5 Essential Packaging Design Tips for Smaller Brands

When it comes to packaging for your product, you should be viewing its design as one big call to action for the consumer – “buy me; I’m your best option”.

For this reason, it’s imperative that you invest in your packaging design to create something that will set you aside from your competitors and make your product stand out on the shelves or online.

Great branding together with seductive product packaging is a must for smaller brands that are competing against established products and hoping to grab a share of the market.

SEE ALSO: 33 Creative Guerrilla Product Packaging Examples

Need some inspiration on how to create the right packaging for your product? Here are my top tips for smaller brands looking to make a big impact.

Tip 1: Always start by considering form and function

There are two very basic considerations with packaging design – form and function. In its most basic form, packaging keeps the product within safe and intact. But encasing your product in bubble wrap, polystyrene and a blank box won’t exactly lure any new customers, will it? So your packaging also needs to provide the consumers with product information and make it an attractive buying prospect – what it is, why it’s the best product for their needs, and why they need to buy it now.

Here’s a great example of a creative, yet functional custom packaging project I recently worked on for Dewar House Scotch Whiskey:

 Five essential packaging design tips 1

The packaging is successful for a number of reasons, but at its core it addresses the form and function challenge with style and substance. The product is neatly housed, whilst the creative typography band uniquely communicates the product’s contents.

Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to be creative

If you want people to think that your product is great quality, then your packaging needs to relate this. If it’s abundantly clear that time, effort and a lot of consideration has gone into your packaging alone, this should speak volumes about the product that it houses.

High quality, creative packaging can also be a strong signal and influencer in the decision making process for the consumer, even if your product is priced a little higher than your cheaper competitors.

Here’s a selection of wooden spoon packaging from Scanwood, designed by Goodmorning Technology:

Five essential packaging design tips 3

Because they are fun and make the product as feature of the packaging, the design helps to three dimensionally enhance the product, whilst effectively conveying the brand’s core values of environmentally friendly processes and natural materials.

Tip 3: Always be clear and concise about what your product is

Sometimes too much creativity leads to product ambiguity. In some cases, it’s not always clear what’s inside the packet or box, and sometimes it’s even harder to find the brand name.

Likewise, bold packaging design littered with product benefits can be confusing and disguises your branding and branding ethos. On the other end of the scale, minimised packaging that focuses solely on brand rather than the product’s benefits is risky; for some worldwide brands and household names, this can work. But for smaller brands looking to break into the market, it can mean frustration for the consumer and a missed sale.

Have a look at this pasta box designed by Igor Manasteriotti for Fioli Pasta:

 Five essential packaging design tips 2

The packaging works for several reasons. The brand name is unfussy and clear, the product’s benefits are located on the side of the simple, white label so the consumer doesn’t have to go searching for information, and the transparent plastic packaging means that the quality of the product is easily viewable.

Tip 4: Displaying via bricks and mortar vs online

The environment that your product will be sold in will have a huge impact on your product’s packaging design. In a bricks-and-mortar store, it’s likely that you product will be stacked on a shelf, hung, or put on a display stand. But as a smaller brand, you’ll want to maximise your potential audience by also selling your product online.

In an online sales environment, consumers don’t have the ability the pickup, touch and weigh up the product in their hands. Touch is a sense that simply cannot be accessed in digital stores, so you have to compensate and appeal to the other senses. On screen, the same rule applies that you need to make your product stand out, but other factors such as typography and colour palette are more important than ever.

Here’s a great example of a product that is appealing and eye-catching in both a digital sales and bricks and mortar environment. 

Five essential packaging design tips 4

These Reynolds & Reyner-designed Noté earphones not only include a slot for hanging displays in a bricks and mortar store, but with the earphones integral to the packaging design itself, when situated alongside each other on screen they become an eye-catching mini art exhibition.

Tip 5: Get outside advice

For many smaller businesses, budgets can be modest and money can be tight. The team may be small – sometimes just one or two people, and the skills and knowledge needed to cover all elements of the business from product design, to marketing and packaging, are best left in the hands of an expert. You might have a good eye for what works, but coming up with the goods is a different matter entirely.

If bringing in the services of an agency isn’t an option, don’t be afraid to seek advice from a smaller local specialist packaging consultancy to help you to develop your brand.  An experienced consultancy will not only help keep your budget in check, but will also have all the relevant information and knowledge you need to hand.

30 Fresh & Creative Product Packaging Designs

Creative packaging whether if it’s for a consumer product or for marketing material can mean the success of downfall of your product. Here are some fresh and creative product packaging designs we’ve found scattered throughout the internet. Perhaps some of these examples will inspire you when it comes to creating that unique direct mail piece or street marketing handout. It never hurts to get a little creative and try something new and out of the box!

If you enjoy this post, be sure to check out our other past post: 33 Creative Guerrilla Product Packaging Examples

Nike Air

 nike air packaging

 nike air packaging

via Scholz & Friends

Mighty Nuts

Packaging Design

via Maija Rozenfelde


Packaging Design

via Sophie Pépin

Poilu paintbrushes

Packaging Design

via Poilu

Görtz 17: Shoelace Box

via thjink

Headphone packaging

via Corrine Pant

NYC Spaghetti

via Alex Creamer

Scanwood: When wood is good

via Scanwood

Juice Skins

via Naoto Fukasawa

Flower Garden

via Milena Włodarczyk

Origami Tea bags

via Nathalia Ponomareva

H&M gift package

via Linn Gustafson

Smirnoff Caipiroska peelable bottle

via J Walter Thompson

Stranger & Stranger Spirit No. 13

via Stranger & Stranger

McDonald’s Fries

packaging design

via Ben Frost

Nail packaging

via Melissa Archer


via Saturday Mfg

Festina Watches

 Festina water-filled packaging

via Scholz & Friends

Görtz shoes

packaging design

via Gürtlerbachmann GmbH

Spine Vodka

packaging design

via Johannes Schulz

Student Work – Columbus College

via Jessica Alley & Laura Courtright

Native Focus

via Beth Sicheneder

Real Boy Push Pins/Thumb Tacks

by Duncan Shotton

Get The Hang of It Paper Bag

via Aliki Rovith


via Springetts Brand Design Consultants

Turbo Flyer

via Tait Design Co.

Designers Anonymous Water Bottle

via Designers Anonymous


via QuesttoNó & Tátil Design

vin grâce

via minimalist

Hexagon Honey

via Maks Arbuzov

33 Creative Guerrilla Product Packaging Examples

Consider breaking away from generic packaging labels and innovate by creatively utilizing the packaging to emphasize the use of your product. Not only will this resonate with your customer, but it will also have the opportunity to be shared through sites such as this one. Here are 33 creative examples that will help inspire you when creating product packaging.

Klein Constantia Farm: The Bees Knees

Warm Red Mulled Wine Pantone Box

Dino Gum


Prism Eyewear



Nike Shoe Stadium Packaging

Nike Stadium Packaging

Coca-Cola Holiday Ornaments

Coca-Cola Ornaments


360 Green-Friendly Paper Bottle Packaging

360 Paper Bottle

Tequila Gun Packaging

Tequila Gun Packaging

Mr. Clean Dumbbell Packaging

Mr. Clean Dumbbell Packaging

Wine Can

Wine Can

Reebok Extra Grip Shoe Packaging

Reebok Exta Grip Packaging

Meat Board Short Creative Packaging

Meat Shorts Packaging

Floppy Disk CD Packaging

Floppy Diskette CD Packaging

Ford Motors Match Stick Packaging

Origami Tea Packaging

Kleenex Creative Packaging

Gortz 17 Shoelace Box

Break Fast

Heresod T-shirt Packaging

Salami Postmodern CD Packaging

Medicom Pharma: Target Heavy Food

Gloji Juice

Guggle Bum

The Tulip Wine Glass Packaging

Quick Fruit Creative Packaging Design

Porkinson Food Packaging

Blush Matches

Scanwood Packaging Design

Smirnoff Vodka Packaging

NYC Spaghetti

Butter! Butter!


Pastry Packaging

BONUS: Wireless Power Packaging