Sep 28

Do you tell a story?

Posted by Packaging Sense in Design | Uncategorized

Storytelling has been used as communication since time immemorial. Stories are told in the hope that someone may listen… In the case of package design, you hope it will be seen, understood and bought. The storytelling in the world of package design is more than just information, it is communication which can be a very powerful tool to sell. This article will try to give a few advice on how to make your package design a great selling story.

A great story catches the consumers’ attention and touches them emotionally, hopefully ending in a purchase. As we live in a world where products look more and more alike, consumers tend to buy products which have a strong emotional appeal. In other words, they buy a story.

In several articles I have tried to explain that before you develop your package design, try to develop a story, i.e. a Big Idea, a concept. Here comes the first learning: Great stories surprise, they don’t tell the obvious, they are emotional rather than rational, exactly what a great package design should be to become interesting.

However, even a good story wears thin and so it is important to continuously renew certain parts of the story, while keeping the basic theme. Just as Toblerone does.

The second learning is that the story must lead to desire, i.e. to wanting to have the product in question. Either to consume it and/or collect it. Here lies the difficulty as this demands highly creative thinking and execution and not just a logotype and a picture. The RTB, i.e. the story, must catch and convince.

For this article I have chosen the yellow “sunshine lemon” SURF. The story told is so convincing that you can actually smell your washing before even having bought the product. This design is also an example of what I constantly repeat “first you design the idea, then you decorate”! What I especially like with this story is that it continues on all sides. It is not the usual formula “design a catching front panel and drop all other information on the back”!

The third learning is that you don’t forget a great story. You will automatically remember it as it has had an emotional impact on you! Can you ever forget the strong sun and the blue and white houses on the Greek islands on “Le Yaourt à la Grecque”? Can package design be better, especially as the typography chosen brings you into the Greek world? This is a Nestlé masterpiece, and so is the SURF pack from Unilever.

The third learning I have chosen this time, from Danone, is a great example of a highly emotional story. The story about the origins of your yoghurt, i.e. the farmer and his cows. This story takes you as far as possible from the dairy factory back to nature and sustainability, ecology, well, all these values which are strong sales arguments in today’s IT-world! Please notice that if we don’t yet know the names of the cows, we now know the names of the farmers in the French Normandy.

Stories do not have to be as elaborate as the ones above. A temporary promotional activity just to bring your brand top-of-mind can also be an interesting story as the recent S. Pellegrino Cannes Festival label “Hommage à la dolce vita”. This is great brand strengthening to make your brand, i.e. product even more emotional. You thus strengthen the bond between the consumer and the brand.

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