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The Two Types of Packaging Design

Cover photo image source.

To put it plain and simple, there are two types of packaging design: the good ones and the bad ones.

Bad packaging manifests in many different ways:

Bad packaging: Bagged eggs. Image source

Exhibit A.

Now if only eggs came with some sort of protective shell...this is bad packaging for several reasons, the main one being its wastefulness. Eggshells do a wonderful job at containing eggs without the need for plastic, and by contrast have many beneficial fertilizing effects on the environment. Also, what do you do when your recipe calls for one egg? Properly rationing out a yolk and its egg white seems like a much more complex task when packaged this way.

Bad packaging: Over-wrapped bananas. Image source

Exhibit B.

Similar to the bagged eggs, this product packaging is wasteful by virtue of redundancy. This is the equivalent of taking a carton of eggs and singularly packaging each and every one of them. In their shell. Who wants just one banana? What if I need five? I now have a dining set’s worth of styrofoam plates.

To whoever buys these bananas: please remember to at least open them the right way.

Bad packaging: Misleading pasta. Image source

Exhibit C

Who ate the other half of my lasagna? Not only is this packaging wasteful, it's deceitful. We all try our best to be “glass half full” kind of people, but there’s no sugar coating this one. That box is half empty.


As you might have concluded, environmentally-conscious, minimal, and honest packaging are all qualities that generally constitute “good” packaging design. When done right, good packaging design can increase the awareness of a product, build the appropriate perception and understanding of that product, improve the perceived value of the product, and ultimately increase the sales of the product.

Here is an example of a packaging design done right:

Good Packaging: Oxfam Fair. Image source

A design company was commissioned to develop the packaging design for the Oxfam Fair brand, with the goal of ensuring this brand could compete against established supermarket brands.

The pictured design solution is so effective because it not only improved sales, but influenced the way this Fair Trade product was treated post-purchase. The bold, black and white brand mark is memorable and has a strong presence that its' purchaser can proudly display in their home or office. In turn, the additional product exposure and distribution of the Fair Trade message is reinforced, which establishes a circle of additional awareness and sales.

Read more on the Oxfam Fair brand and how packaging design can be used to boost Fair Trade; and remember: a product’s package design has a profound influence on how a product is perceived, understood, purchased, and used. 

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