Authenticity is a crucial brand value and design cue that confirms in consumers' minds whether a product is premium quality. It's a concept that can be reinforced through packaging for positioning a brand across a wide range of various products. Here's a deeper look at what qualifies a product to be authentic and how it can be communicated through packaging design.
Qualities of Authenticity
Perceptions of human craftsmanship and production methods stand out in the minds of premium customers who seek authenticity. Labor-intensive production is associated with authenticity and linked with devotion to quality. That's why it's common for brands to point out craft techniques in promotions. Designers can capitalize on this perception by using design literature that links the product with authentic experiences.
Even mass produced items can be associated with handcrafted processes and still be perceived as having authenticity. Specific materials, shapes, textures and graphics can communicate a sense of craftsmanship. Paper or cardboard wrapping can further play a role in creating the perception of a handcrafted product.
Studies show consumers do not associate over the top packaging with authenticity. The more commercial a package looks, the more it's perceived as artificial by those who seek premium items. But consumers don't just automatically believe something is authentic because packaging literature says so. Burden of proof is still on the manufacturer to live up to its packaging claims.
When consumers make connections between packaging claims and experiences, it develops a level of trust through the customer journey. Reinforcing the brand's values of authenticity is important to solidify the connection for convincing people to become regular loyal customers to a brand they consider to be genuine.
So making sure the claims and imagery of the packaging match the experience is a big part of successfully convincing consumers a brand is authentic, therefore delivers premium quality.
The longer a brand has been around and associated with authentic values, the more likely it will be perceived as a premium brand. Promoting something based on when the company was founded is a way of saying the brand has paid its dues and has stayed committed to business survival by offering quality over many years.
A perception of brand authenticity can revolve around the company's central figures. If the founder is regularly in the news about living up to his or her values that the firm was based on, it can go a long way in the minds of followers. In that sense authenticity is closely related to trust, as the more consumers trust a brand's leadership and processes as dedicated to quality, the more they will accept it as a premium brand.
Older consumers of premium brands have seen competitors come and go over the years and are used to market changes. When they view their favorite brand as outlasting competitors, it helps build a level of trust that the brand has built a durable legacy due to quality. This notion makes consumers feel special they support such a brand and have helped kept it in business as loyal followers.
The idea that a product has authenticity can be conveyed by promoting its simplicity and heritage. It's the packaging designer's job to communicate these notions through images, shapes and textures. If the designer can relate the packaging to authentic experiences it can help create the impression of a premium brand.
 "Desjardin Cataloge (2020)", by Eric Stefan Kandelin Koons
 "Designing a Premium Package: Some Guidelines for Designers and Marketers(2014)", by Ruth Mugge, Thomas Massink ,Erik Jan HultinkLianne van den Berg-Weitzel