When you have a small business, every sale is important. Make your packaging work to build your brand reputation, protect your products and encourage repeat sales.
Packaging is a great way to make your products stand out from the crowd. Take a look at our pick of the best packaging design ideas for small businesses.
Types of Packaging
Packaging might not have been the first thing that popped into your mind when you set up your small business, but it is an essential part of your offering. Consider what kind of packaging you want to use and which type of packaging will best represent your brand.
There are plenty of packaging types to choose from, including:
- Cardboard boxes - there are many different types of cardboard box packaging types to choose from such as corrugated cardboard, flip-top lids, removable lids etc.
- Paperboard boxes - lightweight and strong, paperboard boxes are often used in cosmetics and food packaging.
- Polybags - thin, plastic bags often used to package products such as magazines and clothes.
- Paper bags - adopted by more retailers in recent years, paper bags tend to be more eco-friendly than other plastic packaging types.
- Canvas bags - canvas bags or pouches are reusable and give off a luxurious feel
- Foil-lined bags - used for items such as coffee and tea, foil-lined bags are ideal for keeping food fresh
- Glass containers - often used for items such as cosmetics, candles and jar items such as jam
What Makes Good Packaging Design?
Think about the last purchase you made. What attracted you to that product or brand? Did you notice how much you were influenced by the design of the packaging?
It’s highly likely that you made the purchase because you were attracted to the design of the packaging and not necessarily because you needed that particular brand or product!
A well-designed package will stand out from the crowd and should delight the consumer, creating a memorable first impression of your brand. Clever designs should showcase your product perfectly, and creative ideas give you the edge over your competition.
Think about what you need from your packaging. First of all, you need to ensure that your packaging protects your product. The last thing you want is for someone to open their new purchase to find that it’s broken or damaged.
You should also think about what your customer sees. Do they need to see the actual product? If so, you might want to add a clear window to your packaging or think about something such as a cardboard sleeve.
For certain products, you may also want to add handles to make them easy to carry or transport.
Colour is a powerful marketing tool that can impact the perception of your brand and influence a consumer's decision to make a purchase. Considering colour psychology can be important when choosing colours for your packaging.
Ultimately you want to choose colours that resonate with the tone and image that your brand creates. You also want to make sure that your product stands out (that doesn’t necessarily mean using bright colours) and that any text or important information can be easily seen.
It can be easy to leave packaging as an afterthought but it is an extension of your brand. Ensure that you use your brand colours, font and tone of voice for brand consistency. Also remember that if someone purchases your product, the product packaging may be seen by others. This makes it a great, but often underlooked marketing tool!
We’ve briefly mentioned tone of voice already but think about what copy you want to include on your packaging. You may need to include instructions, care guidance and contact details. You may even want to include a little bit of your brand story or extra information about the product.
Creative packaging is a surefire way to make your product stand out from your competitors.
Can you think of an innovative way to display your product or a quirky way to make your packaging function better? For food packaging, you could create a container that also doubles as a plate or bowl.
12 Packaging Design Ideas for Small Businesses
Now you know what makes for good packaging design, how can you put those things into practice when designing your own packaging? Check out our 12 packaging design ideas for small businesses below.
Represent Your Brand
If you’ve started a small business, you will already know how important branding is. Not creating consistent branding for both your product and product packaging is a wasted opportunity.
Make sure that a customer of your product knows exactly who you are and what your brand values are from your packaging. If you sell luxury products, ensure that your packaging is also luxurious. You may want to use darker colours or metallics, and higher quality materials.
If your brand is big on being eco-friendly, make sure that it is clear from your packaging. Use recycled materials and earthy tones.
You could add packaging labels to display your product information.
Don’t Forget About the Inside
When someone unpackages one of your products, you want to make it an experience. If you neglect the inside of your packaging, that experience could come to an abrupt end.
Adding small touches such as a contrasting colour inside and a little bit of copy can go a long way. You could also include little extras such as a thank you note, a care leaflet or even a QR code sticker to take people to your mailing list or website.
Customise Your Packing Tape
Using generic shipping boxes? Getting custom packing tape with your logo can help to jazz up boring boxes and add your branding. You could also use branded address and postal labels.
Boost Your Eco Credentials
Sustainable packaging is growing in popularity with businesses looking to become more eco friendly. Many consumers now expect brands to package their products in materials that are environmentally friendly and recyclable. This is something to consider when deciding on which packaging type you are going to use.
Cardboard boxes are the most popular choice for small businesses as they offer great versatility for a wide range of products, and they can be recycled. Cardboard comes in a range of different colours and finishes to suit your style and can be printed on. Paper can also be used to provide padding, and by choosing a contrasting shade to your box, you can add a pop of colour to your package.
Our kraft paper stickers and labels are perfect for complimenting your cardboard packaging and for giving your brand that authentic, hand-crafted feel.
Take a look at some more of our eco-friendly packaging ideas.
Create Reusable Packaging
Creating packaging that your customers can use again helps to add value to your product and your business.
You could supply your products in canvas bags that have your logo on them. That way when customers use the bag, they are also marketing your business.
Maybe you sell homemade jam? You could encourage customers to reuse the glass jars by removing the jar label and using it to store pantry items, or even use it as a vase for flowers!
If your packaging allows your customers to reuse or repurpose it and your competitor's does not, they are more likely to purchase your product over another.
Utilise Clever Design
Clever design can go a long way in selling products.
If your product packaging is funny or displays your product in an innovative way, it is more likely to attract attention.
This quirky packaging concept by Simon Laliberte for Poilu paintbrushes not only helps to protect the brushes during transportation and shipping but it helps the product to stand out on the shelves!
Add Some Little Extras
Add extras to your packaging to leave your customer with a great lasting impression. Why not create thank you notes or stickers to place in each package? You could also include a pack of stickers that customers can use to customise their new product.
If your product requires upkeep, include a sticker or leaflet with care instructions or tips. If you sell food or beverage products, you can include recipe cards within your packaging.
Personalise Your Packaging
Everybody likes to feel special. Personalising your packaging can help your customers to feel just that!
For larger businesses, the personal touch isn’t always possible so as a small business you can use it to your advantage to give yourself the competitive edge.
You could add personalised printed address labels using our variable data service to print different information on individual labels.
Encourage Repeat Customers
Small businesses rely on loyal and repeat customers. You can use your packaging to encourage customers to interact with your business and make further sales.
You could include a unique discount code in each package giving customers 10% off their next purchase. You could also offer a discount code for those who sign up to your mailing list.
Customise Off the Shelf Packaging
Custom packaging is often not an option for smaller businesses. Printing custom packaging can be expensive, especially for smaller runs. To get around this, you can buy off the shelf packaging and customise using high-quality stickers and labels.
Create Themed Packaging
Want to have a little fun with your packaging? You could create themed packaging based on special occasions, seasons or product type.
Around Christmas time you could keep your current packaging design but add a festive print, change your brand colourway to something festive like red and green or add some Christmas-themed copy.
Use Fabric Packaging
When we think of packaging, we usually think of cardboard boxes but, fabric can be a great way to protect and package your products.
For items such as cosmetics or soaps, a fabric wrap or bag is ideal. Fabric packaging gives a luxurious feel to your products but can also be relatively cheap.
You could use offcuts of fabric to fashion your packaging and patterned designs to help your products stand out!
Packaging Design on a Budget
Great packaging doesn’t have to cost the earth and keeping your packing costs down is essential for any small business.
Follow these simple steps to keep control of your budget:
- Choose your materials wisely - certain materials will naturally cost more than others. Think about which material you need to use to effectively protect your product but also take into consideration the cost.
- Shop around - whilst shopping around can be time-consuming, it’s all worth it when you find that great deal! Don’t stick to just one supplier, shop around and make sure you’re getting the best price for your packaging materials.
- Go green - green packaging choices such as recycled paper can also be cheaper in the long run. Keeping your packaging simple and functional will help to keep costs down whilst also doing your bit for the environment.