The role of package design also known as brand packaging is of crucial importance in the marketing of a product. Packaging not only conveys information about the features of the product but also the vision of a brand.
Packaging is also used to manipulate the psychology of the buyer. All the elements of design, i.e., form, color, font, logo, and illustration are used in an increasingly competitive market to attract the attention of customers.
The main functions of packaging of course are to shield its content from mechanical damage and includes cushioning against the mechanical shock, vibration, electrostatic discharge, compression, temperature, and leakage, to provide instructions as how to assemble, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product, to provide ease of handling in storage, distribution, and recycling or disposal, and to protect from the contamination, oxidization, and radiation. These considerations can impose challenging limits on design, but good designers can overcome these constraints and transform them to their advantages.
A sophisticated, elegant and attention-grabbing look is the most essential feature for marketing of a product. However, it is not enough for a package design to just stand out clearly in the monotonous competitive environment, and to be just surprising among a bunch of competitive products cannot guarantee to create consumer loyalty. Truth and honesty in conveying the pertinent information are the essential factors for long term success. Only then one can expect a payoff for extra efforts in design of a package.
Aesthetics and elegance are major differentiating features for an outstanding package and beautiful packaging design in itself would be informative about the quality of a product. In today’s hegemony of mass production most consumers would be delighted to experience a little bit of art in the banality of everyday life! However, an agreeably decorated package design must work in tandem with the functionality of the product. Protection against contaminant, mechanical shocks, light and oxidization must be fully accommodated by design. Value Packaging is an excellent way to communicate sophistication, class and value.
The modern consumer packaging was born by an accident. In 1840 the hand-folded carton, was invented to protect highly expensive items such as jewelry. However in 1879, a careless error by an employee of the Robert Gair Company in New York, who severely damaged many boxes by setting the creasing blade at a wrong height resulted in invention of folding cartons. The idea popped out in the mind of Scottish-born Robert Gair, the proprietor of the paper bag factory in Brooklyn, who after inspecting the error of his employee thought why not to set the press machine's sharp cutting blades at two different heights one for creasing and one for cutting. The idea to use the same machine to print, crease and cut folding cartons was born, saving sharply the production costs relative to the old procedure, in which box sheets had to be scored by a press and then the necessary cuts were applied using a guillotine knife by hand -- one by one.
The Gair’s new single machine was now able to produce his entire one-day factory’s output, of 1,875 boxes, in just two and half hours which made mass producing of foldable boxes quite inexpensive. However, at first, Gair’s major clients like Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Colgate, Ponds, and tobacco manufacturer P. Lorillard did not show much enthusiasm for his mass-produced boxes and the demand remind rather small. Nevertheless, he got his first break when National Biscuit Company decided on a strategy to take on its rival Cracker Jacks and in 1896 invested $1 Million to create a brand identity for its Uneeda Biscuits. This was the first time that a product was being distributed throughout north America in a folding carton package revolutionising retailing business by moving beyond the local markets.
Uneeda Biscuits were wrapped inside a waxed paper liner inside a tray-style paper carton, and the colorful brand-printed wrapper featured a boy in a raincoat to emphasize the moisture barrier. This allowed preserving biscuits for longer periods and they can now be transported easily in a clean unit-size package.The carton packaging also represented the power of brand advertising that relied on packaging as a sales tool tied to an easily recognizable identity advertised in magazines, and on the billboards.
Shaping of a brand – the case of Coca Cola.
Humans are instinctively sympathetic to all kinds of quiet communications transmitted by forms. Shrewd designers and branding experts take advantage human responses to shape and color to attract their attentions. Commercially minded designers continuously asserts certain rules about shapes which are rather amusing. For example; it's suggested that “vertical lines are subconsciously associated with masculinity, strength and aggression, while horizontal lines point to community, tranquility, and calm”, or “a diamond or star shape might garner attention quicker than a symmetrical shape, such as a square". A CBC program about marketing has suggested
"Fast Company Magazine cites University of Toronto research, where people were placed into brain imaging machines, then shown images of curved and linear products. The results showed that men and women were far more likely to prefer the curved items, and activity was triggered in the part of the brain that is highly involved with "emotion." In another Harvard brain imaging study, people were shown sharp objects with corners, like square watches and pointy couches. Those images triggered activity in another section of the brain – the part that processes fear. Sharp objects have long signaled physical danger, so our brains have come to associate sharp lines with a threat.”All such assertions are just that, assertions. If applying certain rules could assure certain level of success then everybody would just follow those rules to become successful, but this is not the case. A good artistic design creates the most relevant shape simultaneously with the totality of design and that cannot be repeated to become a rule. If somebody imitates the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle that won’t help the sale.
Coca-Cola history began in 1886 when Dr. John S. Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist, created a peculiar soft drink that could be sold at soda fountains. Dr. Pemberton was fortunate to have a genius partner and bookkeeper, by the name Frank M. Robinson, who is credited with suggesting the catchy name “Coca‑Cola” as well as the designing of its wonderful logo. Before his death Dr. Pemberton sold portions of his business to various parties including Asa G. Candler, an Atlanta businessman, who acquired the majority shares. In 1894, Joseph Biedenharn installed bottling machinery in the rear of his Mississippi soda fountain, becoming the first to put Coca‑Cola in bottles. Large scale bottling was made possible just five years later, when in 1899, three enterprising businessmen in Chattanooga, Tennessee secured exclusive rights to bottle and sell Coca‑Cola for just $1.
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