Sustainable Packaging Design: Marketing
“Nature and the modern retailer have similar goals. They must advertise their wares, attract consumers, and protect the wares during transit. Moreover, the product has to deliver as advertised to its consumer if it is to keep its base of customers.”
- Don Norman, Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles.
What does marketing have to do with sustainable packaging design?
Your product's packaging serves several purposes, its core function being to protect the product it contains. Packaging also needs to appeal to your target customer, promote your product, and communicate your brand identity.
Materials are selected, logistics and production have been thoughtfully considered in relation to your design. Your final packaging design connects materials, form, imagery, and information together and presents your product to the world.
For an eco-friendly business, sustainable packaging is a valuable marketing tool for communicating brand values directly to consumers.
Packaging as a Marketing Tool
“Finally, people have to actually purchase it. It doesn’t matter how good a product is if, in the end, nobody uses it.”
- Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things
Your packaging communicates your brand message to your audience. When they hold it in their hand, or even see images of it on your website or social media, your choice in color, artwork, and the printed messaging gives an immediate impression of your brand values.
Consumers are more likely to buy from brands who share their values. The Business of Sustainability Index by GreenPrint (2022) found that 69% of U.S. adults say that a product’s environmental friendliness is important to their purchasing decision.
Make your packaging part of your communication by highlighting your sustainable packaging choices, both on the packaging itself and in other marketing and promotional material.
Environmentally Friendly Messaging
Over three-quarters of surveyed consumers agree they want to buy from environmentally friendly businesses, but don’t know how to identify them!
Your packaging print (and/or label) conveys information about the benefits of your product as well as any required regulatory information.
Sustainability information on your packaging helps consumers that want to buy from eco-friendly brands to identify your product. It helps your customers feel good about supporting your business, and encourages participation and advocacy for causes that you care about.
Your sustainable packaging should also clearly tell consumers how to dispose of your packaging. The significant work you put into designing sustainable packaging can be undone if customers don't know how to dispose of it correctly.
In addition to printing directly on packaging, use stickers and adhesive labels to convey information about a brand or product!
Clearly labeling compostable packaging prevents contamination and confusion. It opens up opportunities to promote your eco-friendly products and to inform your customers about the benefits of composting!
“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future. Design is therefore responsible for the world our children will live in.”
Whenever we purchase a product, we’re supporting the values of that brand. Packaging design displays those messages, we see them every day. Use that space to show your audience what you think the future should hold.