For food and beverage brands, package design is arguably the most critical piece of your marketing effort. An effective package design is also the most cost effective way for an emerging or small to medium-sized brand to compete and stay relevant. Advertising requires continuous spend, while a great package design has the ability to grow sales over much longer periods of time without additional investment. One of the main design strategies that makes up a great package design is package design “hierarchy.”
Package design hierarchy is the order in which you prioritize the flow of communication on your package. It consists of your brand identity, appetite appeal, product attributes, and additional communication or necessary claims that are important for the shopper to know.
Your packaging is your most important sales rep. After all, 76% of food purchase decisions are made in-store. People are visual beings. In fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Your package has only 2-3 seconds to communicate what your product is and why shoppers should buy it. According to Nielsen, 64% of consumers try a new product because the package catches their eye, and 41% will continue to purchase a product because they prefer its packaging.
An effective package design hierarchy tells your brand’s story and unique selling proposition in the right order. It highlights the most important communication points the customer should know.
Strategically ranking the order of your key communication points assists the package designer in figuring out how to visually guide the shoppers eye flow through the package face so that they can quickly understand why this is the right product for them.
Here is an example of two projects where we revitalized the brand look and strategically utilized a hierarchy of visual communication tactics that draw attention on shelf, enhance appetite appeal, speed variety communication and create a compelling image for the brand that shoppers will trust. Both face panels were strategically designed to enhance the perception of the brand, connect with the target shopper, and positively influence purchase decisions.
 Point of Purchase Advertising International’s 2012 Shopper Engagement Study.