Top Mistakes to Avoid While Designing Custom Packaging for Your Brand: Tips for Small Businesses and Startups

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the top mistakes to avoid while designing custom packaging for your brand

Top Mistakes to Avoid While Designing Custom Packaging for Your Brand: Tips for Small Businesses and Startups

In today's competitive marketplace, packaging serves as the first point of contact between your brand and the consumer. For small businesses and startups, the design and execution of custom packaging can be a make-or-break factor. The right packaging not only protects your products but also conveys your brand identity and can significantly impact sales and customer loyalty. However, there are common pitfalls that can be detrimental to your brand. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the top mistakes to avoid while designing custom packaging for your brand, along with valuable tips to ensure your packaging is an asset, not a liability.

Mistake #1: Neglecting Brand Consistency

One of the most crucial aspects of packaging is maintaining brand consistency. Your packaging should reflect your brand's values, personality, and visual identity. Failing to align your packaging design with your brand can lead to confusion among customers and dilute your brand's image.

Tip #1: Start by defining your brand's unique characteristics, such as colors, fonts, and messaging. Ensure that your packaging design incorporates these elements consistently.

Reference: According to a report by Lucidpress, brand consistency can increase revenue by up to 33%.

Mistake #2: Overlooking Customer Experience

Packaging is more than just a protective shell; it's part of the customer experience. Neglecting the unboxing experience can lead to missed opportunities to delight and engage your customers.

Tip #2: Consider adding personalized touches to your packaging, such as thank-you notes, branded tissue paper, or stickers. These small details can make a significant difference in customer satisfaction.

Reference: A survey by Dotcom Distribution found that 40% of consumers are more likely to share a product image on social media if the packaging is unique or branded.

Mistake #3: Not Considering Practicality

While aesthetics are crucial, practicality should not be overlooked. Packaging should be functional, easy to open, and protect the product effectively.

Tip #3: Test your packaging to ensure it's easy to open and reseal, especially for products that may require multiple uses. User-friendly packaging can improve the overall customer experience.

Reference: The Aberdeen Group reported that 38% of companies cited "improving the customer experience" as their top strategy for packaging improvements.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Sustainability

In an era of growing environmental consciousness, overlooking sustainability can be a grave mistake. Failing to address sustainability concerns may alienate eco-conscious consumers and lead to a negative brand image.

Tip #4: Explore sustainable packaging options, such as recyclable materials, reduced packaging waste, and eco-friendly inks. Highlight your commitment to sustainability on your packaging to appeal to environmentally conscious customers.

Reference: A survey by Nielsen found that 81% of global consumers feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment.

Mistake #5: Skimping on Quality

Choosing subpar materials or designs to save on costs can undermine your brand's perceived value. Low-quality packaging may give the impression that your product is also of low quality.

Tip #5: Invest in quality packaging that not only protects your product but also enhances its perceived value. High-quality packaging can command higher prices and build trust with customers.

Reference: A study by Dotcom Distribution revealed that 52% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases from online retailers with premium packaging.

Mistake #6: Failing to Research Your Target Audience

Packaging should resonate with your target audience. Neglecting to research and understand your customers can lead to packaging that doesn't connect with your market.

Tip #6: Conduct market research to identify the preferences and expectations of your target audience. Tailor your packaging design and messaging to appeal to your specific customer base.

Reference: According to a survey by Packaging Digest, 68% of consumers believe that packaging design influences their purchasing decisions.

Mistake #7: Overcomplicating Design

While a unique and eye-catching design is important, overcomplicating your packaging can lead to confusion and increased production costs.

Tip #7: Keep your packaging design clean and simple. Focus on conveying your brand's message and product information clearly without overwhelming the customer.

Reference: In a study by Eye Faster, participants spent an average of 13.9 seconds looking at a package. Simple and clear packaging can communicate your message within this brief timeframe.

Mistake #8: Neglecting Legal Requirements

Packaging often requires compliance with various legal and regulatory standards. Ignoring these requirements can result in fines and damage to your brand's reputation.

Tip #8: Consult with legal experts to ensure your packaging complies with local, national, and international regulations. This includes requirements related to product safety, labeling, and environmental standards.

Reference: Non-compliance with packaging regulations can lead to substantial fines and product recalls, as reported in various legal cases.

Mistake #9: Inadequate Testing

Failure to thoroughly test your packaging can lead to unforeseen issues in the production and distribution process. Flaws discovered after production can result in costly delays and wasted resources.

Tip #9: Conduct comprehensive testing, including stress tests, shipping simulations, and usability assessments to identify and address potential problems in your packaging design.

Reference: A case study by Clemson University's Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics outlines the benefits of packaging testing and its role in preventing costly mistakes.

Mistake #10: Missing a Call to Action

Packaging is an excellent opportunity to include a clear call to action (CTA) that guides customers toward the next step, such as visiting your website or signing up for newsletters.

Tip #10: Incorporate a well-designed CTA on your packaging that directs customers on how to engage with your brand further. Ensure the CTA is visible and compelling.

Reference: The Harvard Business Review suggests that effective CTAs can significantly boost customer engagement and conversion rates.

Mistake #11: Copying Competitors

While it's important to stay informed about industry trends, directly copying your competitors' packaging can harm your brand's distinctiveness and originality.

Tip #11: Study your competitors but focus on creating packaging that sets your brand apart. Find unique elements that reflect your brand identity and messaging.

Reference: A report by Nielsen indicates that packaging differentiation can lead to a 30% increase in product sales.

Mistake #12: Failing to Seek Professional Guidance

Designing custom packaging is a complex process that requires expertise. Attempting to design packaging without professional guidance can lead to costly mistakes and subpar results.

Tip #12: Collaborate with packaging experts and graphic designers who understand the nuances of packaging design. Their experience and knowledge can help you avoid critical errors.

Reference: Industry experts emphasize the importance of seeking professional assistance in packaging design to achieve optimal results and avoid costly pitfalls.


For small businesses and startups, custom packaging presents an opportunity to make a memorable first impression and set the stage for brand success. By avoiding common packaging mistakes and following these valuable tips.

Also, did you know? “In The Bag” is a carbon-neutral company. So if you really care about sustainability and wish to promote your brand effectively, get in touch with us today.

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