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6 Ways Structural Design Can Transform Your Brand

Posted By: SGK April 25, 2017

Whether brands are looking for bottle design, carton design, pop displays, product design, luxury packaging, sustainable packaging, or pack innovations, they are most likely going to start with a structural design approach.

In our recent BrandSquare webinar, Tim James, senior director of structural packaging and innovation at Anthem Worldwide, offers his take on how to leverage consumer insights to guide and steer innovative structural design packaging that transforms brands.

Watch the entire webinar here: Structural Packaging 101: Insight Driven Innovation

Structural Packaging 101: Insight Driven Innovation

From rough sketches to visualization, 3D prototyping to mockups, structural design can offer the following benefits to brands:

Build brand equity. When you think of all the brands that you love — the ones that you’ve grown up with and use on a daily basis, often we think of very familiar forms and shapes. These shapes give brands an ownable look and feel and acts as a differentiator to other brands on-shelf.

“Structural design goes beyond the package to create beautiful displays.” – Tim James

Create a more sustainable package. Sustainable packaging is increasingly becoming more popular on a brand’s criteria list. Recently, Coca-Cola explained its commitment to sustainable packaging in an interview with Packaging Digest. With a focus on partnering with new technologies and organizations to move them forward, a goal of reducing their carbon footprint is becoming more of a reality, with their introduction of the 100% plant-based PlantBottle. This is a fully recyclable PET package that minimizes their impact on the environment — from design to sourcing and recovery. 

Add manufacturing efficiencies. Working from the previous point, in some cases, sustainable packaging also helps to reduce manufacturing costs. Ease of distribution and speed to market is another piece of criteria many brands are looking for with their structural design strategy.

READ: 6 Ways to Get Your Branded Materials to Market Faster  

Improve handling/function of the package. Oftentimes, it is beneficial to see and experience prototypes in 3D to better understand how the package will function. This helps to guide the storytelling process.

By providing prototypes to customer groups through events, like consumer workshops, brands and design teams can collect feedback before a product launch. This approach enables emotional connections with the packaging and encourages communication regarding consumer pain-points.

“You need to be able to try things and experiment very early on.” – Tim James

Stand out over the competition. A unique structural design or 3D enhancements to an existing structure can help give a brand the unique characteristics that it needs to stand out on shelf from the competition. It’s important to begin with an understanding of what is already available on the market in the direct competitive landscape.

Create innovative packaging solutions. When a brand launches a new product, sometimes the goal is for the packaging to look different from other products. With innovative approaches, brands can use structural design to create unique ways to stand out from the rest. To succeed in producing an innovative packaging solution, design teams must first look at the following:

  • Category landscape
  • Trends and inspiration
  • Category innovations

With this approach, design teams are able to pull consumer and industry insight to deliver products that solve consumer pain-points and excel the brand forward.


So, how do we put it all together to create beautiful structural design?

To get there, one of the first things design teams must accomplish is a category audit and observation — not just consumer observation, but also technical audits to understand the different manufacturing issues and constraints.

Collecting consumer insights prior to the design process is key as these are the factors in which designs are based upon. Then comes category audits — looking deeper into trends and finding new innovations and inspirations in packaging.

For more information on how structural design can help your brand, contact Tim James.

For more insights on enhancing your packaging initiatives, download: RGB Printing Brings Spectacular Visual Possibilities to Packaging