Category Archives: Packaging Design

Labels are an integral part of many packaging designs. Here in the Packaging Design Archive, you will find tips for creating your own successful packaging designs, as well as examples of the most innovative, effective, and inspirational packaging designs we have found. This archive also includes blog posts related to packaging design that encompass topics such as color selection and logo design.

4 Tips for Uncorking a Stand-Out Wine Label Design

Wine Label DesignWine Label Design is an Important Part of the Overall Package

If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, it’s important the wine label design is up to snuff. Crafting the perfect wine is a detail-rich task, as subtle flavors and smells can make or break a fine wine. The same can be said about bottle labels – every detail and color used on labels should be there for a specific purpose. This can elevate the brand and establish the wine as being a product enthusiasts really want to consume.

Conversely, a bland wine label can send the wrong message to customers or may even lose the vintner precious sales. A subdued label may not be optimal for a refreshing summer wine. At the same time, an elegant label on a value-priced wine bottle may cause consumers to overlook it. Simply being over-generic hinders winemakers’ ability to stand out on store shelves. There are numerous ways vintners can go wrong.

However, there are a few steps winemakers can take to craft the ideal wine bottle:

1. Understand Current Wine Bottle Labels

What message do current wine bottle labels send to customers? As Practical Winery noted, few vintners actually consider how customers interpret their labels. They know the message, but their customers may see something differently, which could lead to suboptimal results. If vintners think eloquent but customers think generic, there is a big problem with the label.

2. What Should Wine Bottle Labels Say?

Once winemakers understand the message they are sending to customers through their wine bottle labels, they need to think of what they want to say with their labels. Just as a fine wine complements good food, the label should support the wine it’s promoting. Is the wine something customers should bring to their friends’ house for a party? Or is it something that should only be consumed at special occasions? Is it something that consumers should give as a gift? These are all important considerations.

3. Design Multiple Labels and Pick the One that Best Suits the Intended Direction

Focus testing is an important part of creating a representative label. Winemakers should design a variety of different labels and ask what others think of them. The key here is finding the right label that matches what vintners are trying to convey with their wines – the more designs they have, the more likely they are to find one that fits the intended message.

4. Get the Label Printed Up

Once winemakers have decided on their final label, they need to get it printed. This is where custom label and sticker printing companies, such as Lightning Labels, come in handy – theycan provide vintners with a proof and other options to ensure their final labels look just as good as they envisioned. The printing process can be a daunting one, since the final image can vary slightly depending on the paper material and adhesive used, which is why it’s important to work with a company that can provide winemakers with proofs.

Picture Perfect Labels: 5 Tips for Designing Eye-Catching Labels

Picture Perfect LabelsWinning New Customers With an Eye-Catching Label

Part of product design is an eye-catching label. Although quality will always be important, the fact of the matter is that many shoppers tend to be visually oriented – well-designed products will capture their attention and pique their interest. If brands want to stand out from the crowd and reach a broader number of consumers, one way they can start is by simply designing a better label.

This is true across all product categories, whether companies are producing bottles of wine, bags of coffee, nutraceutical products or anything in between.

Five Tips for Creating Attention-Getting Labels

Fortunately for businesses, there are established best practices and a lot of science behind developing attention-getting labels. Here are a few of the key points to remember:

1. Color is Key for Stand Out Labels
Never underestimate the role that smart color choice plays in the creation of stand out labels. Many companies realize that vibrant colors pop out on store shelves and can catch the attention of passerby customers, but that’s not the only thing that should be considered.

According to Street Directory contributor Kurt Geer, different colors carry unique messages about the brand. For example, black suggests the company in question is an authority within its industry, while blue carries a message of security and responsibility. As brands develop their labels, it’s important to remember the different impacts they can have on customer perception.

2. More Isn’t Always Better, but Neither is Less
Sometimes organizations want to jam pack their labels with pertinent information, others  want to keep their stickers as minimalist as possible. The truth of the matter is that information density will depend a lot on the category in which the item in questions falls.

A high-class wine might want to stick with the minimalist route to convey a sense of luxury, while pharmaceutical products need to have all the appropriate information on their labels or else they may face lawsuits. While design pundits may argue one way or the other, it will depend largely on the brand in question and the product the company produces.

3. Be Careful with Claims
Claiming a product is made in the U.S.A. or through sustainable practices is a great way to differentiate a product from competitors and can help businesses win over some customers. However, many of these claims require companies to take specific action in order to print them on product labels and packaging. If companies don’t follow the rules precisely, they may jeopardize the trust of consumers and find themselves on the wrong ends of fines.

4. Pick the Right Label Materials
Not all labels are equal. Some are designed for in-store display, while others are constructed to endure outside weather conditions. Failure to consider where products will be displayed can lead to easily damaged labels that won’t attract any customers.

5. Size and shape
Scalability is important to label design, especially when companies produce various sizes of their goods. Labels should be scalable, as this will help save the company time in production and it will also preserve branding efforts.

Designing an attractive label is no easy task, but following these five steps can help companies get on their way.

Flaunt Artisan and Homemade Products with Custom Jar Labels

Custom Jar LabelsCustom Jar Labels Turn Homemade Goods into Professional Products

If people want to take their homemade products to the next level, custom jar labels are the perfect way to do it. Americans are getting increasingly crafty, growing their own vegetables, making their own food, brewing their own beer and otherwise producing homemade goods. Not only is this a fun activity that friends and family members can do together, it can also be an inexpensive way to get food items, drinks and other products you’d otherwise have to purchase.

Several studies conducted by food groups have noted the surge in popularity associated with homemade good production. For example, the American Homebrewers Association found that more than 1 million Americans brew their own beer nowadays, with special interest groups growing nearly fivefold from over the past decade.

So, how can enthusiastic producers take their hobbies one step further? Custom jar labels may be the answer to that question, giving their goods an extra level of professionalism.

Personalized Food Labels Allow People to Own Their Goods

Anyone who gets really invested into producing their own products wants complete ownership of it, and personalized food labels enable them to do that.

For example, say you wanted to give your products to a friend or family member as a gift. Giving someone an unlabeled jar of jam makes the gift look like a last-minute present that was thrown together. With personalized food labels, you can improve the presentation of your goods significantly, making these items meaningful gifts that people will cherish.

Not only that, but personalized food labels can prevent confusion in the household. Unlabeled products and drinks can leave people not knowing what a particular item is or how old it is. This can lead to some problems, particularly with artisan foods and drinks that have specific pairings or items that have short shelf lives.

DIY Food Labels Ensure the Success of Specialty Food Products

Regardless of the food or drink items people make, whether it’s beer, sauces, jams, baked goods or anything else, DIY food labels can help people bring their homemade items to the next level. Not only will they display better on shelves or in pantries, they also contain pertinent information, such as contents and expiration dates.

With the right labels, people can get professional-looking stickers for any type of food product, made of reliable materials that won’t get washed out or damaged and obscure text and images if they get wet. At the end of the day, this is critical to maximize the enjoyment of these goods.

Whether people want to give away their homemade goods as gifts, use them personally or even want to consider selling them at some point, the personalized labels can go a long way in improving the production value of these items and making them more presentable to others. After investing time and effort in your food or drink, a DIY food label enhances the professional image.

The Importance of Ingredient Clarity in Lotion Bottle Labeling

Be Clear in Labeling Lotion Bottles

lotion bottles for labeling from Lightning Labels

Ingredients are an important consideration when labeling lotion bottles.

When labeling lotion bottles, being as transparent as possible will help you gain customer loyalty. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of what components go into the products they are purchasing.

Not all companies can make their lotions all-natural, but being upfront about ingredients can help put customers at ease. Custom lotion labels should be an informational resource for shoppers.

Lotion Label Design Ideas to Help Highlight Ingredients

If you’re looking for lotion label design ideas, consider indicating what ingredients are for and making this section prominent. The most attention-grabbing aspect of the bottle should be the brand name, followed by the purpose of the lotion. Is it an aftershave, body or hand lotion? The ingredients should take up most of the space on the bottle that’s not devoted to branding information. Listing ingredients in large text helps to communicate that you do not wish to hide anything from consumers. Putting this information in small print can make companies appear deceitful. If natural ingredients are a main selling point for your brand, feel free to spotlight this information. If an ingredient looks questionable – for instance, if it is long and hard to pronounce, it may be a good idea to explain what it is. Phenoxyethanol is an off-putting word, but this ingredient is used as a preservative to prevent the growth of yeast, bacteria and mold, according to The Honest Company, a producer of products for babies. Customers will appreciate being educated on the purpose of strange-sounding ingredients.

Use Lotion Bottle Stickers to Inform Shoppers

Implement an informational campaign on lotion bottle stickers. You can demonstrate openness about your brand by providing details about different ingredients on various products. This strategy could also demonstrate thought leadership qualities, meaning you won’t just be providing a body product, but a helpful service as well. Whenever customers buy a new bottle of lotion, they can learn about a different ingredient used in the product. It’s also a good idea to provide some educational resources online that customers can peruse at their leisure. Indicate on the label that consumers can visit your company website to learn more about what goes into your products.

Emphasize Natural Colors

The use of color in bath and beauty product labeling can also send a message about the product. Very bright colors that could only be achieved with dyes may communicate that a product uses synthetic materials. Most best-selling lotions use muted colors on their packaging. Cream, white, off-white and tan are the most often used tones in lotion labeling. These indicate naturally-derived substances, like shea or coconut butter, and enhance the image to support the ingredients used in the formulation.

Label Design Ideas for New Year’s Resolutions

Use Label Design Ideas for New Year’s Resolutions to Increase Sales

running with design ideas for New Year’s resolutions

Help motivate consumers when coming up label design ideas for New Year’s resolutions.

Take advantage of the spirit of self-renewal when thinking up label design ideas for New Year’s resolutions. Because consumers are changing their habits, certain markets open up at the beginning of the year. This is a good time to create new custom product labels that help those with new resolutions take steps to reach their goals. With a savvy design scheme, you can use labels to attract new customers and strengthen your relationship with existing fans. Losing weight is one of the top resolutions that individuals make every year. This means athletic gear, healthy foods, beverages and nutraceutical supplements could be in high demand over the next few months, especially if they’re packaged with the right labels.

1. Be Informative When Labeling for New Year’s Resolutions

When labeling for New Year’s resolutions, provide helpful tips for those hoping to live healthier lifestyles. On food labels, include recipes for wholesome dishes. Food product labels can also be used to communicate ideas for exercises or stretches. Demonstrate that your brand is a helpful informational resource for those hoping to become more active in the New Year.

Other types of companies can join in too. Since supplements and sports beverages tend to support healthy lifestyle changes, utilize label space to provide advice on how to eat more nutritious meals or how to target nutrients that optimize energy.

2. Use Motivational Colors in Product Labeling for New Year’s

Alert customers that you’re on their side by visually changing product labeling for New Year’s. Making small changes in wording and color can go a long way in attracting the attention of a new customer group. Certain colors are more likely to motivate people to get moving. For instance, studies have shown that the color green has beneficial effects on the psychology of people exercising. Being shown pleasant images of outdoor green spaces during a workout has shown positive effects on mood.

3. Provide Encouragement on Labels

If you sell a product that can help people reach their goals, create a promotion. For example, if you create a healthy cereal, give consumers a discount after they have purchased a certain number of boxes. Offer a free giveaway that will help customers reach their goals, like a pedometer. Brands can also include blank charts on health product labels that will help customers monitor their own progress by keeping track of meals and exercise routines. Another simple way to help is to provide motivational language that lets consumers know that your brand supports their activities. Saying “you can do it” provides positive reinforcement that will make customers want to continue purchasing your products.

Labels Play Many Marketing Roles

Labels In Storytelling, Shelf Impact, Brand Recognition…

custom labels from Lightning Labels MarketingWeek magazine details the weighty burden that packaging (and therefore labeling) plays in product marketing and consumer sentiment. Among the areas tying into packaging and custom labels are storytelling, brand recognition and shelf impact.

Ed Woodcock, strategy director of Australian beauty brand Aesop, explains his view of this multifaceted role in an article published recently in MarketingWeek. He notes, “When a shopper is weighing up what to buy, it’s packaging that prompts the pivotal ‘moment of truth.’”

He then details a New York Times columnist wanting to demonstrate how “story” impacts consumer assessment of value: “…it’s not just products in themselves that we value, but also the story that goes with them…So he decided to conduct an experiment.”

Woodcock then tells the tale of the columnist purchasing 100 worn-down items from flea market and thrift shops, then paired each with talented writers tasked with telling a short story about the object to give it new meaning. “The results were astounding,” writes Woodcock. “The average rise in value was 2,700 per cent. A 33c mallet sold for $71. A 25c plastic banana fetched $76.”

Adds Woodcock, “The experiment is a reminder that branding is much like storytelling. Brands attribute meaning to objects and charge otherwise functional products with emotion, much like the stories in the experiment. Marketing is a form of storytelling…It’s a nice anecdote, but what’s this got to do with design?…The obvious answer is that packaging should tell a story…”

Can Product Packaging Tell A Story?

He elaborates, “Ask any designer if packaging can tell a story, and the unequivocal answer will be: ‘Yes, of course!’ By means of colour, visual metaphor, symbol, texture and materials, you can create a mood and a feeling…copywriters can add an engaging tone of voice.

“So, yes, packaging can tell a story. But it has a lot of other responsibilities too; not least shelf impact, product delivery and brand recognition…One of the primary functions of packaging is to help consumers make a choice at the shelf. It prompts a ‘moment of truth’. Many of the choices we make at the supermarket shelf are habitual: we like what we know…But charge a brand with enough meaning and emotion, and consumers can be persuaded to make a change…”

Given the many hats that packaging and labels can wear, it’s important to carefully think through development of these critical elements—not just throw something together as an afterthought. As Woodcock points out, “Packaging is often your brand’s most important medium.”

This is all great food for thought. To get from thought to action, first decide priority. While storytelling, brand recognition and shelf impact are all vitally important, what’s your top concern today? Then, decide how the other areas can support the process.

For example, let’s say your shelf impact isn’t where you want it to be. Will a new label design help you better stand out from the crowd? How can you ramp up overall brand recognition with an indelible tie to the label, so that people seeing your product(s) on the shelf will have an “aha” moment? What stories can you create that also tie to the labeling, further enhancing shelf recognition?

Think About What You Want Your Label Design To Do

Rethinking your label design in light of its weighty role in marketing your product? When you’re ready to go, we’re ready to help you get there.

Package Design Contests Go Global

Package Design Contests: Heineken Uses Crowdsourcing For 60+ Appeal

Product package design contests are now appealing to a worldwide audience. Packaging World magazine detailed a design contest sponsored by Heineken to find innovative beer bottle labels and other ways to appeal to the sixty-plus crowd, a rapidly growing segment of the population:

“[Heineken] is using a dedicated Web site called IdeasBrewery.com to leverage crowdsourcing in its approach to innovation generally and to package design in particular…[According to Mark van Iterson, head of the Heineken Brand Design and Concept team], ‘We’ve been crowdsourcing for more than 10 years now. What’s different about IdeasBrewery.com is that we bring a highly formalized and structured approach to it. We get input from design professionals, packaging materials experts, and industrial designers. Not to mention the fact that it has produced some package designs that have gone into commercial production and been distributed worldwide.’”

Heineken beer bottles

Photo: Heineken beer bottles, by Raido Kaldma Source: Flickr Creative Commons

In case you didn’t already know, Merriam-Webster defines “crowdsourcing” as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.” Basically, Heineken’s approach is product design on steroids.

Heineken has been busy on other form-and-function crowdsourcing fronts, including label creation contests tied to its “Ignite” bottle. In the Packaging World article, Van Iterson notes that the Ignite concept features, “a glass bottle with LEDs, micro-sensors, and wireless networking…It flashes lights in time with music or in response to the motions of the person holding it…just recently announced the winner of the 2013 version…involves a technical innovation in the inks that are used. They have a temperature-sensing capability that will alert the consumer when the beer needs to be chilled. It’s a good example of how crowdsourcing helps us learn about new materials that can be used in packaging. We plan to launch it in 2014.’”

Label and Packaging Design Takeaways

There are valuable takeaways for label and packaging design challenges from the Heineken innovations. Among them are:

1. If you’re willing to devote the energy and resources, consider conducting your own crowdsourcing contest to design a new look for any or all buyer groups.  If so inclined, you can include contest categories that address sustainability issues;

2. This provides a natural, efficient way to “test out” label and packaging designs before making a final commitment. Showcase finalists on your website and enlist your marketplace(s) to vote for their favorites. In addition to providing valuable general market research, this effort likely will reveal preferences among various age groups and other demographics;

3. Label functions are expanding thanks to technology. With the advent of such label innovations as Heineken’s temperature-sensing label that tells the consumer when the beer needs to be chilled, a whole new frontier is open for exploration. These types of enhancements can add many levels of label appeal, along with competitive edge and, yes, major expense. While your product labeling may not yet warrant this type of technological leap, it’s definitely something to pursue as opportunities permit—before your competition does.

Labels Are Getting Sexier And More Sophisticated

Interested in giving your labels more pizzazz? When you’re ready to move forward, we’re ready to help. Visit Lightning Labels’ Learning Center for information on labeling a product and find out more about product labeling or access printing and packaging resources.

Trendy vs. Timeless: Brand Longevity Drives Packaging Design

Familiarity Breeds Contentment in Packaging Design

custom labels from Lightning Labels

When designing custom labels, give careful thought to timeless versus trendy in packaging design.

Trendy vs. Timeless. Hostess Twinkies, Pepto-Bismol, and Arm & Hammer baking soda are three examples of products whose traditional label look and packaging design continues to draw the marketplace today. They’re well established and readily recognized. It wouldn’t make sense (at this point at least) to “fix what isn’t broken.”

However, if your product or company is a more recent entrant into the marketplace, give careful thought to timeless versus trendy—consider the demographics and psychographics of your marketplace in your effort to design an enduring brand look.

Obviously, this requires some savvy and, typically, investigation of your marketplace(s) to see what might resonate. Here’s the rub: Many products have many audiences, often very different. For example, strong buyers of a particular nutraceutical labels can span myriad age groups, economic strata and the like. While the common bond is the purchase of your product, those who haven’t yet become buyers need to be approached in ways that appeal to their buying preferences.

Younger buyers may want a colorful, trendy brand look that makes a bold statement, while older consumers may seek a more clinical look and feel that imparts professionalism and a no-nonsense approach.

How do you design a label that can adequately address multiple audiences? Or, do you need to create different designs to target each substantive audience?

As a practical matter, the latter can be extremely costly—in terms of resources, time and money. Plus, it can dilute brand recognition. Conversely, the one-size-fits-all approach may not resonate with some would-be buyers.

Given these pragmatic constraints, here are label design tips that can bridge the gap:

1. Survey existing customers (or likely prospects if you’re a start-up) to determine likes and dislikes around graphics and branding. As part of this process, establish why they bought and continue to buy your product line. Try to get answers to such questions as: Do different audiences buy because of reputation first, with label appearance playing a role chiefly as an identifier and supplier of needed information? Do some people buy because of your label look and feel, while others buy for other reasons? What are potential upsides and downsides of changing your branding, including label look? Do they seek information that you’re not currently providing on your label? Do they want that information on the label itself, or is placing a QR code/website address on the label linked to more in-depth information the preference?

2. Conduct Internet research to address consumer buying habits and preferences (both in general and for nutraceuticals specifically) based on a variety of demographic and psychographic data. Then, overlay this general information with your existing buyers to see where the dots connect and where they don’t. It’s probable that, unless you’re willing to create different label looks to market to numerous audiences, you’ll have to prioritize your hierarchy of importance.

3. Test out perceived preferences via focus groups representing different audiences to see how the resulting one-size-fits-all branding and messaging grades out across a range of buying habits, preferences and needs. While formal focus groups can yield a variety of meaningful insights, informal testing through your existing networks of friends, family and colleagues also can be revealing and valuable. Based on the results of your testing—both formal and informal—you can fine-tune your approach for the larger marketplace.

Armed with all this information, you can then design labels that reflect your findings.

Custom Labels Can Make Or Break Product Appeal

What’s in a custom label? A lot of potential profits. Labels are one of the most valuable tools a company has to make its case to the marketplace. So, it’s wise to think long and hard before slapping just any label on your product. We will be happy to help you develop custom label solutions that best meet your needs.

Planning Custom Packaging Ideas for the Holiday Rush: Seasonal Savvy

It’s Not Too Early to Think About Custom Packaging Ideas for the Holidays

custom packaging ideas for the holidays from Lightning Labels

It’s not too early to start thinking about custom packaging ideas for the holiday season.

Lightning Labels, custom label and sticker printing leader, is encouraging brands to start thinking about custom packaging ideas for the coming holiday season. With temperatures still at summertime highs, it’s hard to imagine the winter holidays coming any time soon. However, much like the back-to-school shopping season was seemingly upon brands just days after classes let out for summer, end-of-year holiday marketing is just around the corner. Manufacturers can prepare by coming up with unique packaging designs early.

“Holiday marketing starts earlier every year,” said Julie Mcculley, Lightning Labels Production Manager. “As with any promotional effort, planning early is key. That’s why considering ideas for product packaging for Christmas, New Years and other holidays now is extremely important.”

Ideas for Packaging to Celebrate the Holiday Season

As marketers begin brainstorming how they’ll promote their products this fall and winter, here are two ideas for packaging to consider:

Design gift-ready packaging: No matter how early consumers start shopping for the holidays, the season remains a busy one. Between traveling, welcoming guests and planning family gatherings, wrapping presents can be a time-consuming nuisance. Gift-ready products allow them to avoid this bothersome task and can give brands a competitive advantage during the holiday shopping season.

Test out special-edition packaging: Consumer buying can be triggered by urgency, and special edition packaging may help boost sales, especially during the holidays. Consider venturing away from the typical red-and-green holiday mold and try something different. For example, Thanksgiving and the second night of Hanukkah fall on the same day this year, which opens the door to a slew of packaging ideas.

Lightning Labels Brings Product Packaging Ideas to Life

While it may seem like brands have quite a bit of time to hash out their product packaging ideas for the holidays, the competition makes it important to start early. Lightning Labels offers a variety of materials for custom labels and stickers that lend themselves to holiday-oriented and special edition runs. Incorporating attractive and informative stickers and labels on products can create gifts with all the packaging they need.

For those ready to bring their product packaging ideas to life, Lightning Labels is offering 15 percent off new label orders through Sept. 3, 2013, using promo code END15 at checkout. The maximum discount is $1,000. Free ground shipping applies to regularly priced orders shipped only within the U.S. and Canada. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotion. Visit Lightning Labels for more information or for updated promotions.

About Lightning Labels:

Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art digital printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes, and now offers a full line of custom packaging products. From small orders for individuals, to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill sticker, label and product packaging projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround to every customers’ labeling and product packaging needs. Uses for Lightning Labels’ custom product labels and custom stickers include food packaging and organic food labels, wine and beverage labels, bath and body labels, and nutraceutical products, such as vitamins, essentials oils, and herbal remedies, as well as event stickers, adhesive window stickers and more. Lightning Labels strongly supports the development of environmentally friendly printing materials and carries EarthFirst PLA, a new kind of green label material made from corn instead of petroleum. While operating as a high-tech printer, Lighting Labels prides itself on its personalized customer service. Lightning Labels provides one stop shopping for all of your label and product packaging needs. For more information and to place orders online, visit LightningLabels.com. For the latest in packaging news and labeling promotional offers, find Lightning Labels on Twitter (@LightningLabels), Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and LinkedIn.

Budweiser Bowtie Packaging Design Puts a Crimp In the Competition

Sometimes Packaging Is the Creative Design

Budweiser New Design

The new Budweiser bowtie packaging design from anheuser-busch.com.

When marketing your product, a key challenge always is to make your brand memorable—particularly in crowded marketplaces that can obscure all but the most outstanding looks. Budweiser has scored a bullseye with its latest packaging design—which is really more engineering than anything else.

The iconic bowtie logo, used since 1956, has been memorialized into a crimped can that bows in the middle. It won’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the new package ties to the Budweiser brand.

It’s a stroke of genius in an advertising industry that too often creates expensive, elaborate messaging that few associate with the product. How many times have you been asked about a particular commercial, only to respond that you vividly remember everything except for the brand being advertised?

Geico created the gecko to indelibly drive product recognition. Now Budweiser has done the same with its bowtie package. How you can achieve the same feat in your marketplace, understanding that most don’t have a Budweiser-sized budget or long-lived iconic image to reinforce the effort?

1. Study your shape. As Budweiser has so dramatically demonstrated, you don’t have to stick with the same product container shape as everyone else. While its effort required years of research and refinement, and actually uses double the aluminum of traditional beer cans, you don’t have to necessarily spend a fortune to make a splash. Review the latest and greatest in container packaging and work with your graphic design/engineering team to create some shapes. This can be fun and doesn’t obligate you to go into production.

2. Leverage your label. In tandem with container shape selection, look at label possibilities. While the container itself may not be that unusual, combined with an intriguing label it can take on a life of its own. Play with different label materials, colors, shapes and special effects to see what may be possible. It doesn’t always have to be complicated. Think about the simplicity of the Apple logo.

3. Create your “con”-emoticon, icon, some type of memorable mascot, or inviting image that will make it hard to forget your brand. Is there anyone who doesn’t associate the gecko with Geico? They famously took an animal name that sounded very much like their corporate name, and voila! Where are there similar opportunities with your brand, company name, and the like?

To get the creative juices flowing, think out of the box a bit. Chrysler, in its desire to be viewed as reinventing itself in a more glamorous light, could consider the chrysalis, the cocoon from which the caterpillar emerges as a butterfly. While the term is somewhat esoteric, the fact that the two words share their first five letters opens up an immediate opportunity for brand identification. And the visuals of a beautiful image emerging from its cocoon bring to mind many design possibilities.

4. Put it all together. With all this creative output on display, decide what’s feasible in light of logistics, budgets and other pragmatic considerations. You may discover that the greatest, most memorable packaging/design idea just won’t cut it in your real world environment. Or, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your most outlandish design is in fact very doable.

And persevere. If, for example, that incredibly appealing label won’t work with your machine application protocols, keep working with concepts to see what may be more compatible.

Look At Custom Labels In a New Light

As part of this process, request Lightning Labels sample packs of custom labels to brainstorm different looks, feels and functionality.  Lightning Labels is currently offering 10 percent off online orders through June 2, 2013, using promo code MDAY10 at checkout. The maximum discount is $1000 and this offer does not apply to reorders. Free ground shipping applies to regularly priced orders shipped only within the United States and Canada. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotion. Visit LightningLabels.com for details.