Six Tips to Better Toy Packaging

Mark Gallagher


Viewing package design as an investment rather than an expense, increases both brand equity and ROI. Consider that nearly all purchases are impulse buy items. This is because an educated buyer's decision can be easily swayed at the point of purchase. This change in decision can be effected by a number of different reasons both rational and emotional. It is the packaging of the goods to be sold that tends to be the strongest deciding factor.

The following tips will aid you in developing user centric package design for the highly competitive children's market.

  1. Use the same development criteria for both product development and product packaging. This not only helps the package to work harmoniously with the product, but provides the connection between your product and your consumer.
  2. Design with the target audience in mind. Develop the package as if it were the product itself. A package design that possesses "play value" or storage capabilities provides both the child and the parent greater value.
  3. The packaging should reflect the price point of the item. It should be an honest reflection of the enclosed product. If the packaging is too cheap or extravagant to support the products positioning, the consumer may be skeptical of the products quality or price.
  4. Often, the use of die cut windows, clear plastic or other elements that allow the buyer to see the actual product can instill a level of trust. Being able to see the product's color and construction is reassuring and will often sway the purchasing decision in your favor.
  5. The package design should adhere to the same safety requirements as the actual toy. Avoid the use of such potential hazards as staples, plastic bags and small pieces that can be swallowed. Both parents and grandparents will appreciate this level or detail.
  6. Although bright saturated colors tend to be eye catching, making your packaging too colorful can confuse your message. By using color with purpose, such as a blue/green pallet for a water related toy, your package design becomes thematic, making for a stronger message.

Mark Gallagher is Creative Director of BLACKCOFFEE, a brand positioning and design consultancy specializing in the development of innovative design solutions for consumer products and services.

Mark Gallagher

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