STRUCTURAL PACKAGING DESIGN MISTAKES YOU SHOULD AVOID

Posted on 09/08/2022 | 5 minutes read

"For instance, when it comes to 3D capability, most brands are of the assumption that agencies that can successfully handle 2D can also handle 3D. Unfortunately, that's not always the case – 3D branding requires much more expertise and skill that 2D agencies may not be equipped with."

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Regardless of whether they deal in alcoholic beverages, foodstuff, or any other product category, brand owners always seek ways for their packaging to add value to their customers beyond the point of sale. Leading brands achieve this by enhancing customers' experiences in meaningful, unique, and enduring ways –for instance, by addressing environmental sustainability issues or through the insightful addition of functional benefits.


Structural packaging has arguably never had a greater impact on brand owners than it does today. More and more brands are looking up to design agencies for their structural packaging projects. And whereas this is a good thing, brands should exercise caution when selecting agencies to partner with. Structural packaging design involves numerous complexities that, if not handled carefully, may thwart the project and result in losses that would have been easily avoided.


For instance, when it comes to 3D capability, most brands are of the assumption that agencies that can successfully handle 2D can also handle 3D. Unfortunately, that's not always the case – 3D branding requires much more expertise and skill that 2D agencies may not be equipped with.


Knowing the mistakes that brands and agencies make while working on their packaging design projects can help you avoid making such mistakes. Here is an outline of the six most common ones:



MISTAKE №. 1 

ASSUMING YOUR PREFERRED GRAPHICS AGENCY HAS 3D EXPERTISE


While there are numerous skills and strategies that make structural packaging and excellent customer experience possible, only a handful of 2D branding firms are equipped with those skills. Customers seek convenience and prefer getting everything under one roof. As such, they will readily invest in the eagerness that their go-to agency portrays for the 3D opportunity. And to be honest, you can't really blame the agency for believing in their abilities and relishing the challenge –but most often, the tasks turn out to be beyond their comfort zone.



MISTAKE №. 2

UNDERESTIMATING THE COMPLEXITY INVOLVED IN STRUCTURAL PACKAGING PROJECTS


Branding agencies often underestimate the difficulty of 3D projects and, as a result, tend to call on freelancers to support them. In most cases, freelancers aren't always the right people for the job. Besides that, top 3D freelancers are usually booked several months in advance before the project's start date. This pushes branding agencies to go for the less skilled freelancers available at that point in time.


That said, even if a freelancer is up to the task at hand, they can end up taking the direction of client service firms who may not be suited to oversee this aspect of 3D projects.


Suppose you decide to use a freelancer for your structural custom packaging project, book them as early as possible, and let them lead or influence the project as an integral figure in the project team.



MISTAKE №. 3

ASSUMING THAT 3D PROJECT DESIGNS AND TIMELINES ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE OF 2D


Upon the signing off of the final design, 2D projects can be implemented and launched relatively quickly. With most brand owners familiar with such timelines, and their minds (understandably) paying more focus on the short-term goals instead of long-term objectives, structural packaging projects tend to be hurried. However, higher investment and longer project timelines not only ensure that projects refine and develop logically, but also translate into viable results through the use of appropriate tools and streamlined production.


Ultimately, for structural packaging products to bear meaningful results, brand owners need to be realistic about timelines and costs and not see them as similar to 2D initiatives.



MISTAKE №. 4

USING 2D FIRMS TO HANDLE 3D PROJECTS


Many agencies describe themselves as being 'multidisciplinary' when, in the real sense, they are not. To qualify as a multidisciplinary agency, a company must have full representation of all the creative disciplines from the top-level down. Simply hiring people with the assumption that they will instantly fit into an existing structural packaging unit is one of the biggest mistakes that agencies make. Sound recruitment policies play a crucial role in ensuring that projects are led creatively and strategically by people who understand the complexities of different challenges.


With that in mind, brands should do their due diligence to ensure that their projects are handled by companies that have the resources that will ensure that their projects are actualized in the best way possible. They shouldn't rely entirely on the presentations of a design agency.



MISTAKE №. 5

NEGLECTING THE IMPORTANCE OF A TRANSPARENT TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION WHEN WORKING ON THE PROJECTS


Throughout the structural packaging design process, there are several decisions to be made. From briefing to development of concepts, all the way through prototyping, tooling, and validation, it's vital to maintain the intent of the design and ensure that all physical attributes, brand values, and consumer benefits manifest in the final product.


Structural packaging provides a wider range of opportunities to communicate and secure brand loyalty. As such, it requires continuous liaison and mutual commitment throughout the project for it to be the market-changer you desire it to be.


That said, to attain the best results, promote trust and brand loyalty and ensure that the packaging results were exactly as was intended, an efficient two-way communication throughout the entire process can help you achieve this feat.



MISTAKE №. 6

ASSUMING THAT HIGH-QUALITY VISUALS SHOULD GO RIGHT INTO PRODUCTION


With the advancements in technology and the availability of software that can communicate concepts clearly and realistically, agencies can now present ideas with more detail, depth, and finesse than ever before. This has led to clients (brands) falling in love with preliminary designs to the point of wanting to make them right into production.


While it's great to hit the mark and impress the client, it's also important to explain to them that a given idea you presented to them is just a preliminary concept – this will ensure that they don't hurriedly go with it into production before it's completed and approved.



EXPERIENCE DESIGN FUSED WITH METHOD AND CREATIVE THOUGHT


One of the grave mistakes most brands make with their packaging design is making them too generic. Your packaging needs to ensure that your products stand out when placed alongside a competitor's and that their messaging be easily understandable by the customers. A professional designing firm can help you nail this challenge.


At Arc & Co., we actualize the art and science of design as it engages with the art and science of commerce. By developing a spatial architecture that methodically cradles public engagement with high-level conceptual theories, we enable your brand to transcend from the realm of surface messaging to pure experimental communication. Contact us for more information on our services.



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ABOUT ARC & CO. DESIGN COLLECTIVE


Arc & Co. Design Collective transforms your brand messages into engaging physical brand experiences that increase your brand's perceived value and loyalty with your customers. By utilizing our proprietary FOUR Dimensions Framework™, we strategize, conceptualize, innovate and design experiential packaging and brand activation spaces that will complement your business and keep you ahead of the competition.


Get in touch with us to discover how we can assist in integrating a physical brand experience into your marketing strategy.

TL ; DR NOTES

Knowing the mistakes that brands and agencies make while working on their packaging design projects can help you avoid making such mistakes. Here is an summary of the six most common ones:



Assuming your preferred graphics agency has 3D expertise.



Underestimating the complexity involved in structural packaging projects.



Assuming that 3D project designs and timelines are similar to those of 2D.



Using 2D firms to handle 3D projects .



Neglecting the importance of a transparent two-way communication when working on the projects.



Assuming that high-quality visuals should go right into production.

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