If you are thinking of venturing into a new look for your packaging or are starting from scratch, we have a few pieces of advice to make the process a success:
• Take your time: If you hurry into the package designing process, it will show, so slow it down a bit. It's a huge decision, and will involve some expense so be sure to have a well-rounded, solid idea before making any final purchases. Come up with ideas slowly, over time, based on a good deal of thought and research.
• Seek out an expert: Don't feel the least bit down if you cannot develop a packaging set on your own. Just repeat the following: “Photographers, not package designers.” Luckily there is an entire sub-group of talented folks in the design profession who eat, sleep, breathe, create, and obsess over packaging practically 24/7. Contact several designers for their portfolios and interview each to see who fits your brand the best. Hiring someone to design your packaging is not only a time saver, you'll have the benefit of their expertise as a consultant. Have a strange request or a custom piece you need designed? Chances are they will know where to find it or will at least be able to point you in the right direction.
If your budget doesn't allow you to commission a custom designer, a more affordable (and just as gorgeous) option is to purchase a branding template suite from a company like Design Aglow. For a fraction of the cost, and even more flexibility with customization, you can be up and running in a matter of days.
• Keep a photo journal: If you see some packaging you like while out and about, snap a quick photo and make a quick note in a journal about what you like about it and how you would use it in your own studio. You can also find an enormous amount of inspiration online on sites such as Pinterest!
• Free your mind: You don't have to look only to other photography studios for packaging ideas. There is inspiration everywhere! Take a day and go window shopping in your town's trendy boutique area. Notice not only how high-end packages are designed, but also how colors, type, and graphics are used. Some of the top marketers in the world spend more than a small country developing, designing, and executing the packaging for their products. You can benefit from their laborious research and attention to detail simply by studying their work and understanding what makes their packaging great. Some of our favorite sources of packaging inspiration are: jewelry companies, trendy cosmetics (MAC is a particularly lovely brand), couture chocolate and candy shops, and stationery stores, especially brands like Papyrus and Paper Source.
• Read up: There are many books out there solely dedicated to showcasing the work of the best package designers in the world. They are available in practically any bookstore in the graphic design section, as well as in many libraries. If you are truly stuck on a particular packaging item, we guarantee you won't be after thumbing through a few of these inspirational gems!
• Make it modular: Building your packaging collection a la carte will ensure that you won't have a storehouse full of unused merchandise should you choose to change it up someday. Source your packaging goods from many different vendors so that it is as custom as possible. Pre-printed items can be great, and look very professional, but you may choose to use a stamp, stickers, or tags to add your logo and studio information to your packaging. This will ensure that everything is uniform and that more packaging items can be added at a later time without any hassle or excess expense.Remember, whether we like it or not, books are judged by their covers, and products by their packaging, so always give your packaging the love and attention it deserves. It will pay off more than you can imagine, bringing a better client experience, bigger sales, more referrals, and of course, the pride of knowing your precious portraits and albums are always dressed to the nines! Want to see more ideas for studio branding? Check out what's new in the Shop.