9 Creative Small Business Packaging Ideas

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Cutting edge materials and technology have been game-changers for small business packaging in recent years. Plain, practical packaging has become a thing of the past. Brands are adopting innovative and unique packaging styles to help make their products stand out from those of their competitors.

As packaging contributes to the overall product experience, it’s important to consumers too.

Small Business packaging can learn from the mega-brands

Mega brands provide their consumers with the ultimate un-boxing experience, thanks to their packaging. Product packaging is always on brand, helping consumers to identify it easily. Layers of packaging, whether void fillers like tissue paper, or soft dust bags for shoes or sunglasses, suggest a luxury product. Combined, premium packaging leaves consumers feeling like they have something special as they un-box a product.

Un-boxing is the first physical touch-point between your business and your customer. A 1992 study found that the quality and decoration of the packaging influences how consumers evaluate the quality and value of the product. You might say, the un-boxing experience is as significant as the product itself. A good experience can promote customer loyalty and retention, as well as satisfaction. And with the trend for unboxing videos via social media, it pays to get it right.

But remember that the protection and preservation of your product are as important as its presentation. Secure packaging will increase shelf life, minimise spoilage, protect against damage and boost your brand.

Your small business needs that boost to make you stand out. Keep your products packaged beautifully with these tips for small business packaging.

True colours

Colour has meaning. There is evidence to suggest that the cultural use of colours as symbols happened as early as 90,000BC. How we interpret the use of colour varies depending on individual associations and learned responses. Interpretation also differs across cultures, as a result of environmental influence, as well as age and gender.

While it’s not possible to account for all interpretations, your packaging is part of your branding. As such, your design should align with your brand palette, and reflect your product and its purpose.

Big brands use colour cleverly. Coca-Cola’s red cans are iconic. They promise a consistent and authentic taste synonymous with the drink, in every can. Apple’s packaging is white, which denotes simplicity; this aligns with its intuitive-to-use products. Its packaging showcases four things: the logo, the product name, a picture of the product, and product information. Paul Smith luxury brand clothes come in elegant packaging. The plain, logoed bags scream ‘money’. They use colours from the designer’s signature stripe pattern. Blue and purple hues coat the ins and outs of the box.

Consider monotone for modern, elegant simplicity; complementary shades or analogous colours (those next to each other on the colour wheel) for health and wellbeing products; bright colours for high-energy items; earth tones for natural products or gender-neutral marketing; eye-catching patterns or contrast prints for stand-out shelf presence. If understated is more in keeping, a simple white box with a contrasting colour sleeve or colour pops is a cost-effective way to introduce a splash of vibrancy with a modern twist.

Small business packaging that thinks outside the box

A rigid box – whatever size and shape it is – presents a multidimensional canvas for your packaging. Contrasting sides, patterned bottoms, stylised images that wrap around the outside – the possibilities are endless. And it doesn’t have to be a box. The same applies to bottles, cans, wraps, and bags: wherever your packaging has a surface, there’s an opportunity for design.

Insignificant elements of construction such as folded flaps have great potential. A fabulous small business packaging idea is the Birdy-Juice Box. The flaps on the box fold out, making it look like a penguin.

birdy juice box

Add compartments inside for separate components. Your product should safely arrive with your customer, looking factory condition.

Limits to packaging design are bare-to-none. It wasn’t so long ago that innovative packaging led to the ground-breaking addition of a small plastic spoon under the lid of ice-cream pots. The shoulder design of a Marmite jar is great. The fact you can store it upside-down allows you to waste less of the product. Foil-lid utensils, food packaging opening to create temporary bowls. Packaging can be heat-proof, ice-proof, collapsible… whatever your product, whomever your target market, there’s packaging that’s perfect for you.

Go eco-friendly

Sustainable packaging has an important role to play. It helps the producer and the consumer reduce their environmental impact, by reducing the ecological footprint of all stages of the product’s life-cycle. The world stage, and the ecological and environmental challenges the world faces, mean that sustainable packaging is not just nice to have – it needs to be the norm. Using recycled paper stock shows that you’ve given thought to the environment and the impact of your business on it.

There are several ways you can make your packaging more sustainable. You could switch to recycled stock components and introduce a natural design to your product packaging. You could look for innovative ways to reduce the amount of packaging you use, like wrapping products instead of boxing them. Or for the ultimate in sustainable packaging, try Kraft’s plant-based poly mailer bag. Sealed with organic glue, making it biodegrade, safely.

Cut it out!

Combine your packaging with the product itself, to allow your consumer a sneak peek of what they’re buying, an example being easter eggs. Inject some humour into your packaging, like the design concept for Nikita’s pasta, which displays pasta as hair.

Die-cutting brings a whole new dimension to packaging. Whether it’s pop-up or punched-out, introducing die-cutting elements to packaging suggests thought and creativity, and is associated with added value, and premium brands, like Dorset Cereals or CaoCao Monkey. Ask us today about our in-house B1 die cutting machine, and how it can add depth to your small business packaging.

It’s a wrap!

Wrapping turns any object into a gift. Unwrapping presents means happy occasions. A 1992 study suggested that this positive conditioning means that unwrapping any product creates a predisposition to happiness.

Tiffany & Co’s white ribbon over simple blue boxes, or Dior’s logoed white on white combination is synonymous with class, and this simple addition to packaging design has been adopted by brands the world over.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts

Humble and much-loved bubble wrap was the inspiration behind the 2020 Nike Air Max.  A bubble presenting the four signature silhouettes showed the iridescent shoes. Food and drink companies have long been letting their products speak for themselves, adopting clear packaging so that consumers can view what they’re buying. One thing many consumers agree, and that is that packaging inserts (pack-ins) add value. They can be easily personalised, for extra wow-factor, and are a sure-fire way to make your brand stand out. From a simple hand-written thank you, to free samples and discount vouchers, your customers will appreciate the sentiment.

Waste not, want not

Cadbury’s heart-shaped chocolate boxes became popular during the Victorian era, when the elite frequently gifted chocolate as tokens of esteem and affection. The beautiful boxes were kept as treasured keepsakes, often on ostentatious display.

The trend to enhance product packaging to be an object of beauty has gone even further. Clever design enables packaging to have another purpose. Portuguese wine brand Tyto Alba (translation barn owl) has box packaging that can be used as a birdhouse. Puma ditched shoeboxes altogether in 2010, launching the Clever Little Bag, shoe packaging that becomes a tote. Clothing brand H&M has devised a bag that can be folded into a hanger.

The shape of things to come

Coca Cola has maintained its bottle shape and its signature red, for over a century. Small tweaks have been made through the years. The shape is so iconic that the bottle can easily be pointed out. Toblerone has its own, eye-catching distinct shape, supposedly inspired by the nearby Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland.

The marketing edge that premium packaging and creative design provide means that the future of packaging promises to be as exciting as it is innovative. Call one of our friendly team members today on 01625 870000 to discuss the Short Run Packaging we can offer, using our in-house press.

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