Retail Packaging 101

By August 9, 2013 February 4th, 2020 No Comments

Guest Blog Written By:
Cindy Alton, Founder and President of Cindy Alton Design (  847-942-5866
Have a great product that is ready to show a buyer? Well before you go too far, most buyers will want your product packaged. So where do you start?
1.   Find an experienced packaging designer.
Most graphic designers will tell you they can design packaging, but be sure they have experience with packaging similar to what you are selling. Designing brochures or web banners is nothing like packaging. Designers that can create a logo, have no idea what it takes to make product sell in a sea of competitors. Ever walk the gadget aisles at Bed Bath and Beyond? Find out what retailers your designer’s work has appeared in. If you want to be at Target, find out if your designer has had their work on the shelves at Target. Research your designer. Check them out on LinkedIn, visit their website. 10 minutes worth of homework time will pay off later.
2.   Write a brief, before you meet with your designer.
Your brief should include the below points. This will ensure that your designer gets it right sooner.
a. Who is your target audience?
b. Who are you major competitors?
c. What retailers would be a good fit for your product?
d. Name of product
e. Tagline of your product.
f.  Key benefits of your product, 3 or 4 is good. You aren’t going to get 10 benefits across, so keep it simple and prioritize what is most important.
g. Colors or any guidelines (Pantone colors, font usage, rules that you want followed in the design).
h. If you know that photos will need to be taken. Or if they exist and will be supplied.
3.  Things to bring to the 1st meeting with your designer.
a. A working product sample.
b. Competitor packaging.
c. Samples of packages that you like and that you think will work for your product.
d. Your logo (digital).
e. Images (hero, usage, call outs etc.)
4.   Things you should ask your designer to give you.
a.Timing. A week or so should be a fair amount of time to create multiple face panels.
b. Ask for several face panels to choose from. Don’t ask for full box designs until after you have refined the front panel. I usually provide 4-5.
c. A photo of the retailer’s (Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, etc.) shelves with the proposed design photo-shopped in. This is something I love giving my clients. It demonstrates exactly how my design will break through at retail. If your designer can’t give you this – find one that can.
d. Pricing. You should both be on the same page of what your budget is and how much time you expect your designer to work for you.
If you need help with your packaging, please contact us at or visit and we’d love to help!