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The Psychology of Packaging

Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour. It encompasses both conscious and subconscious thought and, when applied to packaging, can truly influence customer purchasing choices.

The concept encompasses brand awareness, consumer loyalty and those very important impulse buys, meaning that presentation is a vital element in the success of a product. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the four elements to consider when designing packaging.

The Four Key Stimuli

Marketing psychology is all about the aesthetical choices that cause a positive response in potential customers viewing your product. As, generally, the packaging is the first thing seen, this makes it a key element in any marketing campaign.

Visual stimuli influence human behaviour at a subconscious level. We’re all primed to notice a variety of elements, even if we don’t realise we’re doing so. Regarding packaging design, this can be broken down into four sections:

  • Colour
  • Shape
  • Typography
  • Touch

While the latter isn’t technically a visual stimulus, the other three directly impact a customer’s desire to reach out and hold a product. This is a decisive step in the chain of interaction that ultimately leads to a sale. Therefore, the tactile feel of a product’s packaging is undoubtedly an aspect that demands careful deliberation.

The vital role of colour choices

As humans, we’re hard-wired to take note of certain colours. Red, for instance, signals anger, passion and love. Blue signals calm and stability. Colour is directly linked to the emotional region of the brain. First impressions are made up within 90 seconds and just under 85% of customers consider colour to be a major factor in a purchasing decision.

The colour-emotion link means it’s crucial to incorporate those that create the association you wish to evoke in potential consumers. For example, the soothing tones of blue and its related shades would go well with essential oils or products that are designed to relax. Racy underwear might benefit from seductive red tones as the colour is associated with love and attraction.

Other colour considerations include:

  • Branding: Logos and brand identity should be prominent. Other colours on the packaging could be an extension of those used in the branding to assist with easy recognition
  • Stand out from the crowd: Do your competitors all use similar colours? If so, stepping away from the norm means your product will stand out, therefore grabbing customer attention
  • Use eye-catching colours: Red, green, yellow and pink are often reported as the most noticeable for marketing purposes. While you should take this into account, it’s essential that patterns, logos and colour choice are individual and don’t simply merge into those of your competitors

Package Shape

While colour choices are important, the shape of the packaging is a powerful influencer that should not be under-estimated. Depending on your product, consider the sexy seduction of curves over the appeal of straight lines. Or what about a shape that tells a story behind the product? A great example of this is the female and male torso fragrance bottles of Jean Paul Gaultier perfumes: instantly recognisable and have stood the test of time.

The key takeaway when it comes to shape is that it should stand out from your competitors, yet still be relevant to the product it holds.

What’s your type?

Typography, or font, is super-important and should encompass the key message behind your brand and products. Fun items might benefit from more decorative fonts, whereas hand scripts might be best suited to eco-friendly or sustainable items.

Whatever font you choose, be sure that it’s easy to read and that the words can’t be misinterpreted. Many a marketing mistake has been made with a fancy font being read as something different from what was intended.

Reach out and touch…

The goal of packaging is to get a potential consumer to pick it up. That tactile interaction is half the battle to a sale. Once in their hands, consider what the packaging will feel like when touched. A silky, luxurious touch conveys a message of quality. What about an earthy texture to a product that’s touting its sustainability?

Conversely, if packaging feels cheap or tacky then it instantly communicates that the product it cradles is also of the same quality.

As you can see, packaging is far more than just a medium to protect and display a product. Perth-based cardboard and folding carton packaging experts, Crystal Print & Packaging Solutions, pride themselves in providing their customers with the ultimate packaging production experience. From the design concept right through to the delivery of the packaging, Crystal Print & Packaging Solutions’ decades of trade experience ensure the right choice of packaging and the look that will make your brand and products stand out from your competitors.

Discover more at and get in contact today to discuss your company’s packaging needs.