4 Packaging Graphic Design Rules That Will Make Your Product Sales Skyrocket

Curious about packaging graphic design?

Did you know that the average supermarket carries around 40,000 items at any one time? That's 40,000 items competing with one another for a buyer's attention. How does one item grab more attention than the others?

Packaging, pure and simple. If you want to transform your run-of-the-mill design into a gotta-have package, read on.


When you approach a design problem, always consider the size and shape first. They'll help you imagine the scope of your design and adjust your strategy. The size and shape determine everything. They let retailers know where and how to display your products. They let consumers know what your product is and what it does. They inform buyers how your stuff stacks up to your competitors'.

When you determine the size and shape of your product's packaging, take into account the following:

  • The size of your product
  • The size of your similar products
  • The size of your competitors' products
  • The shape of your similar products
  • The shape of your competitors' products

One shape will tell consumers your product is similar to your competitors. Another will let them know it's unique. Some sizes fit nicely on a shelf while others require a floor display. Consider your shape carefully.

Note: flexible packages come with their own set of challenges. Read Understanding Flexible Packaging to learn more.


One way to set your brand apart is to create an unusual package. If all your competitors use grey packages but yours is lemon yellow, guess what? Customers will notice.

Any clear variation in color, size, smell, location, price, etc. will catch a buyer's attention. But the difference must be clear and easily noticeable. People won't take notice if your package is one percent larger than your competitors or one cent less. Our unconscious minds are built to latch onto such differences and explore the mystery until we find out why.


Customers should know what your product is with one glance. What indicators convey this information? Here's a short list:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Logo
  • Color(s)
  • Location
  • Font Size
  • Description

We've already discussed some of these factors in previous sections. Let's focus on text here. Begin with the font size. In order to determine your font size, you must know where your product will be displayed. The further your product is from the consumer, the larger your text must be. Use words or phrases that tell buyers exactly what your product is and how it differs from other similar products.

Let's take the example of Bob's soup. First, we want to tell customers what the product is: soup. We know it's going to be on the shelf at eye level, so print "Soup" in a big, bold, size 18 font on the front of the can. We also want to tell customers how this soup differs from others, so we add "Sweet Corn and Carrot" to the soup description. If we needed to further distinguish this soup from others, we might add "Bob's" to the product description.

The finished result would be "Bob's Sweet Corn and Carrot Soup." It's quick and easy to understand. We're finished.


If you have other products, you must consider your branding. The packaging on all your products should have similar packaging. If a customer likes and trusts one of your products, they'll feel the same about your company. That trust will then extend to all your products. But it'll only work if they know the other products are your products. That's where extensibility comes in. Make sure they use similar fonts, sizes, colors, and shapes.

What's After Packaging Graphic Design?

Well, what's next? After you outline your packaging graphic design, grab someone who can turn your dream into reality.

Show them your concept and let them run with it. A good designer will take your ideas and turn them into something awe-inspiring. Your products will fly off the shelves faster than you can restock them.

If you enjoyed this piece, jump over to our site and peruse the rest of our selection of design articles.

So long and good luck!