The Two Second Canon

The Two Second Canon


First impressions determine the future and love at first sight seals the fate. At the risk of sounding shallow, looks are everything when you have only two seconds on the aisle in competition with several other brands. Poor presentation is not an option and you need to have a working design that entices, attracts, and make the consumer fall in love. Image is vital in those numbered moments and essentially what catches the eye.

If the competition is going down the right track then you have to catch your train from the opposite direction. Design a surprise, the unexpected and unique grab the limelight. Simple brand name and clean informative panel allows the consumer to retain the details easily and longer.

Color is a strong emotional connector so choose your palette with care. Again, color selection in contradiction to competition will help grab the attention. If most products in your category are dressed in bright colors then tone down your choice to pastels.

Font selection is equally important as the message. What you say is understood best when said with the right typography. Just like colors, font styles evoke different moods. The copy is at work expressing everything that is within the packaging so it needs to relay the experience in words, the taste, feel, flavor and the overall impact on an individual’s lifestyle.

All the above are meaningless if the consumer leaves without understanding the product benefits! Hence, the packaging is effective only when the attention span is held for longer than two seconds into a “stop in your track to study the product before making a purchasing decision”.

Your package has won the first round of grabbing the consumer attention but the product is yet to reach the finishing line and the sale is yet to be concluded. Next step in effective product packaging is to engage your consumer into picking the product. The packaging at this point has an aim to make and raise the sales.

Time to span the copy and have our consumers informed. Our buyer at this point has questions and the content in print is required to answer all the queries like, “Why should I buy it? Why is it better than the other choices available here? What are the benefits? Is it worth the price? Does the quality meet my expectations?” All the details are best crammed at the side panels leaving the Principal Display Panel clean and simple.

Follow this hierarchy and allow the viewer to find what is required in an order. Name of the product, flavor, callouts (important/marketing facts), branding, romance copy (product description complete with attributes) and size. Have each flavor differentiated from the other with clarity, commonly used are different colors to accomplish this goal. Callout is in-specific certification and worthy of PDP (Principal Display Panel) presence. The branding is a lot many times kept in priority but our consumer is in need of the product and placing that over and above the brand name is recommended. Font size is crucial in determining the reading order.

All the elements in the packaging design need to form a balance and come together in harmony for the consumer to stop and a package that does a good job of informing is more likely to build trust in the consumer and is therefore more likely to sell.

ABOUT author

Divya Virmani, Established Graphic Designer

The author is an established graphic designer managing commercial print packaging and labeling for top brands with global recognition and has achieved acclaim for h...

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