As a small product startup, it’s so exciting to see your vision come to life and hit the shelf. We know how thrilling it was the first time you held a retail packaging box with your very own brand mark. It’s your baby, and that first batch of printed retail packaging is a huge moment for your company.

As a veteran branding studio, we spot branding knowledge gaps in the product startup category. Product startup owners often wear too many hats, making it difficult for them to do all those jobs as well as the larger brands. Product packaging is especially tricky if your designer is not officially trained in this niche industry. These gaps could put your brand at risk of getting pulled off the shelf for non-compliance. We can help you identify these gaps and refine your branding, so you never get blindsided by a recall or by stagnant sales.

Tips to help you avoid getting blind-sided

Government Pack Standards

Ensure you carefully consider copy guidelines and treatment of images. Even your weight statement must be compliant.

Allowable Claims

Do you have qualifiers for all claims you want to use on the front of your packaging? Does your product meet the threshold of every claim?

Branding Hierarchy

Have you sequenced the product offering succinctly? The brand hierarchy on your front panel can greatly affect shelf impact. You may know your product inside out, but how well does it resonate with the consumer? Do they fully understand how your offering differs from the competitor’s offering in the 2-3 seconds they glance at your package?


This is what we call your presentation to big box stores. The sooner you close the knowledge gaps mentioned above, the quicker a buyer will pick up your product and the quicker your pack will get on shelf with large retailers. If your product is not shelf-ready, the less likely it will capture the buyer’s attention. Are you offering more than a ‘pretty face’ to grab and keep their attention? Sometimes you only get one kick at the proverbial can.

Production Experts

Are you familiar with the different types of printing methods? Knowing these will help you work with your print vendors to ensure design integrity on press. Be aware of differences between on-screen presentations vs. the press results so you can better manage your expectations. 

Print Optimization

Look for color efficiencies around plate changes to ensure you get the most cost-effective solutions based on the desired branding results. Anticipate the issues around ‘trapping’ on the artwork and how that might affect the end results on press.

Are you ready to remove any blind spots that may be preventing your brand from being accepted and seen on shelf? Follow these tips and you should be fine.

This guest blog post was provided by Fernanda Ferrerira from Reflective Media, a Canadian-based graphic design studio. If you need help with your branding and/or retail packaging needs, contact the team at Reflective Media via phone at 1-647-424-2153 or fill out their contact form.