Packaging Design Tips from a 10 Year Old

packaging-design-package-it-betterPackaging is a core part of our business at Xpadite.

So when we found out our primary school children were learning about packaging, we were delighted.

Looking at their work was even better. They had a really strong understanding of what good packaging design is all about.

Here’s what they learned.

The schoolkids’ packaging design challenge

Our children were given cookies. Great! Every kid loves cookies. But there was a catch. They didn’t get to eat the cookies right away.

They had to pack them and send them through the mail first.

And they got to design and make their own packaging.

Here’s what they learned from the exercise.

1. List all the criteria for your packaging before you start.

packaging-design-criteriaIn this instance, the design criteria were fairly simple.

  • Waterproof
  • Able to be posted
  • Able to protect the gift
  • Environmentally friendly

In the grown up business world, there are other criteria we might need to consider.

For example:

  • Cost. From a functional point of view, packaging costs should be kept to a minimum. From a marketing point of view, spending more on packaging can enhance value, attract attention and increase sales. It’s an investment rather than a cost in the strictest sense of the word. But you still need to control the cost.
  • Information requirements. These could be legal requirements like weight, dimensions, ingredients, expiry date or country of origin. They could be consumer information like required battery size. Or company contact details.
  • Aesthetics and messaging. This is where marketers focus. Brand colours, logos and positioning. Images. Promotions. Ratings, awards and endorsements. Ways to make the product stand out on the shelf, including unusual shapes or finishes.
  • Ease-of-use in the logistics chain. Shape, size and weight are key here. Will your package product stack easily on retailer shelves? What about on pallets and in warehouses? Is it too heavy to lift easily? Do you need a bulk volume specified by a particular retailer?

2. Investigate different options for your packaging materials.

packaging-design-testingOur children needed something which would protect their cookies. They tested three different packaging materials.

They packed the cookies into each material, then dropped them. If the cookie broke, they recorded the height of the drop. If not, they increased the height and dropped them again.

So they knew which material scored best against the ‘protect the gift’ requirement.

3. Develop packaging specifications.

The children were working in small groups. Each group needed to be able to make consistent packaging. And diagrams, with labels, were easier to understand than words alone.

packaging-design-specification-2  packaging-design-specification-1

Exactly the same principle applies in real-world packaging design. In all design, in fact.

And the more precise your packaging design specifications, the more likely you are to get what you want. Look at the things our children included.

  • Dimensions
  • Colour
  • Materials
  • Order of steps to package the item.

4. Test your packaging design and learn from failures.

The ultimate test for our kids was receiving their packed cookie. Did it arrive in one piece? How did it taste?

But that wasn’t the end of the process. They also reflected and learned. packaging-design-learn-from-failures

So next time they’ll do it better. If the school ever offers to send them all cookies again, that is!

Let’s look at one last packaging assessment.


The lowest score for this particular packaging is 5 – for its aesthetic qualities. That’s practical packaging design, not promotional packaging design!

Of course what we really want is packaging which works for both. And if you’ve got the creative ideas, we’ve got the practical experience and expertise to work with you and deliver it. Drop us a line and let’s discuss your packaging needs.