How to Hire the Right Packaging Design Firm

Think about the care that goes into finding the best ingredients for your wine or spirit: the highest quality grapes, the finest botanicals, the sustainably grown grains. You spent plenty of time researching the growers and vetting their credentials. You sampled other products made from their ingredients to be sure that their flavor characteristics matched your vision for your brand.

When it comes time to packaging your spirit or wine, shouldn’t you invest the same level of time and intention in selecting the right packaging design firm for your brand?

Do be clear on what you want from a packaging design firm.

Scan industry websites, packaging design awards, and store shelves to see the visual trends in your category. Then decide what you’re looking for: Something that looks beautiful? A style that mimics other brands in your space? Something that visually conveys your brand’s unique story?

Don’t undervalue the role of design in your brand’s success.

If it’s just an element on your pre-launch to-do list, you, can hire almost anyone. But if you view packaging as an investment in your future success, you’ll seek a strategic partner with experience in crafting a box, bottle, or label that expresses the essence of your brand. Remember that consumers buy with their eyes; since they can’t sample your product before they take it home, the package has to make a compelling sales pitch on its behalf.

Do set criteria for your product and its packaging.

What has to happen for you to be certain that your product is successful — your sales goals, penetration of a specific market, acquisition strategy? Are industry awards, influencer endorsements, or social media buzz essential to your marketing strategy, and is an attention-grabbing label critical to those plans? These success metrics will help shape the creative direction and guide decision making during the design process.

Do have a brand vision.

This stems from the positioning work the brand team does even before they approach production and packaging. What is the brand’s back story: its history and place of origin, its passionate founders, its unique characteristics? What is its mission — maybe to capture the romance of a particular time or place, or to elevate a particular varietal, or to celebrate life’s beautiful moments? Without a strategic foundation for the brand — one that you and your team are fully committed to — it’s virtually impossible to create an ownable, engaging package design. Document that vision in writing or visuals (such as a mood board or inspiration board), whatever you’re comfortable with.

Don’t skip the creative brief.

Business goals and brand vision come together in a creative brief that guides all creative direction and all client approval decisions. Written by the client and designer together, the brief needs to be coherent and focused and authentic, to capture the real story behind the brand. While you might be tempted to offer your packaging design firm complete creative freedom — “We just want to see what you come up with” — you’re actually guaranteed a better outcome by framing the project with constraints that everyone knows and agrees upon. If you can go in any direction, what direction do you go?

Don’t overmanage.

An experienced packaging design firm will take project management off your hands, leaving you to focus on crafting the product and managing the brand. Expect the designer to set timelines, schedule meetings, and adhere to key milestones. Your role is to provide thoughtful commentary on how the creative meets (or doesn’t) the brief. There’s a bright line between providing clear feedback and micromanaging.

Do seek a true partnership.

When you’ve done the same kind of research to find the best packaging design agency that you’d do to find the right grape or grain, you lay the groundwork for an optimal working relationship – one built on trust, collaboration, and shared values.

Our clients know that we’re on their side and want the best for their product. If you’re interested in that kind of partnership, let’s talk.

Book a discovery call today!

Let’s create something beautiful.

A complete Guide to spirits packaging design

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