We first had the pleasure of meeting Katrina when she was co-working with The Dieline, which is THE source for all things packaging design. Katrina runs her own packaging and design firm, The Yellow Loft. She excels in making packaging more than functional and using it as an extension of the brand. The Yellow Loft works with many high-end and well-known clients. We were excited to have her talk packaging with advice for makers!
Q: Introduce yourself and your business.
A: Hi, I’m Katrina Luong, Owner and Creative Director of The Yellow Loft. The Yellow Loft is a boutique graphic design studio specializing in print and packaging design.
The mission of The Yellow Loft is to provide unique and innovative designs that distinguish our clients from their competitors. Some of our clients include Kendo Sephora, Concrete Minerals, Powerbrands, The Wine Group, Southern Teaz, Tinsel Tokyo.
Q: What makes great packaging?
A: Great Packaging is authentic, simple, unique and sustainable.
Authentic packaging communicates the personality of your business. This is where the brand’s image shines bright. You’re not trying to fool or trick the consumer to believing you are something you're not. Being honest about your brand/product gives credibility and personality to your business thus leveraging a stronger customer loyalty.
Simple does not try to overcomplicate. Simple packaging exudes a confident product. Complex packaging can take attention away from the product and leaves an impression on your consumer that more time and money went into the packaging than the product itself. This devalues your brand image. So keep it simple and offer a great product.
Uniqueness will help you stand out from the crowd of saturated competitors. You can be unique by creating innovative packaging, branding your company with a different personality from the clutter of copycats, or maybe its your process that is different. Whatever your uniqueness may be, its better to be memorable than to be just like of of the others. Uniqueness and innovation will make your consumers feel positive about being associated with your brand.
Sustainable packaging is mindful of materials, processes and its impact in the consumer environment. Its important to understand the fine line between over packaging and delivering a compelling packaging experience. Where are the materials made? How far are the materials traveling to the end customer and what is their impact on the environment? What processes are being utilized to create your packaging? Its is harmful? Does the packaging serve an alternative purpose?
Q: Why is packaging so important?
A: Packaging is an extension of your brand and product. Packaging serves as a visual purchasing catalyst in a retail environment. Packaging serves as tool to communicate your brand to new customers if they are not familiar with your business. Its important to first develop a great product and then reinforce your brand/product image with packaging. Packaging also protects your product. Its also important to be mindful of the regulatory standards here in the US or other countries when designing your packaging. It would be a waste to invest in your packaging without understanding the regulations of where your product will be sold.
Q: How do handmade businesses create great packaging?
A: Handmade startup businesses with a limited cash flow have to be clever about creating unique packaging that is different from the masses and ultimately should resonate with the consumer. Great packaging involves a great deal of thought, time, creativity, design, production, budgetary and logistical considerations. Depending on the budget allocated to packaging, small businesses can consider buying stock items to keep initial costs down but find unique ways of branding/packaging the stock item so it is more memorable to the consumer. As the business grows allocate more time and budget into developing your product and packaging so it evolves with your offerings.
Q: Are there any trends in packaging makers should be paying attention to?
A: Simple/Minimal Packaging
Subscription Based Packaging
Sample Size Packaging
Experience Based Packaging
Q: Anything else?
A: Try not to be something you are not. Be authentic to your brand/product offerings and the packaging’s personality will organically evolve into an honest reflection of your business and product.