The Ultimate Guide to CPG Packaging Design

Why should I care about brand and packaging design?

Your packaging design is more than your logo. It's the sticky stuff - what makes consumers decide in the moment whether your product is for them. As an emerging or challenger CPG brand, getting your packaging design and brand messaging right makes the difference in the aisle. This guide to CPG packaging design will help you find and communicate your value to your audience through your front panel.

Branding is the art of connection and memorability. Think of your brand as a person — they have a personality, values, ideas, and something to share. Branding is how they find their people — the ones with similar interests and a need for that particular spark your brand offers. And packaging design is their style — the way they show up in the world to accentuate all that big, beautiful value. 

It Starts With Your Brand

At Skidmore Studio, we believe to be successful as an emerging CPG company, you have to put your brand before your marketing. Simply put, investing in who you are so your target audience knows your value. 

Remember: No amount of slick advertising can save an undefined brand. If anything, it will highlight consumer issues and build skepticism in the brand.


On Values: 82% of shoppers prefer a consumer brand's values to align with their own.

Consumer Goods Technology Magazine


Mixed Media Shoppers: 86% of consumers have combined in-store and online shopping habits.



60% of purchase decisions are made in-store.


How to Effectively Build a Brand

A brand can be determined by the sum of its parts. We developed a gimmick-free framework — the Brand Pyramid — to help define your brand and how to sell it.

The Recommended Essential Foundations for CPG Brands include: 

  • Capstone
  • Identity and Naming
  • Brand Story
  • Packaging Design and System
  • Website
  • Campaign Concepts
the capstone pyramid

Every Brand Needs a Capstone

What is a capstone? It is a concise guiding principle. The capstone is the intersection of the business problem, the human problem, and the opportunity.

The capstone defines your CPG brand strategy, giving it flexible perimeters. Instead of asking “Is this on brand?” We lean into asking “Does this fulfill the capstone?” 


Monthly musings, insights, and spotlights from CPG loving business folks like yourselves.

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.” – Margaret Fuller 

Elements of Your Brand Identity

With a capstone in place, it is time to consider the creative expression and brand identity

The creative expression of the brand lays the foundation for packaging design, digital experiences, and marketing. The brand identity is the all encompassing and includes:

  • Logo Design
  • Color Scheme
  • Style
  • Photography
  • Mission & Values
  • Personality
  • Tone
  • Messaging

Impacts on CPG Packaging Design

A well-articulated packaging design will catch the eyes of your consumers. It is the one piece of your brand your people will meet and interact with the most when they are in the mindset to buy.

Here are our top 5 considerations for packaging design:

  • Logo flexibility and placement. How your logo looks, if it feels clunky in the design, and where it’s located on your product packaging make a difference to the 
  • Product previews in packaging are a great way to tap into your product’s visual appeal. Preview windows can highlight the texture, color, and other tasty components. 
  • Food imagery also elicits visual intrigue and is a great packaging design option for spreads, bars, sweets and other treats to highlight the combined ingredients for a tasty impact. 
  • Messaging placement. Determining what you want to communicate on your front and back panels as well as where those messages go is critical to your packaging design. Remember: A busy front panel can communicate a lot while still saying nothing of relevance to your consumer. 
Your brand identity and consumer testing work may also inform your choice of packaging materials. If sustainability is part of your brand values and your audience preferences, then using sustainable packaging and adding messaging about the environmental impact of your CPG product will resonate with your people. 

Your Brand as an Omnichannel Experience

Now that you have your brand identity and packaging design system in place, it’s easier to translate your brand for online, out-of-home, and in-store experiences.

Find unique ways to bring your capstone to life with your asset library, website experience, marketing campaigns, and organic content.

Remember: tether your communications to your messaging pillars and ask yourself if they are aligned with your capstone. Don’t hop on irrelevant trends because they are trending. Know yourself and when to play to find success.


Interested in working with us? Drop us a line.

We’d love to get to know you and your brand.