The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

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Designing a Product Package Platform

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2010
Type of Publication: Technical Report
Authors: Margaret, ; Devendorf, ; Lewis, Kemper
An essential part of designing a successful product family is establishing a recognizable, familiar, product family identity. It is very often the case that consumers first identify products based on their physical embodiment. The Apple iPod, DeWalt power tools, and KitchenAid appliances are all examples of product families that have successfully branded themselves based on physical principles. While physical branding is often the first trait apparent to designers, there are some products that cannot be differentiated based on physical appearance. This is especially common for consumable products. For example, it is impossible to differentiate between diet Coke, Classic Coke, and Pepsi when each is poured into separate glasses. When differentiation is difficult to achieve from a product’s physical characteristics, the product’s package becomes a vital part of establishing branding and communicating membership to a product family while maintaining individual product identity. In this paper, product packaging is investigated with a focus on the graphic packaging components that identify product families. These components include: color, shape, typography, and imagery. Through the application of tools used in facilities layout planning, graph theory, social network theory, and display design theory an approach to determine an optimal arrangement of graphic components is achieved. This approach is validated using a web based survey that tracks user-package interactions across a range of commonly used cereal boxes.
Design Theory and Methodology Conference