Things can always be a little bit better with some business TLC, can’t they? Spring clean your brand with some tried and tested tips from the MOO creative team.
Paul Thorogood, Head of Product Design, is a packaging guru. He designed all our beautiful MOO packaging and understands the power of presentation and thinking (so to speak) outside the box.
More than what’s in a box
It sounds obvious but it does get overlooked – packaging is just as important as product, as it is the first thing your customer will interact with. Packing has evolved past being a vessel for carrying or protecting a product – it can be art. Whatever way you want to go with your brand, never forget that your packaging and presentation is part of it. So here are a few things to consider:
Does your packaging live up to your product?
Don’t make the product feel cheap by using cheap packaging.
Where is your package going?
Always understand where your product and packaging is going to be seen first. On a shelf with other competitors? Then make it stand out from the crowd. Delivered to someone’s door? Then make the delivery box interesting and not just a box inside a box.
Are you keeping it simple?
Too much packaging can be just as bad as too little. Over packaging can make customers feel like you just don’t care about the environment.
Always try to surprise and delight.
Packaging is one great way to give those little added extras that make your customers smile, so it’s worth making the effort.
Create a family
Where possible, create a family of packaged products so they can all interact with one another and look good side by side.
Want to see where Paul gets his inspiration? Check out Lovely Package.
Felix Ackermann, MOO Graphic Designer, is a typography nerd. He knows just how powerful the right visual typography can be for a business. Here, he discusses how to make typography work for your brand.
What do you want to say?
Letters would not exist if we did not have anything to say – so make sure that you do! Typography should always honour the content, not the other way round. Look at the typefaces available to you, and see which ones speak the values of your brand – are you looking for trust and simplicity, or something soft and funny? Think about the tone of voice – do you want to shout or would a whisper be more effective? Play with the space you have on your product, your website, your letterhead – but play with a purpose in mind.
One size fits all – or does it?
It is rare to find typefaces that you can use equally well for headings, subheadings, body copy, and logo type for both printed material and the web. There are those that have a lot of character, which are excellent display typefaces, and those that read very comfortably for long paragraphs. You can combine typefaces, so that you have one for headings and one for body copy. Chose them with care and make sure they harmonise. A little contrast might help them to come alive, but be careful – too much contrast might make your brand look patchwork. (And nobody trusts a brand that reads like the love letter of a serial killer.)
Keep it short, keep it simple
This goes for your content as well as for the overall design and typography of your product and brand. Make sure you say it in 10 instead of 15 words, and only use 2 colours instead of 5. Not only will it help to convey the message of your product or business in a more efficient and direct manner, it will also save you money, when you print packaging or letterheads – less colours, less cost. As much detail as necessary, as little copy as possible.
Pay attention to branded typography you encounter during the day – in the supermarket, the train, traffic signs. When type is used well, all you need for branding is a typeface and a colour. Be consistent in the treatment of your (well) chosen typeface, honour the content and you won’t have to do much more to brand your business!
Fancy getting nerdy with typography like Felix? He recommends “The Elements of Typographic Style” by Robert Bringhurst
Rob Wilson is MOO’s in-house photographer, and he’s extremely well versed in making brand imagery work with the tone and style of the product. He’s also got some excellent tips for freshening up your photography online.
You want your work to look clean and fresh. Lighting is essential whether you are photographing a mug or a fashion shoot, you need to ensure that your final results make your subject pop as you want them to be seen, and portray what you want your brand to say. There is nothing worse than a dark image. This might mean shooting in natural light on pastel colours, or studio lights on grey paper. Experiment and try things out; you don’t have to have a studio set up to make your photography look great – like this! I was inspired recently by this Etsy tutorial as well, in which a photo got to the front page of the listings simply by being crisp and clear.
Make your style shine, and displaying your work consistently will help achieve this. Think about your brand colours and logo, layouts and text colours. I prefer grids on photo websites that draw you in and make you want to keep exploring a portfolio of work.
Keywords and metadata are important these days. If you use a website builder or blog such as WordPress cram as many search terms in as you can, don’t be shy. It all helps get your work found online. You can add metadata in several software packages that ensures you protect your own work. If you want to watermark your work then do something creative and subtle, don’t just stick your name across the middle of an image in comic sans – blergh!
I have always been in love with the packaging by MOO. A couple of years ago, I made a phone call to M00 to find out where I can get similar packaging made for my products, mainly photobooks. My inquiry was not well received by MOO’s staff. Paul’s package design is masterful. Please, I would just love to hear from MOO where I can find a manufacturer who can help me with my own package design? Thank you.
Good on FONTS! As a teacher I try to get my students to really think about the font they are using for their design component. So many of them use the current fad font (comic sans is one of them) and it immediately brands you as an amateur or a kid on a computer at home with nothing to do…
Good article. Thanks
Love the Surprise and Delight advice. Actually called my company after one of those words. Also wrote about how your business cards were working very well for me too: http://www.delightfulcommunications.com/blog/business-cards-dead-create-great-ones/
Thank you, Justis, for your help! The client can spend thousands of dollars on a photobook and I just don’t want to send the photobook to the client in a plain brown postal box. I want the shipping box to be beautiful and the photobook presented nicely once the box is opened. In addition, I would like to have various inserts I can combine with the photobook to hold things like USB Flash Drives, MOO business cards ; ) and prints.
Terrific article! A timely one, as well, because my brand has been on my mind lately.
Photos are one thing I’m working on for my Etsy storefront. White backgrounds (which I have right now) are a popular way to make it to the front page, but they don’t work with light-colored items, and they just don’t feel like they go with my vision of my brand. I’m currently exploring different ways to work with natural-type backgrounds, that still make my items pop.
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