Packaging in a Short Attention-Span Society

Everywhere you go, you see it: packaging.

Whether on a pack of gum or a box of condoms or even on a bottle of your favorite craft beer, you see it. You probably don’t think about it when you go for the package with the bright colors and the intriguing tagline while the other drab packages somehow slip through unnoticed.

Your brain eats up computer images and fast media. Your brain craves something immediately eye-catching and entertaining to the eye.

Your brain craves the same sort of fast images you see on your computer screen. Because of this, you need to use the same principles in your packaging as you would in perhaps designing a website: best known as C.R.A.P.

C.R.A.P goes as follows:

Contrast: You need contrast of color and shapes in order to attract the human eye. The human eye loves contrast. The human eye craves contrast. For example, use complementary colors as they look good together. Also, potential buyers won’t strain their eyes reading the label.

Repetition: In the world of web design, repetition is the concept of using the same style and patterns throughout the whole of the website. While producing your product packaging, this is important for putting a whole brand together. This includes using the same colors, font (face, size, etc.) and the same / similar phrases.

Alignment: When you had to type up a paper for school, you most likely had to format your paper in a certain fashion to keep your paper looking sharp and attractive; a requirement being to align your paper so that everything fit neatly against the left margin for improved readability. In terms of packaging, alignment is placing these words and phrases to do pretty much the same thing. Having your product name centered with whatever small words and phrases on either side is probably the best option. For example, on the front a beer can we usually see the beer name and style, sometimes it’s the brewery name or logo on top. The descriptive copy regarding that particular beer usually ends up on the side or back of the can. Due to the massive amounts of information we take in on a regular basis, we prefer taking in everything we need to know in seconds (Intuition I-10 West Coast IPA, Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout, Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp Belgian-Style India Pale Ale all follow this formula). Otherwise we move on.

Intuition Ale Works 1-10 West Coast IPA
Intuition Ale Works 1-10 West Coast IPA

Proximity: Ever seen a poorly constructed website with words so close together that you got a headache just looking at it? Well, the same idea pertains to product packaging. Using short “straight to the point” phrasing on the package as well as keeping enough white (or whatever color you want your background) space between each individual phrase can alleviate the problem. Definitely leave enough room for your product name. Remember: your product name is the most important item on the package.

Think about your favorite brands and what their packaging looks like. Then refer back to C.R.A.P. Do you think it influences how you choose your products? Sure, it’s a simplistic approach, but a good one to get a basic grasp. Naturally, we feel branding and package design is best left to folks who do it for a living – kinda like brewing beer for mass consumption is something best left to trained and experienced brewers.

Interested in learning how we approach package design or want to discuss this topic some more? Contact us.

Merry Christmas from your design-loving Freaks at The MAD HOUSE.

CHEERS!

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