After we’ve talked about the Do’s and Don’ts in the package design process and we’ve covered extensively the topic on efficient rebranding the product portfolio, now we’ll discuss briefly one of the most important aspects in package design – the Layout Design.
So, what is Layout design?
It is the art of using all the graphics, text and spaces so to convey the message and appeal of the product package that you need your customers to understand and feel. Yet, layout design plays crucial part in the efficient package design process especially when we talk for crafting designs for several product lines under one brand umbrella. The effective layout will sell more, by “talking” less.
Let’s dive into the 4 major points of the Layout Design and understand more of their importance.
1. Handling the Elements
The first step, which should be made advance to optimize the process, is to figure out what are your elements that should be present on the design. Texts, visuals, logos, pack shots, markings, barcode, etc – everything that needs to be on the box so to figure the most optimal lay-out.
Imagine a situation where you have to add an additional product certification marking on the box, and that has to be done after the design is nearly finalized. In such case, the total lay-out must be remade, which might affect the pricing and the artwork production timings. It will be a lot easier to have everything in advance for a smoother package design process.
Pointing out the most relevant elements is also a crucial part of the elements management. It will ease the design workflow and will produce a better result, reflecting the product values and producing the most visually appealing layout.
2. Finding the Weight & Balance
The balance between the elements is essential part of the design. Usually, the best approach is to make the different portions relatable with a clear numerical connection between them. One of the most effective approaches is to start sizing the elements from an element that is full-width or full-height of the overall design. That will ensure that the smaller elements will be balanced and transferable to various sizes. If such element isn’t present or planned in the design, another approach is to use the actual box width or height to start sizing.
The next step is to size the elements which are most important such as logo or product name. For a balanced feel, normally those parts shouldn’t exceed 30% of the total size. The actual width or height depends on the logo aspect ratio or logo type.
After that elements that follow are sized and positioned according to specifications, relating to the main elements. The combination of visual appeal and strong mathematical connection will produce a striking and eye-catchy design, which will be likeable on a subconscious level.
3. Playing with Composition
After the elements are sized, it is good to create an optimal composition. Of course, that step may lead to an iteration on previous point and if something in the composition doesn’t feel right in terms of sizing, elements should be resized.
There are several rules that help in the artwork production and lead to the best results.
- The rule of third
In this classic method the whole design is divided in three rows and three columns and elements are placed according to that division. The location where the vertical and the horizontal division cross are the focal points where the most important elements should be placed. For example, one of the most effective locations to put a logo is the upper or lower left focal point. This approach makes the key elements a lot more visible and easy to spot.
- Shelf Impact
When creating the package design, always have in mind that in most of the cases the product is never seen alone in retail. You can create a piece of art which might look great on its own, but when on the shelf it might blend in with the other products and make yours a lot less distinctive. The best approach here is to keep the design as clean as possible so it will be visible in the surrounding “product noise”.
A great approach in composing the elements is to use the theories on how people read and receive information. The most important ones in terms of package design are the Z-scanning and F-scanning.
- In the Z-scanning case, when someone glances at a design, it is subconsciously separated in four parts through the middle of both height and width. The top left part is the Primary Optical Area, the top right part is the Strong Fallow Area, the bottom left part is the Weak Fallow Area and the bottom right part is the Terminal Area. The Z-scan means that the individual first sees the top left part of the design and skips the two following and goes directly to the Terminal Area. Hence, in terms of composition, the best places to put vital design elements are the top left and bottom right part.
- The F-scanning separates the design pane in two parts which form an F. The first element of the design composition is the one that the users focus most and with each line the attention deteriorates.
Both approaches are applicable, but it depends on the product and its point-of-contact to determine which one is more suitable. The Z-scan is better for everyday products which doesn’t require a lengthy buying decision process, while the F-scan is better for packages that entail bigger attention from consumers.
In the end, a good composition can make a significant difference in the final design and can affect the product’s sales.
4. Adjusting the Fine-tune
One of the last steps is to fine tune everything and double/triple/quadruple check for consistency. Although this may seem as a regular check task, a lot of changes on the lay-out are happening exactly at this stage.
The best approach is to start the whole process over again in your head upon the already created design and to iterate at each step. That will ensure a full-on consistency and maybe will expose some minor mistakes that have been made. Another necessity of great importance is to check on all the smaller elements on the design. Usually, they are a bit neglected during the element sizing and composition, but they are essential for the beautiful final result.
We hope that by now you have realized the importance and peculiarities of the effective layout design in the product packaging. If you like to chat more and see what we can do for you, do not hesitate to connect.
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