You wouldn’t wear pyjamas to a job interview, and you wouldn’t wear a suit and tie to the beach. First impressions are what people will remember you by; the smile on your face and the energy you give. In the same way, your packaging is the face of your brand.
Expo East Trade Show
Your branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. In today’s visual world, branding and packaging design are essential to growing a successful business.
Colours that captivate and speak to the emotions of your audience, designs that are timeless and intriguing, and wording that is catchy and memorable; factors that will develop your brand’s personality.
With a new and innovative start-up showing up on the market what seems like every day, having attractive packaging sets you apart from your competitors and other companies on the market.
Trade Show Booth Layout
Expo East Trade Show
This past September, six of our team members had the chance to visit Philadelphia for the Natural Products Expo East.
Aside from enjoying our time downtown at restaurants having delicious meals, walking Rittenhouse Square, and seeing the famous Liberty Bell, we were lucky to chat with inspiring entrepreneurs about what makes packaging design so important, as well as tips they have for small businesses and emerging companies.
As Bennan from Local Hive Honey said, “your packaging is everything” the exhibitors we interviewed are all in agreement; here’s what they had to say:

What advice would you give to a start-up?

“You cannot say everything you want to at once. Make your message speak to people.” - Elliott from Ritual Zero Proof

“As you’re getting started, invest extra time in better understanding your markets and thinking through the strategy of how to get products into the market. Take that time for yourself, and don’t just believe everything will fall into place.” - Mike from Bees and Trees

“Spend a lot of time doing market research. People will always give their opinions which will pull you this way or that way; take advice but make sure you stay true to who you are and what you want to do. You need to feel good about what you’re doing.” - Nicholas from Latinni Inc

“Start with the consumer; don’t talk to yourself; don’t ask yourself; ask the consumer what they want.” - Bob from Dieffenbach’s Snacks

Simply put, “believe in what you’re doing and have a plan.” - Juan from Artisan Tropic

“Listen to your customers and listen to their feedback to make your product better.” - Jessenia and Kelly from Swoon

“Do something that you really like and that your family and friends really like; just follow your feeling and intuition. It’s good to look at what your competitors are doing… but not so much – do what makes you vibrant.” - Julie from Attitude

Ask a lot of questions! - John from Garden of Life

“Focus on the customer and know who your customers are… know who your targets are. For example, you’re not going to create a whey base protein and focus on vegans. Know your audience.” - Ben from Sunwarrior

“Know your market, whether it’s retail or online, you have to appeal to each crowd differently.” - Jesse from Embody Green

“Start scrappy, do everything yourself if you can. Start small, start regionally, and start building a following, build up your stores and then grow.” - Darleen from Tonino

“You’re never going to be satisfied, so just start. You can always make changes down the road.” - Vicky from Organic Traditions

“Go with your gut, do what's important to you, what feels impactful and trust yourself.” - Amanda from Lesser Evil

“Its about the importance of investing in your brand. You can be brand new, completely unknown, no celebrity founders, no fancy investors, but if you show up looking like a fully articulated version of your values and your beliefs, expressed in a visually striking way, you’ll catch a lot of attention from the get-go.” - Connie and Kyle from Dalci

“Take action. If you want to get out and do something you just need to make imperfect decisions and be able to live with whatever the result is. Constantly improve and get better and keep acting. - John from Chubby Snacks

“The key ingredient is passion, if you’re in sales and you don’t believe in what you’re selling then its not going to go anywhere. Speak to your customers from the heart and have good intentions.” - Claudia from Evolved Chocolate

“The key is passion. If you can't be passionate about the product, the offering, or the problem you're trying to solve, then it's hard to justify all the work, blood and sweat and tears that have to go into it – so there's no faking it. When you're trying to start something from scratch, passion is the fuel that you need to keep going and to resonate with the people you're trying to reach.” - Dash from Three Spirit

“Communicate with as many people as possible, get as many boots on the ground, talk to people, interact with people, don’t sit behind a desk. Try to get out into the streets, get people to try your products, get people to se e your face and try to establish an actual relationship with you.” - Nick from Wholly Veggie

“Know your market. Don’t grow too fast, understand your scale.” - Karim from Fat Badger

Why are packaging design and branding so important?

“No matter how much you talk about your company, 90% of your communication is in your packaging.”- Elliott from Ritual Zero Proof

“Your packaging needs to communicate the care you put into your product.” - Mike from Bees and Trees

“Your packaging is the first impression; the smile on your face. It needs to be clean, simple, and obvious.”- Nicholas from Latinni Inc 

“Your packaging has to resonate visually; it has to communicate with who you are. Be bold. Be authentic.”- Bob from Dieffenbach’s Snacks

“Your packaging has to pop; consumers need to be able to identify your brand.” - Juan from Artisan Tropic

“Your packaging should be vibrant and transparent. It should showcase all of the benefits of your product.”- Jessenia and Kelly from Swoon

It’s the way you stand out in the aisle. It’s the way to appeal to the consumer, and to be different” - Julie from Attitude

"From a non-marketing persons perspective, succinctly tell your story. Make sure your look and feel carries across an entire line. Whatever wording you use, it needs to be short, concise, direct. Use imagery”- John from Garden of Life

Packaging has to be sustainable, should have been years ago, and has to be practical. - Ben from Sunwarrior

“Whether your product is made for e-commerce or retail, you will have to make sure your packaging matches each dynamic. For example, if your product is made for e-commerce, you can keep the look simple and dress up the web background, but if it’s for retail, it has to be something that stands out on the shelf.” - Jesse from Embody Green

“Packaging is important because it’s the first impressions that customers have of your brand, it can say sustainability, it can quality, it has to pop out on the shelves” - Darleen from Tonino

“Packaging should be eye catching, trendy but also timeless, and informative without being overwhelming” - Vicky from Organic Traditions

“Give the people what they want, do whats exciting, do whats eye catching, make something that you’re proud of.” - Amanda from Lesser Evil

“If you’re going to be focussing on selling into retail then you have to be able jump off the shelf. Consumers are making 10,000+ subconscious decisions every single shop[ping experience in the grocery store, you need to be able to catch their attention in the blink of an eye with something that’s beautiful and speaks to your demographic.” - Connie and Kyle from Dalci

“Everyone says you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in retail, that’s all people are doing you need to make sure your packaging is friendly, approachable, and unique to stand out from the crowd.“ - John from Chubby Snacks

“Something unique, something colourful, something that calls your attention. Something that differentiates you from the rest, something that stands out.” - Claudia from Evolved Chocolate

“We’re all magpies by nature, we choose with our eyes, its so important. Packaging and design can take som many different forms and shapes because it depends on what the product is, it needs to fit and stand out. It’s an inexact science which requires 25% of a certain je ne sais quoi; you just have to trust your eye. Everyone can agree, packaging is so important in this world, it’s just as important as the product inside” - Dash from Three Spirit

“Try to find something that stands out, whether that’s something that’s colours or something that helps differentiate, try to be very bold.” - Nick from Wholly Veggie

“Consistency in packaging means consistency in product. Use gentle colours.” - Karim from Fat Badger

Starting a business can be the perfect balance of exhilarating and terrifying. According to the innovative experts above, the simple formula is:
“determination + passion + a plan = success.”
We are honoured to be able to work with small businesses who thrive off the dedication they put into their products and services.

In our creative service department, every client project kicks off with a brand development consultation to make sure we know exactly what your product goals are. From there we take each design step together, ensuring we have met your needs and exceeded your expectations. With our talented Creative Team and our cutting-edge printing technologies, we will ensure your business looks good on the shelf, online, and in print.