The best packaging designs aren’t just there to be thrown away, but are actually part of the product experience. They’re the moments where we enjoy interacting with the packaging in its own right, whether because it heightens the anticipation, adds something extra to the experience or makes life easier. Take a look at 10 of our favourite moments in packaging:
‘Once you pop you just can’t stop.’ What’s brilliant about the Pringles packaging moment is it’s not just a great design, but also directly ties into the brand marketing, The tube design is unique among its product category, making it memorable, and the sensory ‘pop’ sound when the cap is removed is extremely satisfying. Altogether it’s a fun and pleasurable packaging experience.
The reason the Apple unboxing experience is so enjoyable is because the packaging design is so in sync with the products. It’s simple, but elegant. The boxes are a crisp and clean white – they suggest that this is a pristine product. When the lid slides up it takes just long enough for there to be a bit of anticipation. Together it tells you that you’re getting a well-designed product, because the packaging is so well designed.
Devialet’s packaging experience is as different as its product is. Rather than a typical box with a lid that lifts up or is hinged, Devialet’s boxes open out like a book. This gives them a bit of a wow factor – there’s a curtains-opening-onto-the-stage feeling which reveals the unusual oval shaped speaker.
The exterior design looks more like artwork than your traditional packaging, with the aim being to invoke a feeling of power and excitement, rather than tell you specs. The packaging tells you that this is not your average speaker, that you’ve got something a bit special.
Monthly beauty box subscription service Birchbox uses a simple box and lid design, but elevates it to a new level. Each month the box design changes with beautiful artwork, colouring and lettering to invoke a theme, season or feeling. It’s visually exciting before you even open it.
The box feels premium, so you get the sense that the contents are high quality. Tissue paper is often used to gently wrap the products, but this adds another level of reveal as you have to pull it back to see inside. The box and paper reminds of high-end, luxury retail where your purchases are carefully boxed up for you to take home.
5. Oculus Rift
The exterior packaging for the Oculus Rift VR headset uses some of the same principles as Apple in its design, with white being the primary colour. However, this is just a slip case around the real box which is an expensive-looking matt black. Inside nestles the product itself, also black, with the use of the same colour adding to the high-end feel.
The inside is reminiscent of a flight case for housing musical or photographic equipment, with specially made slots for each component and a rubberised material feel. The lid features a short, bold call-to-action that states ‘Let’s get started’ and gives shoppers a link to go to set-up the product. It suggests that the product speak for itself and that there isn’t a long barrier to getting going.
6. Marshall Major headphones
The packaging for Marshall’s over-ear line of Major headphones is a great fit for the brand and the product’s purpose. The headphones come packaged in an upright standing case with a handle on the top that is suggestive of the classic guitar amp design. The top part of the case can be lifted up to reveal the headphones, which are stood up, rather than laid down flat in the box. It’s reminiscent of a sculpture or piece of artwork, which suggests that these are well-designed headphones. The brand has removed some of the drama with the packaging design for the Major II range, although the core principles remain the same.
7. Craft beer cans
The humble ring pull has been a great packaging moment for canned drinks for a long time. The sensory sounds of the click and hiss as product opens creates all sorts of anticipation as you imagine what it will taste like before you even drink it.
Increasingly a large number of craft beer manufacturers, like The London Beer Factory, have taken this a step further by adopting a ring pull design that opens up a much large hole for drinking through. Essentially the can becomes a cup for drinking the beer from, removing the need for it to be decanted into something else. It’s not just a great update on a classic packaging design, but it actually makes the experience more enjoyable.
8. Trunk Club
Trunk Club’s packaging is enjoyable because it ties in with the company’s name, as well as offering a time out moment for shoppers. Trunk Club customers work with a real-life personal stylist who curates a selection of products for them and then posts it out for them to try at home. Although made of cardboard, the boxes are designed to look like an old school suitcase or trunk, complete with a carry handle.
Inside, all of the products are packaged just as you would a suitcase. Everything is neatly placed, products are tied together with string, and the whole aesthetic is neat and inviting. Each trunk also comes with a list of what’s included and a personalised message from the stylist who put it together.
9. Kinder Surprise
The Kinder Surprise makes us question what is packaging? A foil sleeve houses a hollow chocolate egg, which needs to be broken to reach the plastic capsule containing a toy. So is the chocolate part of the packaging as well as the product?
It makes for a great packaging moment because there’s a number of layers to explore, but the middle one is edible – it’s actually part of the product. The design is also fairly unique within the packaging world, and although the foil element is simple the way it pulls away easily from the chocolate makes for a pleasant experience. There’s also the ‘pop’ of the plastic capsule, which adds another sense to the mix and heralds the reveal of the ultimate reward – the toy.
10. Amazon packaging
On the face of it Amazon’s packaging is far from exciting. Despite being just brown cardboard boxes with minimal branding, the experience of interacting with its packaging is surprisingly enjoyable. On one level, the fact that Amazon’s packaging design is so uniform means there’s an element of anticipation as to what exactly is inside.
The other element is the use of the simple ‘zip’ opening on much of the company’s packaging. Rather than having to open a box, the shopper can just grab the tab, pull, and have the contents instantly revealed. The design always works and it’s incredibly satisfying to use, as well as appealing to our instant gratification culture by getting straight to the product.
By Cate Trotter, Head of Trends, Insider Trends, London.