Re: Designing packaging matter??

Subject: Re: Designing packaging matter??
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 10:43:00 -0700

Steve Hudson wrote:
> 2) Background: In theme with the product purpose. Colour use is subject to
> basic pyschology, and most red/yellow backgrounded stuff is cnn (cheap and
> nasty), to the other end of very dark boxes trying to stand for incredibly
> expensive or highly techno techno sweetie. We went for a darker background
> for our US$199 high-end graphics package. White can be ok, but you can kill
> the effect by overlaying too much stuff.

This comment remind me of another: have your design team spend some time
in a software store seeing what the current trends in box design are,
both for similar products, and for software in general.

This is a good idea for at least two reasons.

First, you can see what the conventions are. For example, an irregularly
shaped box might seem a good way for the product to get attention on the
shelf. However, about a year ago, an irregularly shaped boxed would have
suggested a game to a casual viewer, which might make it inappropriate
for a serious product.

Second, you can avoid doing what everyone else is doing. For example, if
all the rival products are using white and blue as the main colors on
the box, you probably want a different a color scheme in order to stand
out. The same goes for other design elements.

In general, trends are very marked in box design. I've only been dealing
with the subject for a couple of years, but I suspect that it would be
very easy to write a design history of software boxes.

> 7) Ensure the VERSION is prominently mentioned.

This is usually a good idea, but not always. If your product is in a
version war with a rival product, prominently displaying the version
could make the box obsolete earlier than you expected.

> 8) Folks even go so far, quite regular like, to have their own fonts custom
> designed for their packaging. We have one for our next product <beams with
> pride>.

At the very least, you can choose a distinct set of fonts to use in all
your company's needs. If the budget won't stretch to hiring a
typographer for a unique font, there are still hundreds of different
combinations of fonts to choose from.

> 9) if there is lotsa colour on the back pane, bulleting your lists with a
> contrasting colour may be necc to help keep the readers eye in line.

I favor bullet lists regardless of the background, on the grounds that
it's unrealistic to expect a potential buyer to read a box carefully in
the middle of a crowded aisle with audio or TV speakers cranked up all
around them. Assume that the buyers are going to scan, and help them do

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com

"They say you get used to a war
But that doesn't mean that the war isn't on."
-Geoff Pearson, "If They Come in the Morning"


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