Your product has about 7 seconds to make an impression. Packaging is what’s giving people the information that will make them quickly decide whether or not to buy. So how can you optimize the “ad space” covering and protecting your merchandise?

We’ve researched what experts like Business Insider, Marketing Sciences, and Simon Sinek have to say about what drives consumer behavior. Here is what to keep in mind when creating your packaging.

The subconscious “sell”

Remember that package influence is mostly subconscious. Symbols, pictures, design, and short phrases affect the consumer. All of these small things carry heavy meaning to the person looking at them:

  • Clarity and convenience. Your product should be easily identifiable amidst other similar merchandise. Your packaging should facilitate fast recognition of the brand and purpose of the item.
  • Aesthetics. Up to a third of decision-making can be based on aesthetics. For the most part, you’re going to focus on elements like font, color, and layout. Different fonts have different personalities; use one that fits the tone of your brand. Don’t sacrifice readability, however. If it’s too difficult to find information or interpret it, your customer will move on. Color is one of the most basic pieces of design. Here are some basics about how colors work subconsciously:
  • Lighter colors convey a more fun, less serious tone. They also “feel” light.
  • Conversely, dark colors relay seriousness. Black also conveys power, control, and a high price.
  • White “feels” innocent, simple, and pure or clean.
  • Red conjures excitement.
  • Yellow suggests happiness.
  • Green is associated with growth and harmony, and often indicates an eco-friendliness.
  • Icons. These are perfect to use because they convey a lot of information in a small space (and in a split second.) For example, a number of cereal brands’ boxes have a heart on them, suggesting the cereal is good for one’s heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Most people will have some kind of emotional reaction – even minutely – to something that is “heart healthy.” A mother could envision the entire life of her child the instant she picks up a cereal box that promises good health. Icons are fast tracks to the emotional part of the brain.

The importance of emotions

So far, we’ve mentioned emotions a few times and how a product element “feels.” That is because the emotional part of the brain is what drives behavior. It is so important to connect with the consumer on this level.

Simon Sinek explains this well in his Ted Talk “How great leaders inspire action.” He discusses how telling people why your business does with it does or why a product is created a certain way is more effective than explaining what the product is or does. He uses Apple as an example:

“If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them might sound like this: ‘We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?’ ‘Meh.’ And that’s how most of us communicate. That’s how most marketing is done, that’s how most sales is done and that’s how most of us communicate interpersonally.

Here’s how Apple actually communicates. ‘Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?’ Totally different right? You’re ready to buy a computer from me.”

Other emotional factors

While color, icons, and font all speak to the limbic (emotional) part of the brain, there are additional ways to accomplish this.

  • Environmental responsibility. Whether or not a person seeks out an eco-friendly product, knowing that something is safe for the environment greatly influences decisions. People feel as though they are making a responsibly sound choice when they opt for eco-friendly. If your product or packaging is earth-friendly, make it clear to the consumer.
  • Multi-purpose. If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you know people like to repurpose just about everything. If your product comes in a bag or box that can be used for something else, the consumer associates it with fun, social sharing, cleverness, and/or convenience.
  • Premium packaging. If you’re asking the consumer to spend a little more for a higher quality product, convey that with durable or elegant packaging. If your product is fun, spend more to make the packaging fun.

It’s amazing how big of a message one little box can send. Ask yourself what the “why” behind your product is, or how the item will make the consumer feel. Connect to the causes your consumers stand for. Invoke the right emotions with the look and feel of your packaging, and you’ll win the heart of the consumer.

Vinyl Art works hard to meet custom demands when our competitors can’t. We’ve invested in the tools and equipment to create quality vinyl products that reflect the strong reputation of your business.

We work with retailers and innovators across the country to provide quality, eco-friendly products. Whether you need display holders, ticket/price holders, or flexible packaging, we can help you. For more information, contact us at 800-569-1304 or