10 Steps to Create Stand Out Packaging Design

Posted by: Amanda Mulquiney - 20.10.23

Packaging design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a strategic powerhouse that can set your product apart. It’s that “make-or-break” moment when a shopper chooses your brand over the competition. We’re on a mission to supercharge your packaging design, to help you turn it into an irresistible magnet that not only wins you lifelong customers but keeps them coming back for more.

In this post, we provide a simple “101” on packaging design, to make sure you’ve considered the essentials before you kickstart your next project.

Did you know?

Shoppers take a mere 5-7 seconds to decide on a purchase in-store.

It’s a lightning-fast decision, often influenced by packaging design.

Just as first impressions matter in person, your packaging has a brief 7 seconds to shine. When your retail packaging stands out and captivates, it’s a game-changer for brand perception.

According to Meyers: 1/3 of purchasing decisions are based on packaging alone and believe it or not

66% of consumers saying they’d try a new product because of the packaging

And on the average supermarket trip, you can be exposed to over 40,000 different products all vying for your attention. Needless to say, the competition is fierce.

So, enough with the numbers…What can you do about it?


Let’s get one thing straight – the customer is the ultimate decision-maker. They’re the ones who choose between your product and the others on the market. That’s why, before you even think about packaging design, you need to understand your customer inside and out. A winning package design doesn’t just catch the eye; it speaks to the mind and heart, standing tall on store shelves, conveying key features and benefits, all while embodying your brand’s essence…

That’s no small feat!


Working with your packaging design agency

You should join forces to:

  • Understand Your Audience: Reflect on your customers – who are they, and what drives their choices? Your packaging should speak their language, both visually and emotionally. How can you create that connection?
  • Choosing the Right Outputs: Will it primarily be online or in-store? Do you need secondary or tertiary packaging for storing in the warehouse or for shipping purposes. Kill two birds with one stone and cover all these off for consistency and make it easier on the marketing purse strings in the process!
  • Materials Matters: While some products dictate their packaging materials, others offer flexibility. What materials align with your product’s essence, and how do they reflect your brand’s values?
  • Embracing Sustainability: In an era of eco-consciousness, ponder the environmental impact of your packaging. Are there sustainable materials and practices that align with your brand’s mission? More on this on point #10.
  • Information: This might sound simple, but what needs to be on your packaging. Do you have minimal branding in mind? If it’s a food product, do you have all the ingredients and nutritional information? Get all this finalised early on. It’ll save you precious time and money in the process.



Once you’ve grasped the essence of your audience, it’s time to shift the focus to what your design revolves around. It’s not just about having fancy ideas; it’s about ensuring they align seamlessly with the product’s purpose. The more creatively you merge form and function, the more it will command attention on the shelf. However, it’s important to bear in mind the true nature of your product. Not every item requires a groundbreaking design. 

Take, for instance, the humble cereal box. It needs to be user-friendly for both kids and adults, capable of standing independently, and keeping the cereal intact, and designed for easy pouring. If you can conceive a concept that surpasses this, don’t hesitate to explore it and try something new! In the end, innovative design is about striking a harmonious balance between aesthetics and utility. So, as you embark on this journey with your creative packaging agency, ask yourself a question: Does this design infuse originality while ensuring the design serves its purpose flawlessly?


Sit back and relax whilst your packaging design agency work on all the practical details from: Functionality, Branding, Graphic design, Placement of information, Typography, Packaging shape and dimensions and much more to bring your ideas to life. They will consider how you want your brand to be “seen” and if executed well should lead to user generated content once your packaging has the “share factor”.

74% of 18–25-year-olds would share an image of product packaging through social media


Stand-out packaging goes beyond the design and should be considered as part of your integrated marketing plan.

Consider: How might packaging influence your photography or other marketing campaigns? Does the tone of voice fit the brand and the concept? Finally, will it look as good printed as it does on screen.


Take the most recognisable thing about your brand and amplify it to create impact. For example, is your biggest selling factor the ingredients, value or a distinctive brand logo, or recognisable character? 

Make this the star of the show on your packaging.

Check out Fudge, one of our Photography Clients, who get their packaging design on point!


The power of colour in branding, especially in packaging design, is nothing short of remarkable. Colours have the ability to evoke emotions, convey messages, and trigger associations. The choice of colour can influence a customer’s perception of a product’s quality, its personality, and even its cultural relevance. 

From the calming blues of trusted household brands to the vibrant, energetic reds of youthful products, each hue tells a unique story. In the crowded aisles of a store, it’s often colour that catches the eye first, making it an indispensable tool for brand recognition and recall. 

TIP: If you want tips for choosing the right colour palette for your brand, home or advertising, we recommend diving into our latest podcast with Dulux’s Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford. She discusses all things colour and provides plenty of food for thought. Watch it now on Spotify


When you’re tasked with designing packaging for a range of products within the same product line, it’s essential to create a cohesive visual identity that ties them together. This can be achieved through consistent branding elements such as logos and colours. Striking the right balance between uniformity and room for distinctiveness is key. The aim is to ensure that these products not only function as a harmonious group but also clearly convey their belongingness to the same family.


As a marketer, you know your work is never complete. When it comes to packaging design, the possibilities are endless. Explore various ways to present the information you want to convey to your consumers on the package. Create mock-ups of different ideas and assess them both personally, with key stakeholders and, last but not least, with the public. 

Get feedback and conduct testing through your social media channels. Engage your top loyal customers or influencers. Consider hosting workshops and soft rollouts before committing to your final design choice. It’s all part of the meticulous process of perfecting your packaging design. After all, when you take the plunge, getting your packaging wrong can be an expensive mistake that’s hard to roll back.

52% of online shoppers say they would shop again from a business if it included premium packaging.


Don’t let a great design fall down because you’ve scrimped on the final materials.

This isn’t the same as printing a document – not even close. Work with an agency that is used to working with specialist package printing and is able to meet your demands, at scale.

Don’t leave this to the end – This should be taken into consideration near the beginning of the design process to ensure that all of your hard work pays off in the finished product.


33% say they have rejected a purchase because of unsustainable packaging

As of January 2023, the percentage for consumers that are demanding sustainable packaging has risen to 81%, another huge jump towards eliminating plastic waste.  Protega Global / Drapers. What’s more, 90% of product packaging is reused which means that your brand reach extends far beyond the initial purchase (BrandPackaging.com).

A clear message to businesses that sustainable packaging is the way forward!


Getting your packaging wrong could be a time-consuming or expensive task that’s difficult to undo. Creativity combined with smart thinking and pixel perfect production could be your opportunity for your product to stand out amongst the crowd (and on the shelf). 


Got a new product launch on the horizon?

Is it time for a packaging refresh?

Our specialist packaging design team create high-impact designs, steered by market insight and strategy to help get you noticed – and boost sales.

Let’s chat about how we can help.

Image Credits: The images displayed in this blog are used for illustrative purposes and may not necessarily represent the specific services we have rendered for our clients. We have used client imagery across a range of areas including: packaging, photography and CGI. For full details visit our packaging page or better give us a call and we’d love to show you our portfolio in more detail!