How to design Product Packaging [The Ultimate Guide to Product Packaging – Part Two]

Welcome to the second instalment of our guide to product packaging design. These next steps are to help you define the elements that need to be displayed on your packaging. This can include branding, product information or mandatory elements such as barcodes, nutrition advice and storage or usage guidelines.

These steps are critical in establishing the way your packaging will represent your business, as well as ensuring all the essential information is communicated to your consumer. Having this information ready to go will help make the design process smooth and straightforward.

Define your brand

If you have a product ready to take to market and have not yet engaged with a designer, now’s the time. To be able to design your packaging, you first need to define your brand. This includes deciding on your brand identity, colours, typefaces and any other unique graphic elements. You may have an existing brand identity but if not, you will need to establish this before the packaging is considered.

A designer can help you define your branding elements including:


If you already have the CMYK values or Pantone Matching Values (PMS) colours, include those as they’re specifically for printing. (If not, a HEX or RGB code is fine, too.)


Make sure you have the proper typefaces and any specific usage instructions (like kerning or weight).

Brand Identity

You will need to put your brand identity on your packaging. Make sure you have a vector file available. These file types are .ai or .eps and are usually created in Adobe Illustrator. Along with your brand identity, you should be provided a document called a style guide. A style guide breaks down all the different elements of your brand, including brand identity, typefaces, colours and any other specific/unique graphic elements that make up your brand. These might include icons, photographic imagery or even patterns.

If you want to find out more about style guides, head to our blog post here.

Research product packaging types and curate your style

It’s a good idea to have done some style research before you start the design process. Start collecting packaging that you like. Take photos when you’re at the store or supermarket. Create a Pinterest board.

Decide on your messaging

The written elements on your product must be carefully considered as this is how you speak to your customer.  Once it’s on there, it cannot easily be changed. Depending on your industry, there may be some things you’re required to put on your packaging for legal reasons.

You may need:

Written Information

This can include anything from the name of your product to a full description or the product experience. It could include the benefits of your product, or text that directions of how to use it for best results.


Want to put photos on your packaging? It’s essential that you have these ready to go before you start the design process. You may need to engage a product photographer or source the imagery from a stock photo website, depending on how niche your product is.


Depending on your product/industry, you may be required to include a barcode, nutritional information and association logos. These might include Health Star Ratings, Halal Certification, Product of Australia mark, Vegan Australia Certification, Country of Origin mark, Rainforest Alliance Certification mark or Recycling Australia mark.

Leave room for dates and variables

Products like foods or cosmetics have additional information that needs updating constantly, such as expiration dates or batch numbers. In Australia, these are generally printed in a separate process to the actual packaging production. You’ll need to make sure you save space for this information to be printed by your manufacturer.

Budget for setup design/costs

Packaging design budgets break down into two categories:

  • One-time costs
  • Per-item costs

One-time costs include things like paying for the branding and packaging design work, print plate setup (for large, offset print runs.) You pay for these up-front and usually only once (unless you change your design). Printing of course would be paid for each time you need to have more packaging on hand.

Per-item costs are generally for materials and labor. Each piece of packaging will cost a certain amount, as will things such as plastic sleeves or security seals. In addition, you either will have to pay someone to pack your products for shipping or do it yourself.

You’ll want to have a ballpark idea of how much you’d like to spend before you start the design process. Keep in mind that cheaper isn’t better; investing properly into the setup of your product including materials will increase your product’s appeal, impact your presentation, and set you apart on the shelf.

We are experts in packaging design

In the end, having a dedicated team on your side who are experts in packaging design will be incredibly beneficial to the success of your product.

D&Co Studio is a highly experienced design agency known for providing exceptional packaging design solutions. We understand that each business and brand is different, and that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

To find out more about how we can help bring your packaging to life, chat to us today by calling 03 5292 2073 or send us an email.