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Product knowledge is one of the most crucial elements of packaging design. Without some type of awareness about what the product is or does, it would be difficult for the designer to match the interests of the client and the consumer. Here are ways to build upon product knowledge to integrate in packaging design.

Start with a Client Brief

An effective way to gather knowledge about a product is to take notes during the client brief, which is the first meeting about the design details. The designer should collect a list of facts about the product then present them to the design team. For food products important facts include ingredients and nutritional information. The next step is to brainstorm and come up with ways to embed product qualities into the packaging.

The design team should then consider the appropriate materials for packaging. If the product is a type of health food, for example, it could be presented in a package that conveys sustainability. Treats aimed at affluent consumers who seek luxury and high quality should come in a sophisticated package to match the product sentiment.

Consider Weight and Size

The weight and size of the product will have a direct impact on package design. A designer is expected to understand Net Quantity Declaration, which is a requirement on product labels to identify the net quantity of the product in metric units. They must understand liquids are measured by volume while solid products are measured by the number of units contained in the package.

Learn What's Inside the Product

Many consumers now pay attention to nutrition facts on food labels due to growing health awareness as a way to reduce medical bills. This information can define the appeal of a food product that's high in essential nutrients. Key metrics that nutrition watchers look for to be low in value are calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. Meanwhile, they seek high numbers for protein and fibre.

This information must be included in the nutrition section of the label. Designers should present the data in an easy-to-read box or chart, which consumers appreciate. For health-conscious consumers, the nutrition label is one of the first things they examine and in many cases it's the key to their purchasing decisions.

Make the Package Deliver Knowledge

Consumers like to know what they're buying before they buy it. In periods of economic uncertainty people are often less experimental with spending. The package should help answer basic questions about the product to clarify what it offers. The shape of the package conveys information in the sense that conventional products usually come in square or rectangle containers, other than cans or bottles. Unique products often call for more creative shapes in packaging.

The essence of the product's value and its associated emotions should be presented as a captivating visual with graphics and text. A container for ice cream, for example, usually has an upbeat presentation, whereas a bag of nuts works better with more relaxed earthy imagery. Ideally, the package will become as recognizable as the product and the consumer will make the association.


Packaging designers need to focus on product knowledge as the basis for formulating a design. The more consumers can learn about the product from reading and perceiving what's on the packaging, the closer they will be to deciding on a purchase. Designers should learn why consumers gravitate toward a product, which for food commonly relates to ingredients. The package ultimately must connect with the consumer's mind in terms of capturing attention and delivering information.

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[1]  More articles on "Opportunities for Sustainable Packaging Design (2015)", by Alex Yoon Choi , Dan Lockton, Clare Brass ,John Stevens

Topics: Metal Packaging, Packaging Design