Execute the Brand Strategy in Your Packaging: The objective of a successful package design is to execute the brand strategy, and not to reflect a designer's particular style. Sometimes designers can become caught up in the work and bring too much of their personal style into a design for your product's packaging. So it's always a good idea to remind everyone on the team that the star of the effort is the product -- not the design. The design of the package should reflect what is best for selling the product, not the designer's particular style or trend.
This may seem obvious, but a quick tour around the aisles of a store will demonstrate how often this and other basic design rules are ignored. For example, a script or cursive font may be the hot new typeface, but it may also be more difficult to read than a simple font as the shopper quickly scans the store shelves. A light or script font might be attractive in the conference room; however, it must succeed in the store where visibility is usually less than ideal.
Design for Legibility: Another simple legibility rule is to use light colored lettering on a dark background and dark colored lettering on a light background. Getting the busy shopper to notice your product in the store is the most important aspect of the packaging design. And one more simple legibility rule will help you -- it is easier to read upper and lower case lettering rather than all upper case, particularly with longer words. Not only do you want the shopper to notice your product on the shelf, you want them to be able to easily read and recognize what the product is and how it makes life better.
Does your Package Pass the '5 and 5' Rule: A good design should be able to stand up to the '5 and 5' rule: the shopper will typically only spend about 5 seconds of their time at a distance of 5 feet from the shelf to determine whether your product will go into their shopping cart. Can your packaging pass this litmus test? Can the consumer recognize your brand and what you're selling within the '5 and 5' rule scenario? Put a trial package on a shelf and see if you can quickly grasp the information in a '5 and 5' environment. More importantly, see if the typical consumer can!
The more professionally designed a package is -- the more likely it will represent your product effectively. And the more likely it is to get noticed by the customer. For example, a good label will probably limit the use of script fonts, it might tighten the brand name into a stylistic logo, and could use contrast (like white lettering on a dark background) to get the text noticed. It is important to remember that the objective of a package design is to execute the brand strategy and not reflect a designer's particular style.