Thursday, 10 October 2019

The Decisions of Our Past

Sometimes the decisions you make influence your life more than you realize down the road. And the only time it dawns on you is when you’re 5 years older and reflecting back on what life would’ve been like back then had you made another choice or decided not to do something that you did.

Of course, we have all sorts of decisions like these. Half the time, they’re for the better and we do better in life because of them. On the other hand, you have some questionable decisions that end up impacting your life more negatively than you would’ve hoped for. This is a conundrum in life that we’ll always have to face, especially because it’s something we’ll never conquer. Think about it: no matter what you do, there will be good choices and bad choices. If we could all see the better option advertised as such right when we choose it, well, we’d never have bad choices. But since life isn’t full of billboards telling you what’s best for you, you’re forced to navigate through your years hoping that you’re making the best choices available to you.

Just today I was pondering my own life and where I would’ve been 3 years ago had I decided to not go back to school for my graduate degree. I know here and now that I would’ve had half the student debt I do now while also having a two year headstart on my salary, other debt, and investments.

Would this decision have been better for me? In a financial sense, it definitely would have. And I can sit and dwell on that information as much as I want, but the best way to look at life when you feel things are down is to peek at the side from the other end of the spectrum. When I weigh my potential happiness and interest in life in both hands, going to grad school opened up my mind and my hobbies and happiness far more than I ever would’ve realized if I just kept teaching. To me, this is far more important than my financial situation being more comfortable, if only because my happiness and interests and love for life are what make me who I am.

Sometimes I end up rooting around in some old shipping boxes that contain photos or clothes or games from my undergrad years, and it fills my mind with memories and regret and emotions that are hard to comprehend. While it’s easy to get caught up in those feelings and thoughts, I know that those items in the shipping boxes are merely just items now, and dwelling on the past does me no favors for the here and now. If we all just focused on the present more, life would turn out to be a much more positive and healthier place.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

6 Basic Rules for Designing Packages

Product packaging, as well as the design, is growing into a huge industry by itself. Many leading companies like Landor and CBA rely heavily on their graphic designers to create robust, bold, eye-catching product and shipping boxes to sell their products. According to the Food Market Institute, there are currently over 40,000 products in the average supermarket in the USA alone, and yours needs to stand above the rest to sell. We will be covering the top six packaging design rules in this article.

1. Be Practical
In the packaging design world, practicality means the shape, color, and functionality of the package. Consumers like functional packaging and the more functional a brand's packaging are, the more products that will sell. This important point is one of the most overlooked points in packaging design. Take shipping boxes, for example, they have a simple layout, but are almost instantly recognizable.

2. Ease of Extension
Any product design should think about extendability. Brands change and add sub groups all the time, and you should keep this in mind when you design the packaging. You want an easy, versatile design that can translate to several different categories.

3. Standing Out on the Shelf

You should consider that your consumer will rarely if ever, see the product alone or by itself on a shelf. Your packaging has to stand out against thousands of other products, and this is called shelf impact. The more your product stands out, the better it's going to sell. You should test several options with a small test group of family or friends to see which design catches their eye and makes them take a closer look.

4. Be Authentic
Your product is surrounded all day, every day by competitors products. You will need an authentic, bold design to stand out amongst the masses. For example, if all the other packaging is designed to sit horizontally, make your packaging vertical. This will make it stand out and catch the customer's eye.

5. Be Honest
Your aim with being honest is to make the packaging represent the product inside. If you depict a perfect product, the product inside better be perfect. Consumers will feel cheated and be less likely to buy it again if they're disappointed by the actual product because it didn't match up to the packaging. The consumer expects the packaging to look a little better than the original product, but still stay true to what the product is.

6. Be Simple and Clear
Your packaging should be able to convey two things at a quick glance:
  1. What is the product used for?
  2. Which brand made the product?
Your packaging has approximately four seconds to convey this to the consumer. That is the maximum time someone browsing will dedicate to looking at any one product. If they can find both of those things at a quick glance, they are more likely to purchase the product. Some products have room for a little mystery, but more mainstream brands don't have that luxury. If your packaging fails to deliver on these two basic design elements, it has a better chance of failing. 

If all of these points are kept in mind next time you start designing a package, you should be able to create a bold product that will stand out.