With the speed of a finger scroll or that quick eye scan at the shelf, you only have seconds to tell your brand’s story through packaging.  Impactful packaging often means the difference between a purchase versus a pass. The key to getting there is to work with a design agency that can translate your communication hierarchy into a masterful layout design. For agencies that do it well, they must achieve that ideal balance of visually, compelling design alongside clear brand communication. 

A skilled design agency will not just want to understand your brand but the category that you compete in. They should be asking you ‘What are the key communication principles of your category’. For example, the communication must-haves will be different if you create a layout design for a wine label versus a box of cereal or a home improvement product.  Understanding your competitive set is also a great way to find ways to stand out.

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Your layout design partner will also want to invest time in understanding your brand, your consumer, and your key packaging communication goals. Key questions that should come up are: “What does your brand stand for to you and your core consumer? What are the visual components that you want to use to express your brand’s identity on the package? What does your package need to communicate and what is the communication hierarchy for these areas? These discussions inform the creative puzzle pieces that an agency will need to design a masterful layout. This type of discovery also highlights if one of these areas are missing and a good agency partner can work with you to find and articulate the missing piece. 

The packaging layout and design experts at Partners + Hunt often help their clients solve these very problems. When Katadyn, a world leader in travel water filtration products, acquired the water filtration brand Steripen, the company asked P+H to add the Katadyn branding to all of the Steripen packaging. As part of this packaging redesign, the client also needed the final layout solution to effectively communicate key product benefits in three languages and still be recognizable to current Steripen customers.

So just how do you combine two brands onto one package and still effectively communicate the key product benefits at the same time: Questioning everything.

Was there a better place for the information? How could it be shortened? Could we introduce design elements or icons to display information more easily? What is the role of photography in communication and simplification? What are the branding elements from Katadyn and Steripen that makes sense to keep? What should we change?

With P+H’s thoughtful approach, the team moved brand elements into more logical locations, eliminated redundancies, and selected design choices that made the key design elements and simplified communications stand out and made the packaging consistent across all products in the line.

A project that started out as a simple layout design challenge became an exercise in consistency in the basic elements of what any package needs: clear branding, concise product information and thoughtful, intentional placement of all packaging elements. A design agency’s ability to flex between layout design and brand strategy puts you on a great path to masterful layout design, effective storytelling and ultimately-impactful packaging.

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