Instead, consider becoming a packaging minimalist. Sony and other major companies have given us an excellent example. They use all paper packaging that limits reliance on plastic air bumpers and cable wrappers.

The irony is that these environmentally friendly package methods haven’t been an inconvenience. On the contrary, companies often spend less on product packing.

3. Using the Wrong Packaging Type for Delicate Items

Amazon may be the king of shipping, but they have their fair share of failures. One example is how they have traditionally packaged their Kindle readers. To be more efficient, they store Kindles in formfitting boxes with no shock-resistant material in between.

The result has been predictable: shattered screens and warped Kindles. For Amazon, this has just been the cost of doing business. Yet for a smaller company, this could be fiscal suicide.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use manila envelopes to deliver computer tablets. Make sure your packaging fits its contents. Don’t spare integrity for cost savings.

4. Incorporating Misleading Packaging

Have you ever opened a bag of chips only to discover it was a quarter full? This is a frustrating experience for the consumer. It may just take them to social media, where they will post about your misleading advertising for all to see.

This is especially the case for food. Don’t use packaging that makes the portion sizes look bigger, or portrays a different physical appearance. It’s not worth the extra sales to trick customers.

5. Using Hard-to-Read Fonts

It adds some great style to use a medieval font for your medieval-themed chips. But it may lead to frustration when the customer tries to read the “About Us” on the back of the bag. Instead of looking cutesy, your product looks annoying.

Take extra care when choosing fonts. Allow for some artistic flair, but not so much that there is a challenge when reading. Remember, there may be some of your audience that is dyslexic or older.

6. Using Unconventional Package Shapes

Every company is looking for a way to catch the customer’s attention and keep it. One way that many companies choose to do this is by employing a unique type of packaging. For example, shipping a bike in a bike-shaped package, rather than a rectangular one.

The problem here isn’t one for the customer; it’s one for everyone else. This creates difficulties in shipping, often requiring your fulfillment centers to waste more packaging on it. It presents additional opportunities for the packaging to take damage in transit.

Then there is the work on your end. Unconventional shapes cost more to produce and take more of your time to box up. Keep it simple and go with the standard shapes. 

7. Packaging That Is a Headache to Open

Think back to the last time you bought something that came in that hard, sealed-shut plastic package. It’s incredibly durable and able to resist a ton of abuse before reaching store shelves or a doorstep. Yet it requires a set of garden shears to rip it open.

Customers hate this packaging type with a passion. It’s not just the inconvenience; it’s the risk that it poses. These packaging types can slice your hand open as can the scissors you use to hack them open.

It’s understandable that durability and theft-proof packaging is important. But don’t prioritize these things too much over the customer unboxing experience. After all, they might film and upload the experience to the internet.

Make Effective Packaging Today

Mistakes in product packaging designs are all too common in a world dominated by online commerce. People open hundreds of packages each year, so they’ll notice if yours is subpar. Avoid the above mistakes and make unboxing a pleasure, not a pain. Follow our blog for more tips and tricks you can put to work for your business.

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