Small, Medium Or Large – How To Solve For Scale In Your Packaging Design
by The Dieline on 09/28/2023 | 4 Minute Read
From Project M Plus, by Design Director Nicole Lim
Variety is the spice of life.
However, when scaling quickly from a start-up into a multi-million dollar company with numerous product lines, packaging design can become a complicated affair.
For digital native brand Vegamour—the DTC hair wellness company that, in just seven years on the market, effectively destigmatized hair loss, attracted the likes of Nicole Kidman as investor and ambassador, and convinced millions of women to adopt their subscription model to not only regain their luscious locks but their confidence—we were tasked with creating a packaging system that would deliver strong brand recognition, distinction between products, and room for future line extensions.
Figuring out the scale of a cohesive visual identity is vital to the growth of any brand in a very subliminal way. Get it right, and the consumer will never notice. Get it wrong, however, and it will feel off. So, how do you achieve a unified vibe and visual standard when all your bottles, tubes, jars, and cans are of various sizes and shapes (bonus points if you can also think ahead and anticipate your client’s product roadmap with clear guidelines)?
Well, we started with a study of the health and beauty industry and other CPG brands to land on a solution that would elevate the entire line while delivering uniformity. To help strengthen your packaging tool kit, here are some helpful guidelines that can really level up your design exploration and execution.
One way to create a cohesive look across packaging is to establish a limited set of logo sizes.
Trust us, you don't want a different size logo for every container. By selecting 2-3 logo sizes, you’ll create visual consistency that only your unconscious brain can perceive and your conscious brain will appreciate. That also helps establish much-needed parameters for the client if they go in-house with future packaging designs.
Logo Clear Space
Contrary to popular belief, bigger isn’t always better. Often, a brand thinks that standing out on the shelf requires a massive, grand logo, but the trick is to manage the white space around the logo for impact.
As Project M Plus founder Cleo Murnane always says, “It’s the white space that lets the light in.”
And what does that mean? The breathing room around the logo is vital to shining a light on it and bringing it the attention it deserves.
For a company spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on product photography, you must have perfect typography—there’s just no room for error.
Typography brings in nuanced elements like balance, harmony, and beauty, and like logo size, you have to get it right for it to feel natural. Pick a foundry with a robust typography set, as you'll have a lot of different type style options to use. Choose at least two complimentary fonts to help establish a solid hierarchy of information (more on that below) and enhance readability.
Quick Tip: Never use the same typeface on your packaging that you used to create the brand logotype. This clever move will distinguish your logo from the rest of the text instead of getting caught up in a font face-off.
Sizing + FDA Requirements
Type size hierarchy is crucial for quickly communicating the most critical pieces of information—but beware of making the type too small.
Make sure to refer to the FDA guidelines regarding font size for your label dimensions. While we recommend using a 6-point font size or larger, the crucial factor is the actual height of the font. For instance, the minimum font height for an ingredients list should be 1/16." Some exceptions can be considered if your label size is less than 12 square inches.
We like Obviously from OH no Type Co. for its chic, condensed style, which precisely measures 1/16" when set at a 6-point font size, perfect for long ingredient lists.
Apart from considering type size, you must ensure compliance with language translations, net weight, nutrition facts panel (NFP), ingredients, warning statements, and more. While these matters fall under the client's responsibility, even as a designer, it's worthwhile to seek advice from a packaging compliance lawyer and a valuable step in covering your bases.
Follow this link to the FDA guide for cosmetics labeling.
Color is an essential tool that can bring a set of products together or set them apart. We applied gold foil to Vegamour’s logo as a consistent thread across all product lines and specified droppers and pumps to match. Then, we used full floods of color to identify at-a-glance each product line (Soft Pink for GRO, Light Cream for GRO+, etc.). Establishing a thoughtful palette allows all of their product lines to look native to the world of Vegamour while maintaining distinction across categories.