Packaging gets rough treatment. This is true literally as it goes from manufacture , through supply chains in which it is bounced, prodded, dropped, thrown and generally abused until it finally arrives on a shelf where it can finally be taken home by a consumer. Packaging has to not only weather this storm but must navigate through the murky waters of consumer needs where it will need to deliver the protection and performance promised by the brand it represents and yet remain unobtrusive in the customers’ home until called upon to deliver its product and then be disposed of.
Part of the issue is that everyone is an expert. Packaging has a rather remarkable ability to make every user feel like they could do a better job of design, especially if they are on the back of a frustrating experience of being unable to open or use a product. However the sheer number of promises that packaging has to keep in order to serve its purpose are broad and rarely will there be a simple solution, certainly not one that an average consumer would be able to pinpoint.
In fact, at a recent consumer market research centre I had the ability to see this in action with a luxury brand investigating perfume packaging. From the wish for a left handed dispensing system through to one person saying they felt a plastic dispensing system was cheap and it should be metal or glass to highlight the prestige of the brand most had some very small request to change which would have personalised the product but no two requests were the same. This is also all in the vaccum of consumer need- some of their suggestions would have cost too much to make, could not be run through existing equipment , would not make it through supply chains efficiently or a myriad of other issues but that does not stop the suggestions coming or the slight disappointment on faces when reality sets in.
This edition of the publication this promise is even more vital as safety and security top the agenda. Child safe packaging, healthcare and pharmaceutical packaging as well as labelling and responsible packaging all have to deliver various promises to different people , and can not fail in any of them.