Stimulate Your Senses
All great product design takes sensory input into account. When automotive designers develop next year’s models, they appeal to their customers’ senses with every aspect of the driving experience. Car companies spend millions to make a closing door sound reassuringly solid, improve the feel of the upholstery and even add engine noise to bring the finished product in line with what customers expect to see, hear and feel. Sensory appeal is an integral part of brand identity, and not just for car makers. The effort that goes into product design should also stimulate customers’ senses even before they open the box. Is your packaging a feast for the senses, or does it leave your customers hungry for more?
Of all the senses you want to please with your product packaging, sight is the most important. The part of your brain that processes vision accounts for about 30 percent of your cerebral cortex. Compare that to the relatively meager 8 percent devoted to processing sensations of touch, and you can understand how vital great visuals are. For almost all of us, seeing is believing. Products and packaging that pack a visual punch invariably draw attention, but it’s worth looking at what makes a design eye-catching:
- Contrast – Our eyes instantly pick out high-contrast areas in our field of vision, so packaging that relies on contrasts in color, brightness and intensity make us stop and take notice.
- Movement – If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of motion out of the corner of your eye, you know how sensitive the human eye is to movement. You may not be able to make your packaging get up and dance, but foils and reflective surfaces are the next best thing because they reflect motion around them.
- Color – Some colors and color harmonies have innate appeal. If you follow this blog, you’ve read a bit about color psychology already. Typically, people look at reds and yellows first, so incorporating them into your product packaging can give you a head start on getting your customers’ attention.
From the satisfying heft of rigid-box packaging to the specific feel of a finish, touch can say a lot about your product. Tactile impressions have only become more important as packaging and binding technology has made new surfaces available. Suede-like synthetic materials, satin and matte laminate films, sleek foils and embossed designs make people want to get their hands on a product’s packaging. You know how important contrast is for visual impact, and it works for tactile packaging, too. Think of holding a cool glass wine bottle with a rough-textured paper label; it leaves an impression that sets that brand apart from the hundreds of others on the shelves. Placing slick foil-embossed design elements on a matte finish also invites touching.
Some textures communicate luxury. Think of the heavy smoothness of a silk scarf, an embossed leather book or the enameled angles of a racing car. Others suggest high-tech applications, such as the almost rubber-like feel of some matte finishes and cool chrome. Rough textures often have natural or artisanal appeal because they feel homemade.
The crinkle of crisp tissue paper, the irresistible snap of bubble wrap, the whisper of a satin-finish box sliding open and the thump of a turned-edge case hitting a boardroom table speak almost subconsciously about the products or ideas they contain. We may not be aware of it, but we’re listening every time we interact with packaging. Think about what your product’s packaging says to customers. Is it as crisp and expensive as new bills, or is it as reassuringly solid as closing a thick book?
Packaging should engage your audience’s senses to make a lasting impression. Sight, sound and feel communicate with your clients well before they experience the products inside the package, so make every sense count. Contact Fastkit for more information about the impact your senses have on your product packaging.