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Five Pitfalls to Avoid During Package Design

March 24, 2015

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Designing a package seems to be a straightforward process. Unfortunately, when companies embrace this notion, they compromise their brand, their supply chain, and even their financials.

The professionals at Studio One Eleven, the design and innovation division of Berlin Packaging, have more than 150 years of combined experience creating successful packaging across all markets. Here are common pitfalls they see—as well as tips for avoiding them:

·         Jumping into ideation without a solid foundation. Brand positioning, consumer insights, competitors' strengths and weaknesses, market trends—these factors and many others are the building blocks of a proper design process. But many agencies overlook or simply don't seek out these critical inputs. Designing great packaging requires a full and accurate analysis of where, how, and for whom a package must perform, addressing factors from costs to merchandising to sustainability.

·         Designing without regard for the rest of the supply chain. A good package solution is much more than a compelling visual; it's a well-reasoned response to a commercial opportunity that can be manufactured efficiently and flow smoothly through the whole supply chain.

·         Thinking too narrowly. It's important to appreciate the visual vernacular of the product category in which you're competing, but groundbreaking solutions also take cues from outside the category and challenge conventions in ways that consumers appreciate.

·         Designing for the sake of design. Properly framed, design is the creative means to a commercial end. Marketers and brand owners want to engage partners and advocates who pursue a common-sense goal of building a successful brand.

·         Accepting misaligned incentives. Agencies that sell their time are, by definition, driven to take more of it, sometimes placing their financial incentives at odds with their client's need for speed and efficiency. On the other hand, package manufacturers are incented to fill machine capacity, so their decisions aren't driven by the best solution for the brand, but rather the best solution that they can manufacture. You should pay only for real performance and ensure that your interests and those of your partners are aligned.

"There are lots of players in the market today that say they're qualified to develop a product or package. Very few, however, have the skills, the tools, the aligned incentives, and a certified process to do so properly," said Scott Jost, Vice President of Innovation & Design at Studio One Eleven. "With all that is at stake, companies are wise to work with a team that is well-versed in every aspect of developing this critical business asset."

Studio One Eleven's newly-refreshed website, www.studio111design.com, features a huge array of content that informs package and product design decision-makers. The site includes information about the Studio One Eleven team, an overview of their practice areas and ISO-certified design process, examples of their work, white papers, and more insight on what sets Studio One Eleven apart.

"With hundreds of custom components developed every year, we offer our world-class services at no charge in exchange for the client's packaging business. Packaging is the currency we use, which makes perfect sense given Berlin Packaging's packaging expertise and entrepreneurial approach to doing whatever it takes to increase our customers' bottom lines," Jost noted. "We want to help our customers package more profit."

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