Traditional packaging is rich with information. There are callouts, icons, brand-subrand-subsubbrand, images, mission statements, backstories, legal, ingredients, UPCs, gross unit weight, certifications, badges, social media icons, you get the picture.
Of course, this isn’t (usually) smashed onto one surface. We’re all quite familiar with finding the details on the back or sides of a package.
But consider pixels and screens. A 50 lb. bag of dog food with 12 sq. ft. of printable space in the grocery aisle is reduced to an inch or two on screen. Useful details in real-life packaging quickly become visual noise when reduced to a few hundred pixels. The rich information on traditional packaging obscures what the product is and who made it when it appears on digital packaging.
Ecommerce compensates for this. With links to additional information and other images, the space allowed to dive into product details has never been larger. Yet the product itself has never been displayed smaller.
Clear labels and descriptions of the product and brand are built into an ecommerce interface. Every product is displayed with identical font and format in their description. This is revolutionary for packaging. In this homogeny, retail packaging doubles as its own billboard.
Packaging destined for web retail can and should lean on the liquid, interactive space built into the platform. A consumer’s attention no longer needs to be drawn through various information on a static surface. It simply must be drawn to the thumbnail image. From there, consumers can dive as deep as they want. They can click through to a product page, zoom into images or scroll down for more information. Design hierarchy, while still important, is far simpler. The sole objective of the hero image is to entice a click.
With the competition identically displayed, product packaging is its own pedestal, its own frame, its own billboard. And much like a good billboard, our packaging must build on the existing brand, and also be enticing, disruptive. lightning fast, crystal-clear and incredibly precise.
We’re at the precipice of a definitive new generation of package design. One that is incredibly refreshing and an exciting exercise in the value of pure design.