Shape, form and the psychology of packaging

Last year I concentrated on looking into colour, I am concentrating more on shape and form and the psychology behind it to represent the importance of certain pieces of packaging design. Not only is colour important aesthetically, but shape is too. Complicated shapes will make it difficult for potential customers and clients to see the drawing and understand the message. Just like colour, shapes too have an element of psychology to them:

The shape of packaging can also have a profound effect on the sale of an item. If consumers can be persuaded to pick up a product, compelled by an unusual shape or texture, it’s more likely they will purchase that product.

My research will start around looking at Gestalt psychology “essence or shape of an entity’s complete form”.


Tear Open Packaging

Another thing I am interested in looking at is tear open packaging and the psychology behind this, and question what exactly it is that gets us so enthusiastic to open up a product to retrieve our goods.

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Opening Packaging

I am interested in looking at the way we view, hold and open packaging. From a very early age we know how to use a piece of packaging, and open it to get to our goods. I tested this out and filmed it using my one year old niece who has an enormous love for chocolate. With the Thornton’s chocolate there was no hesitation, she lifted the lid off the box immediately. Within 16 seconds she had one of the chocolates in her mouth.1 2 3With the box of Malteasers she found this one a little more confusing. She understood the hole in the top lid was an opening to get chocolate but wanted the second section fully open to get a full view and her hands all over the chocolate, and worked this out within 25 seconds of having the product.

I found this particularly interesting to test out on a one year old with not having the ability to read yet, or have been influenced or overloaded with information.

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I have been keeping in touch with some valuable contacts ready for my collaboration module. I already have a good idea of the areas that I’d like to investigation further into and I have been careful to contact the right people.

Audience research and consumers is something I am interested in most.

After a meeting with last week with one of my potential people I would like to collaborate with I felt we could each offer one another something different and beneficial. He particularly wants to attract a completely new audience into buying and using his product.

Stripping the brand – pushing this further

Here I have created a series of packaging focusing on the brand colours and packaging shape and size. The packaging includes no information, written brand information or imagery. The reason for this was to analyse the packaging and question weather this was still recognisable from the colours, and size or material of the product.
When analysing Aldi’s products, I repeated this process and pulled the packaging apart to reveal the net, finding their products were an exact replicate of the well known products.  Therefore In order to create my packaging, I pulled apart the product net of each of the products I was intending to replicate and used the exact packaging net to the approximate size, and exact colour values.
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Before summer break, I had not pushed this idea far enough. I questioned numerous people what they seen the products as, but I did not get a realistic result from this. Prototypes can offer the best feedback, testing the product in a real situation, with a real audience (on a shelf – with consumers) will make my results more accurate. I need to conduct this in a normal shopping pattern and get the consumer to think more about shopping than testing to avoid getting skewed.

Aldi Copycat Brands

After looking into the Aldi TV commercials where they suggest within the advert that their isn’t really much difference between the two products I went into the store to observe the products. I noticed a lot of their products were a replicate of big branded products. This includes similar names, exact colours or ones very similar and exact product package from the size, to the materials used. This led me to create a series of packaging which includes no information, written brand information or imagery. The reason for this was to analyse the packaging and question weather this was still recognisable from the colours, and size or material of the product.

Shapes and colours discount stickers

I’ve recently been interested in discount stickers on supermarket products. Designing products and packaging for retail myself I had designed a call to action on the packaging design, without thinking I had done this in a star shape. After a discussion to evaluate the packaging we came to the conclusion that the star shapes made the packaging look cheap and de-valued the product.

The majority of discount stickers are red and white, yellow or blue. I noticed Sainsbury’s uses orange discount stickers on their products which immediately allowed me to recognise the product was from Sainsbury’s. It also stood out as a discounted item on the shelf; however it was interesting to see a brand use their main brand colour for their discounted stickers.