I'm a packaging and brand designer with 8+ years of corporate retail experience in my back pocket, 2 cats at my feet, and a passion for helping product based businesses stand out and generate buzz around their brand through strategic design.
Product-based business owners, I do NOT envy you! Running a business as a service provider is hard enough without the product development, shipping logistics, and extra bits of design needed to build a powerful eCommerce brand. And, as a service provider, there is a great deal of information and free downloads all over the internet whereas eCommerce tips can be much harder to come by.
Let’s change that! I may be a service provider, but I am one who has worked in retail design for almost a decade. So, I aim to share that knowledge of the eCommerce world, at least as it pertains to design, with you.
Let’s start here. What comes first? What’s the most important design need you should focus on as you build your eCommerce brand? Is is…
A) Brand Design
B) Packaging Design
C) Web Design
While all 3 are essential pieces of your visual brand, the best and most important place to start is with Brand Design. BUT, not just any brand design. You’ll want to make sure that its brand design that’s built upon strategy and research. Check out my post on brand strategy vs. strategic brand design.
Think of your brand design as the foundation of your house. When your visual brand identity (logos, color palette, fonts etc.) is designed with strategy in mind, it becomes a reliable foundation that you can build the rest of your house, or brand, on top. Thanks to the strategy and research you did ahead of time, there’s no more second-guessing if you chose the right colors or fonts to appeal to your target audience which means you can rest assured that you won’t be re-investing in branding, web design, or packaging in the near future.
Which brings me to, you guessed it, what comes after branding.
After your brand identity is established, you can move on to the packaging design.
Oftentimes, I see that business owners want to skip this step and rush into the website design, but here’s why packaging should come first.
Having custom packaging design is a great way to set yourself apart as an eCommerce brand because modern-day consumers love a good unboxing experience. It’s a great way for your brand to connect on a deeper emotional level with your customers by sharing and showcasing your brand’s values, using clever or funny copywriting, and inviting them to share their experience with the 3 F’s — friends, family, and followers.
When designing packaging for our clients, we like to focus on 3 key factors. We strive to make your packaging design memorable, emotional, and shareable. That way, you’re certain to see the ROI you’re looking for. Check out some of our packaging design clients here.
As there were only 3 options to choose from, you’ve probably already guessed what stage of the design process comes last — your website.
During this phase, we bring the branding and packaging design together to work as one on your eCommerce site. If you’re unsure about which website platform is best for your online store, read this post. Your packaging design will make your product photos look high-end and professional. From product label to product box to shipping box or bag, your products will look unique and memorable, setting your brand apart.
This is no surprise considering that the way something looks can determine if we as consumers, trust it and the brand. Just take a moment to think of a product you considered buying recently. Why did or didn’t you end up buying it? Was it the look, the price, the look making you question if the price was worth it?
Whether we realize it or not, we’re constantly making unconscious judgments about the products we see which determine which ones we add to our cart. Start taking stock of these decisions and you’ll see just how important packaging design is. When it comes to retail, we all tend to judge a book by its cover. This makes packaging design crucial when trying to capture your audience’s attention.
Once you’ve captured their attention, you’re more likely to entice them to visit your website and learn more about your brand values and other products. This may be a controversial statement, but I’d argue that any website would look amazing as long as it had high-quality photos of high-quality branding and packaging design. These 2, or 3 things rather, work together to make a strong first impression.
However, in the case of your website, looks aren’t always everything you need to make the sale online. Your website really comes into its own when it’s equipped with strong copywriting and an intuitive layout. Together, they’ll guide your website visitor’s through the site, giving them the information they need to make a buying decision.
Ultimately, it’s the beauty of design paired with the substance (the brains) of your website design and copywriting that builds a powerful eCommerce brand experience. And, in order to achieve the best results, it’s best to start with branding, then packaging, then website design.
If you want more packaging tips, make sure to follow me on Instagram where you can say hello or shoot me a question in the DM’s.
Whitney is an expert brand and packaging designer with 8+ years of industry experience. She creates strategic, results-driven brand and packaging design for product based businesses so they can stand out, connect deeply, and sell more.