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The 3 Key Elements of Succesful Packaging Design

The 3 Key Elements of Succesful Packaging Design

A convincing packaging design is characterized by three essential aspects that together form a system that both satisfies the consumer and makes the brand successful. It is important to consumers that their preferred brand products are quickly recognizable and that different product types can be distinguished at a glance. This results in three central requirements for a packaging design: creating a strong brand bracket, complying with category codes and ensuring clear product differentiation.

1. Creating a strong brand bracket


The creation of a strong brand bracket is of crucial importance for the successful packaging design of an entire range. This brand staple not only serves to bundle the brand’s portfolio, but also to emphasize its independence and character. There are various approaches to establishing such a brand bracket and using it effectively. A striking logo, for example, can serve as a central element to strengthen brand cohesion. However, care should be taken to ensure that the logo does not become too dominant and leaves room for other important design elements. In addition to the logo, the choice of a unique brand color can also help to visually unify the brand portfolio (e.g. Milka).

However, this also poses the challenge that the graphic implementation of category codes and variety differentiation can be impaired. A special brand element or a label can also act as a brand bracket and contribute to the brand’s recognizability.

It is important that these elements are not only visually appealing, but can also take on a communicative role to support or explain the brand motif. In addition, a structured label mechanic or a clear division of the design elements can help to create a clear information architecture and strengthen brand cohesion. Ultimately, it is crucial that the chosen brand staple both reflects the identity of the brand and is flexible enough to adapt to the demands of the market and successfully present the brand portfolio.

2. Comply with category codes


The inclusion of category codes is an essential part of effective packaging design. These codes are crucial to ensure that products can be quickly identified visually as part of a particular category. This involves ensuring that drinks are recognized as drinks, packet soups as packet soups and sweets as sweets – at first glance.

However, adhering to these codes also offers scope for creativity and innovation. A disruptive design can certainly help to attract consumer attention as long as it respects the basic category codes. The goal is to develop a packaging design that is both easily recognizable and stands out from the crowd.
This means that packaging designers have the opportunity to interpret traditional codes in new ways to create unique visual identities.

For example, unconventional color combinations or unexpected graphic elements can be used to grab consumers’ attention while still adhering to basic category codes. An outstanding example of a completely disruptive approach can be found in the area of feminine hygiene products. Brands like Einhorn have deliberately ignored the traditional category codes and revolutionized the market.

Overall, it is important to strike a balance between adhering to category codes and creating an appealing and differentiating design. This is the only way a brand can ensure that its products are easily identifiable while also having the potential to stand out from the competition and attract consumer attention.

3. Ensuring clear variety differentiation


In most cases, consumers know what they want to buy. This also means that they generally have a particular variety in mind. Standing in front of the shelf, they want to quickly discover their culinary object of desire without having to make any effort whatsoever. Brands should therefore pay great attention to clear variety differentiation.

As with brand brackets and category codes, there are several possible solutions. A color coding system is often used. However, this only works if there are a maximum of five varieties of the respective product. Otherwise it quickly becomes confusing. Alternatively, typography and/or food shots, for example, can also ensure differentiation.

The packaging size or shape can also play an important role in differentiating between varieties. Different sizes or shapes within a product line allow the consumer to quickly choose between different variants. Another option is to use symbols or icons to indicate the respective variety or flavor. These visual cues allow consumers to easily identify their preferred variant, even if they do not read the product text directly. Overall, it is important that the variety differentiation is clear and intuitive in order to offer the consumer a pleasant shopping experience and at the same time strengthen brand loyalty.


A convincing packaging design is characterized by a strong brand bracket that bundles the brand portfolio and emphasizes the character of the brand. It is important that the design remains within the respective category codes to enable clear allocation. In addition, simple variety differentiation should be ensured so that consumers can find their preferred variant quickly and easily. All these aspects must be integrated into a functioning and adaptable system. It should be easy to add new varieties without changing the existing system or confusing the consumer. This is the only way a packaging design can be successful in the long term and strengthen brand loyalty.

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