Removing “You” from the Packaging Design Equation

Written by Aniko Hill for Beauty Packaging Magazine
Embarking on a packaging or re-packaging in any industry can be an overwhelming process for any company owner. In the beauty business, building a brand is much more complicated and subjective compared to tangible tasks, such as product development and formulation, and a brand that is not developed objectively can leave the business owner doubting their brand direction.

In most small- to mid-sized companies, the owner of the company tends to be hands-on in the day-to-day operations of the business, and in many cases has built the product line and brand with little help. Although personal passion is invaluable to building a great brand, it can also translate to a package design that is more tailored to the leader’s personality as opposed to the target market’s sensibilities. The strongest packages are authentic expressions of the brand personality and speak clearly to the audience or consumer. If this principle is not kept in mind, it is incredibly easy to get lost in the brand development process.

Now, I’m not saying that a brand shouldn’t reflect the values and personality of the ownership. In fact, this is often one of the key elements that breathes life into a brand and helps it to stand out in the sea of sameness. If you are considering a rebrand or are looking to develop a new brand, it is absolutely possible to authentically and strategically target the audience without losing sight of your values and vision. The following are just a few basic tips to keep you on track in the process.

Hire a qualified agency.

Whenever possible, it is best to hire an agency that specializes in the holistic process of branding and can execute strategy across multiple platforms consistently – even if you are just looking for help with packaging. A firm with broad experience can help you to accurately target your brand to the audience objectively, allowing you to make a clear judgment about what design may work best for your brand and audience.

Don’t allow too many cooks in the kitchen.

Because branding is highly creative and sometimes subjective, it is easy to fall into the trap of “design by committee” when too many decision makers are placing their personal opinions into the mix. It’s hard enough for business owners to separate their personal feelings and make objective decisions, and the more people involved the more confusing this process can become. The result is often a watered-down, “vanilla” brand that is trying to please so many people that it ends up not making a strong statement of any kind.

Don’t lose your roots.

You have gotten to where you are for a reason, so make sure to analyze which parts of your brand are already successful. It could be a name, a signature product or even a color. Some creative agencies will want to put their own stamp on your brand regardless of your brand’s history, but don’t let them lose sight of things that are important to you.