There is a type of art that is simultaneously showcased on billboards, television, in your home, and on the shelves of your local grocery store. Taken for granted by many, the packaging on products is an art form that affects our lives daily.

Packaging is almost omnipresent, and yet vastly underrated by the marketing world and easily forgotten by consumers. Backed by insights, hours of creative work and countless reviews and conversations, packaging is the final frontier of a marketing campaign.

“When you are creating packaging, you are not just designing a shell for the product, you are telling your story through all sides of packaging,” says Creative Director of WhyteSpyder, Wylie McIntyre.

Similar to many different aspects of branding, storytelling is at the center of an excellent packaging design. Packaging is meant to convey the brand’s story of value and loyalty to their target audiences.

“Your packaging message shouldn’t be shouting at people to compete. It should be talking to customers, and providing them with a sense of security that the product is worthy,” McIntyre says.

From photography to verbiage, all points of packaging need to connect to the consumer fast. More than ever, busy consumers need simplicity and clarity to make their decision process easier.

Even before these considerations, however, companies need to taken into account the other crucial role of packaging: Functionality. Packaging is meant to protect the product first, and then showcase it. Durability before design. McIntyre recommends asking yourself two essential questions to start off the creation process:

1. How durable does this packaging have to be?
2. What’s the shelf life of the package?

The packaging has to allow for easy on-shelf storage and shipping, and provide details to the customer about the product while simultaneously drawing attention to itself on a shelf full of competitors. It is a complex task for any agency or company.

The packaging of a brand’s product needs to be taken as seriously as every aspect of a marketing campaign. While this process is sometimes underappreciated, packaging is absolutely critical for the sale.

“If you have marketed elsewhere, created plenty of hype and are successful enough to bring the customer to your product in-store only for them to find underwhelming packaging or a weak packaging message, you will lose the sale to the competitor next to you on the shelf,” McIntyre says. The realm of packaging is not about being pretty. It’s about being relevant.

Do you have questions about packaging? Are you struggling with design choices? Are you having trouble choosing a design software? We welcome your comments and questions below.