7 Steps in The Packaging Design Process

1. Project Brief

  • As obvious as it may sound, one of the most important facets of the packaging design and development process is the brief. Getting the brief wrong is like starting to cook with the wrong ingredients.

  • Gathering input from the client is a critical first step. Do they have any insights they would like to share, are there any existing packages on the market that they absolutely love and why do they love them? Is there something about their product that they believe is the most important attribute outside of brand and product name? Other key information would be:

  • Target audience

  • Competition

  • Product marketing vision

2. Get to Know the Product

  • By this time, you’re starting to warm up for the task ahead of you. At the core of any packaging design and development process is the product that will be contained inside.

  • It is helpful to also get to know the category, who is the competition, what are others in the same space doing well.

  • Head to the store and look at the shelves. What’s there, what’s working, take photos or gather images of competition and get a shelf set together.

3. Know the Target Audience

  • Knowing your target group helps you know who they are, their interests, their aspirations, their needs, etc.

  • Is their data around the target audience, purchasing behaviors, demographics, etc.

4. Channel Chosen to Sell the Product

  • The packaging of a product is dictated by the channel on which it will be sold on. Packaging meant for a mom-and-pop store is different from packaging for a supermarket or an online store. You must understand the channel and the lifecycle of the product all the way through to the customer.

  • Will the packaging end up in multiple channels?

5.Learn from the Competition


It rarely ever happens that there isn’t a competitor in the market selling products like yours. In a situation like this, brands often do one of two things:

  • First - they invest all their expectations in the poor designer hoping to get something different.

  • Second - they mimic their competition so literally that the target group cannot make out the difference between the two brands.

6. Explore and determine package design hierarchy


What is the most important thing on the principal display panel (PDP) of the package, in some cases it is not the brand, in other cases the product itself may be obvious based on photography or clear packaging and thus the actual product name may be secondary or equal to key differentiating attributes.

7. Look for inspiration outside of the category

  • Award winning design is everywhere, some of the best ideas may come from other packaging categories or even designs outside of packaging. As mentioned above, a high-end spirits package may inspire a decadent candy package.

  • We always look for inspiration, typically by reviewing the last few years of publications for design awards and product launch success stories.

  • Start designing. Explore fonts, gather image inspiration if photography is needed


Great packaging design is part science and part art… and it’s truly a skill not available from many design studios. With decades of experience and some of the best designers in the industry, we know we can elevate the look (and sales results) of your product packaging. Contact us today for a no-obligation packaging design consultation.


Fore more information on packaging design click HERE to read our blog about 5 Rules to Follow for Your Packaging Design