Principles of a Packaging Redesign

Is your brand feeling a bit one-note? 

Staying competitive in the aisle doesn’t always mean adding more flavor options to your portfolio. Often, one simple thing is holding you back — your packaging design. Deciding when to execute a redesign requires finesse and understanding of the market, your aisle-mate (aka your competitors), your consumers, and trends. We call these considerations the principles of a product packaging redesign.

To break these principles down further, you must first determine if you need to consider a brand redesign, a packaging redesign, or both. Using research, auditing your brand strategy and growth plans, and understanding purchase intent against competitors are great ways to see if it’s time for a complete renovation, or if your brand just needs some increased curb appeal. Have an open mind during this stage — it’s about finding opportunities in category relevance and unclaimed spaces, which means leaning into what ignites your consumers.

Want to learn more about our consumer testing process? Schedule a meeting with Drew Patrick (don’t worry — he’s not a sales guy).

Establishing a capstone helps provide a concise view of how the information gathered works together to determine the best path forward for your business. It informs the direction of all aspects of your brand strategy and design. With clear direction from the capstone, the pathways for design become more defined by your brand.

Now, it’s time to take the preliminary design options to the true stakeholders of your brand – your audience. Learnings here are taken into the final design considerations and enable you to better understand which key messages need refining.  

Once you’ve applied audience learnings to your design it is time to iterate your brand’s visual identity across your portfolio! Effective packaging design creates a system with iterative components so a consumer can easily identify your brand amongst the choices on the shelf. The subtle cues move to further guide consumers to their choice. 

Take Vital Essentials’ new brand redesign as an example. The main visual identity remains the same, but subtle changes in color components, protein imagery, and pet icons navigate the consumer toward their desired product.  

Side by side comparison of the Vital Essentials brand packaging design before and after the brand and packaging redesign with Skidmore Studio. The new brand design effectively communicates the butcher-quality protein using visual identity components such as the butcher paper, wrapped in twine and the outline of the animal protein - in this example, the cow.
Vital Essentials Packaging Design Before and After

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If you execute more of a refresh, changing only small portions of your packaging, then there is no need to shout from the rooftops. But determining how to tell retail partners and consumers about it is crucial if you completely overhauled your brand and packaging. This can include several marketing tactics, including but not limited to press releases, trade show considerations, updates to your digital properties, social ads, and more.  

First impressions are everything, and the exterior of your product needs to entice your consumers. Evolving your brand and packaging design to align with your consumers will lead to growth. These principles of a packaging redesign will help your brand remain sticky and in the hearts of your customers.