How to Make Sustainable Stand-Out Packaging

25 Mar 2022 • 3 minute read

Packaging plays such a vital role in our decision on whether to purchase a product that more and more importance is being given to it. 

Take a moment to think about packaging that has helped sway your buying decision, what stood out about it? And what about packaging that you haven’t thrown away – perhaps, like us, you still have an Apple iPhone box at home.

Well-designed packaging doesn’t just help convert the initial sale; it can give your brand a reach far beyond that first purchase.

It’s not just about design and functionality though, sustainability plays a big role in the point of purchase decision. According to a 2019 survey by Hotwire, 47% of internet users worldwide had stopped buying products and services from brands that conflict with their ethical and moral values. Protecting the environment topped that list. Equally important today, 28% of consumers have stopped buying products due to ethical or environmental concerns.

Here is how you can make stand-out packaging with the environment in mind

Know your consumer

You can only design packaging or any consumer item properly if you know your target audience. You need to delve into their behaviours and buying habits so that you can design accordingly. For example, a conservative or understated graphic design on a cereal box aimed at children might not catch the audience's attention, which in most scenarios is the parent who wants to purchase their child's favourite breakfast.

The unboxing experience

Instead of tugging or tearing a package open, you have the power to turn that moment into a rewarding experience. Create packaging with a quality feel that is compact and practical as well as user friendly. Your customer should be just as excited about unboxing as they are about the product inside.

Keep the noise down

Shoppers can feel overwhelmed by the vast number of products on display, so try to use some clear design choices. Stay away from too many visual elements, too many colours or excessive and mixed typography, which will create a distraction resulting in consumers turning away from your product.

A more modest but quality visual combined with an innovative packaging design can be a real winner on the shelves.

Dare to be different

A generic design may be a safe bet for some products, but you might want to consider an alternative approach. If your competitors use black and white, for example, you may want to consider using a splash of colour or foil to mix things up a bit.

Differentiate your graphic design to help your brand stand out from the competition. Just make sure the packaging material you use will ensure consistent colour reproduction, and that it is environmentally sustainable.


Go digital

Digital printing presents more opportunities for designers willing to experiment with different techniques and variable data. In addition, digital print and finishing techniques provide a cost-effective solution for short bespoke print runs and make it possible to add the final touches that will create a sensory packaging experience that drives sales.

Each piece of packaging can be a separate edition with only minor alterations. Digital printing also makes it much easier to customise packaging and print on demand. This generates less waste and is more environmentally friendly.


Reusable, recyclable

Your product may be recyclable, but that isn't enough for today's environmentally conscious consumers. By making your packaging both recyclable and reusable, you can demonstrate to customers that your brand is taking sustainability seriously.

Is it clear?

Typography is critical in packaging. The text should be legible and easy to read. Don't make it an effort for consumers to work out the features and benefits or even the name of your product because they can't make out the words. Clear and concise text can be sympathetically included in the design process.

Is it irresistible?

Science has proved that attractive packaging can trigger more intense brain activity that motivates consumers to make an impulse purchase. Well-designed packaging also triggers an association with rewards but equally, unattractive packaging can prompt negative emotions and change a customer's mind. Tune into the psychology of your customers’ reactions.

Splash of colour

packaing 6jpg.pngColour plays a crucial role in packaging design. 93% of shoppers focus on the visual appearance when purchasing, with 84% saying that colour is a primary draw. Different colours prompt different psychological responses. Red, for example, encourages appetite and is generally associated with energy, boldness and a sense of urgency. Blue conveys a sense of security; green stimulates harmony and is popular among eco-friendly brands, and yellow suggests warmth but can also be considered childish, which is why it's appropriate for family-oriented products.

Classic white

Design can also work with fewer colours, depending on the product and how you want it to be seen by consumers. For example, white is often used to convey purity and understated elegance. It is frequently used with other colours to complement its simplicity and make a bold statement. Research suggests that consumers who want to feel confident are attracted to monochrome or black and white logos.

Statement luxury

Many consumers like to keep hold of packaging that we find appealing, classy or that we feel is expensive. Make your packaging so attractive that people want to retain it, show it off in their homes or offices – and hopefully repurpose or reuse it.

Safe and secure

Whilst looks are appealing, form and function are essential. This helps lock in that customer loyalty and repeat purchases. Packaging needs to protect the product as well as promote it on the shelf. From the moment it is manufactured to its journey through the logistics chain and finally in store. A product should be easy to store, so think about how the packaging will stack during the design process.

Transport friendly

Excess packaging contributes to wasted space and weight, impacting both cost and environmental footprint. Minimise the effect of this by designing practical and functional packaging with minimal waste.

Plastic Packaging Alternatives

packaing 5jpg.pngAs a further nod to using sustainable materials and reducing waste, think about what you are using. Could Paper or Paperboard be an alternative?

According to a Paper and Packaging Board Industry survey, 63% of consumers associate paperboard or paper with premium packaging. All the packaging produced by Green Gift Cards is made using Incada from Iggesund – a premium material with the most compelling green credentials. The paperboard is produced from FSC managed forests, and it is biomass, not fossil fuels, that powers the mill. Incada is made from sustainable sources and plays an essential role in the value chain in paper recycling. Plus, it is biodegradable if it finds its way into the environment or landfill.

Here at Green Gift Cards, we can provide advice on your packaging and offer you a diverse range of ready-made packaging solutions that can all be designed and embellished to grab your target customer's attention. This range from our friends at Burgopak creates an unboxing moment to remember. We can also work with you to create a completely unique solution. Contact us to discuss your card packaging aspirations today. ​​​​




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