It’s taken quite a bit of time and patience, but your team has finally done it. Your product is tested and well-received, and you have the perfect logo and brand design. Distribution time has come, and—suddenly, your business starts getting reports that your package design claims of benefits are illegal, or your nutrition and ingredient panels are not in compliance. The last thing your brand needs is a health-related penalty, so you recall your product.
So where did things go wrong? No one representing a brand wants to hear that they’ve wasted money on a product that was deemed unusable and risky from the very start. That’s why effective package design and branding should be a huge priority. Keep reading to learn about four common symptoms of poor package design in the food and beverage industry and how to avoid these mistakes.
The 4 Most Common Packaging Design Mistakes
1. Unclear Labeling and Misleading Packaging
Your customers need to know everything they’re getting when they’re about to consume your product. When something like a federally-regulated nutrition label has hard-to-read, smudged, or unclear info, this could negatively affect how potential consumers interact with your product. Customers could assume the worst and incorrectly deem your products expired or unsafe, or governmental agencies can fine you for not following industry regulations.
Additionally, brands with conflicting or misleading images and messages may be contributing to a false perception of their company or product, which can damage their reputation. Common examples are false testimonials, overconfident claims about products that treat diseases, and misuse of terms like “low-fat,” “low-calorie,” and “all-natural.”
2. Poor Color Choice
Marketing teams know that color is one of the most powerful tools for brand recognition and influencing customer experience. After all, our minds have been conditioned for years to understand that a particular color denotes a specific flavor: Red Cherry; Purple Grape; Green Apple; Blue Raspberry.
But with the wrong color scheme, you could be giving mixed messages about your brand and your food products. For example, if you’re selling organic kale smoothies, picking a pink or red color scheme might not be as ideal as green packaging—often synonymous with healthier products.
3. Overlooking Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammatical errors are some of the most recognizable symptoms of bad package design. Not only are these some of the quickest mistakes people are likely to identify, but they’re also an immediate blow to your brand’s trustworthiness.
Your clients would have good reason to believe that if a design went through several rounds of editing and the mistake still wasn’t caught, you’re not as invested in your design as you should be. Even worse, they might believe that your food product isn’t authentic, especially if you have multiple competitors.
If your brand relies on grammatically incorrect phrases or spelling for a quirky or ironic appeal, this is fine—but be careful. Make sure that your branding is consistent throughout and that you’re not isolating potential consumers because of it.
4. Lack of Market Research
As marketers, we all want to create food packaging designs and branding that stand out and make a lasting impression. Unfortunately, many times we forget the value of market research in achieving these goals. Without understanding the target customers’ needs, preferences, and buying habits, any design choices are made in a vacuum and can lead to costly errors.
For example, products with bad packaging often miss their mark when it comes to resonating with consumers. Poor packaging design can make the product look less appealing, leading to a lower rate of purchase. Additionally, poor branding can lead to confusion and a lack of recognition for the product. A great example of this is when two products by the same brand are significantly different in function but look too much alike in font, coloring, and language.
While you should be mindful of decisions that could lead to poor package design, the best way to ensure your product will be well-received is by understanding the key components of the food packaging design process. Read our blog to learn more.
How Bad Package Design Can Cost Your Business
While mishaps are bound to happen in some capacity, constant problems with your package design and branding can be destructive to your business in many ways. You could find your brand open to:
- Lost Revenue – Probably the most obvious of consequences, if your food and beverage products are constantly being returned or recalled due to poor design, you’re not receiving a return on your investment.
- Ridicule and Damaged Brand Reputation – If your package design is consistently unappealing, your brand could quickly gain a negative reputation for being confusing, ugly, or misleading, and cost you customers.
- Fines and Complaints – To comply with federal and local regulations, food and beverage products must be explicitly labeled and packaged in a particular way. This includes nutrition labels, best buy dates, ingredients, and more. If your business isn’t meeting this criteria and something happens, like someone having an allergic reaction to an ingredient not listed, you could face legal repercussions.
- Productivity Loss – When you’re trying to correct an unflattering color scheme or font, any extra administrative tasks can be time-consuming and slow your operations.
How to Ensure Your Package Maintains Integrity
To achieve successful product design and keep your food and beverage products safe and appealing, there are a few measures your brand should take:
- Focus on a clean-cut design that minimizes clutter and properly balances white space. This reduces the risk of hard-to-read labels and poor brand recognition.
- Designate a spot on the package for all industry-regulated material, including opening instructions.
- Conduct sufficient market research on your brand identity and target audience.
- Create a curated marketing plan that carefully evaluates color theory and tailor the approach to delivering clear, verified claims about your brand.
Having Trouble With Package Design? Consult With DePersico Creative
If common packaging design mistakes have tarnished your brand’s reputation, DePersico Creative can help. We’re a family-owned design studio that helps food and beverage marketers develop strong brand personas through logo and package design, product positioning, and more.
We’ll assess underperforming products and take your package design strategy to new heights while delivering expert customer service. Your lackluster packaging can easily turn into the most creative storytelling tool.