As a designer working for a packaging manufacturer (in my case plastic containers), I found the recent article “Pack knacks” (MW September 22) and the issues it raised most interesting. However, as usual when the subject of design, branding and packaging is raised, one element is overlooked.
Effective pack design, whether the result is achieved by creative inspiration or a 13-point plan, can enhance or revitalise brand image. Nevertheless, we are talking here mainly about appearance. And if the consumer has problems with the packaging, whether it is in handling, opening, storing or any other aspect, then any favourable perceptions go straight out of the window.
Practicality is also essential to ensure a pack can fit easily into existing production and packaging operations. This is an area that is often overlooked, much to the chagrin of the poor production department.
Design-speak is all about creativity, aesthetics, image and flair. “Practicality” seems almost a dirty word. Yet without it, a pack design is doomed. And it doesn’t have to be at the expense of creativity. The two are a formidable combination.
What often happens is that practical considerations are only given last-minute attention when a “finished” design is given to the packaging manufacturer and it proves difficult to produce economically.
Involving packaging manufacturers in the design process at an early stage helps to avoid this. We can be as creative as a design consultancy but with the added advantage of knowing our designs can be produced effectively and efficiently.
Lose sight of practicality and you’re in danger of tarnishing a brand even further.
J P Dale