Whether you are a start-up still in the process of developing your product, or an established business looking for a facelift to attract the attention of the big multiples, choosing the right packaging designer will be one of the most important marketing decisions you will make this year.
Packaging acts as your shop window. When budgets are tight, well-designed packaging that engages your target audience both on and offline will deliver the best return for your marketing spend.
A quick Google search will present an overwhelming choice of design options, from local freelancers and design per hour platforms to agencies covering a wide range of services that vary even more wildly in budget.
Do not fear, here are some tips to help you make the right decision about your design partner. If you are still unsure after reading this article… give us a call. I’m pretty sure we can help!
1. Seek recommendations
Whilst an online search can be a good place to start, we would strongly advise you ask for recommendations where possible. Try friends, family, and your social network, but also try seeking out new networks that suit your particular category or size of business, such as startup workspaces, online foodie forums or industry events like Bread and Jam Fest. Failing this, validate your choices with real customer feedback, ask to speak to a previous client directly if you can.
2. Expect genuine interest
You should get a feel for this within minutes of the first meeting or call. It can be determined by the questions they ask, and of course, how much they actually listen!! Demonstrating a genuine interest in your challenges, goals, and aspirations and wanting to know as much about you and what brought you to this point as your products is a good way to gauge their interest. The first interaction should leave you feeling like you’ve found someone who ‘totally gets it’, not too much to ask is it?!
3. Ask for commercial credentials
The designer or design team should want to understand your target audience, where you wish to sell and who are your direct and indirect competitors are, amongst many other market-related questions. These type of conversations should reassure you that they have your long-term commercial goals in mind. But as always, the proof is in the pudding. Can they demonstrate any listings and/ or sales uplift as a result of their design work?
4. Look beyond the portfolio
You have checked out their work and like what you see, but any great creative relationship depends on chemistry so it’s imperative you can see yourselves kicking ideas around long-term. Good designers will come to the table brimming with ideas from the outset, they will be good at helping you visualise the possibilities and getting you excited during initial conversations before they ‘put pen to paper’. They should also be good at challenging you in a constructive and inspiring way and apply fresh thinking to your design challenges.
5. Make sure they have a process
Find out up front how they work. Ask about the design process and how you will feed into this, what are the commercial terms and what will the deliverables be? There is not really a right or wrong answer and for some people, too much process can feel unnecessary. However, you should feel reassured that there is some kind of framework that will allow you to have your input and reach a result that meets your expectations, without any unexpected surprises – like a bill for changes you expected to be built into the quote.
No question is a silly question and you should never be made to feel that way. Dig as much as you feel necessary to feed your gut feeling, which ultimately wins out in these situations. If you get on well and they work hard to reassure you without overpromising, their credentials and client testimonials stack up and the project process is structured to your liking – then you should be onto a winner… best of luck!