Determine what your packaging needs to do.
Regardless of your product or consumer, at a minimum, your packaging needs to be functional. Even the most attractive, consumer-friendly packaging will fall flat in the market if the function isn’t right for your product or channel. Generally, packaging must protect and transport your product, but what that means can vary strongly depending on your product and its qualities.
To determine the functional needs of your packaging, ask the following questions:
Does the product need protection from heat, air or moisture to stay fresh or maintain product integrity?
Is the product a commodity or a more premium product?
Where will the product be sold? Does it need additional protection in e-commerce? How will it appear on-shelf (standing up, in a secondary package or on a hanging display)?
Do your retailers have any sustainable packaging or label requirements?
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Consumers expect functional packaging as a given. However, you’ll also want to consider other expectations, motivations or needs — even ones they might not even know about. Anticipate what will resonate with your customers by putting yourself in their shoes. What do consumers need to understand (messaging, attributes) about your product to purchase it? Do they need accessibility features, such as laser scoring, or child safety features? Will they expect portability, convenience or sustainability features?
Then, go beyond needs and determine what your packaging design requires to make your product even more memorable. Bold visual design? Dual finishes? Tactile features? Other level-ups?
Consider the story you want to tell, the consumer experience you want to create and the impression of your brand you want to leave. If you view your packaging as a tool that’s just as important as your product, you’ll set yourself up for success.
Get a packaging prototype.
A crucial packaging design tip for startups is to create a prototype. Prototypes help you (and your investors) see and feel how your packaging will come to life on the shelf. They allow you to take the guesswork out of the packaging process by illustrating the end package. Prototypes also allow you to get ahead of errors, further enhance your design and truly put yourself in your consumers’ shoes as you hold the package in your hand. In addition to helping you scale seamlessly, prototypes can aid you in tradeshows, investor presentations, retailer demonstrations or time-sensitive scenarios.Learn more about how packaging prototypes can help you launch your product (and your brand): Belmark Launch™ Prototype program.
Manage your costs — and inventory.
At Belmark, we can help you identify functional, on-brand packaging that creates memorable experiences while also helping you navigate unpredictable markets and retailer and investor expectations. Along with packaging expertise, prototyping, production, and printing capabilities all under one roof, we offer no order minimums and competitive lead times so you can get back to the idea that sparked your startup: your product.