Heated Design Discussion | Sunscreen Product Packaging – Summer Series #1
Are you prepared for the hot summer heat? While venturing through the beauty department at your local store or pharmacy, you will notice the layout may have changed. It’s that time of year when product placement is perfectly set to represent their customers’ needs during the change in weather. You may ask yourself “what change?” or say “the heat has been here for months”. Some will start noticing the change a lot sooner than most. For many, the month of June becomes a large transition time between school year and summer.
It’s time to stock up your shelves with sunscreen. But what does that mean to me? As a graphic designer, shopping tends to be an interesting observation and usually ends in buying product based on the visual attraction or simply design done right. If a product is designed right it can encourage a buyer within the first few seconds to purchase the product. The product may not be selected solely on its packaging but what is attached to the label. The name, brand or quality of contents is heavily weighted in the final decision. What I want to discuss is the main factors that caught your eye before you decided to read the label.
Let’s examine sunscreen for its packaging design. This may help you understand a little more about why being a graphic designer can be interesting to say the least. Visualize the center aisle at your favorite department store. Product is moved to the center where a majority of people have to walk through. Product placement and marketing at its finest. You have come across a display marketing a summer special on all sunscreen. You will see multiple brands, sizes, and prices.
The very first visual element to grab your attention will be the color of the product packaging. Fully unaware, color alone can pull the direction of your sight into the product of your choice.
When asked these questions, where does your
sight go to on the image at the right?
- Are you planning to go swimming?
- How dark would you like to tan?
- Are you bringing your infant to the beach?
- What does your sunscreen have in it?
- Are you on a budget?
Colors and their Meanings:
Blue – Blue is the color of the ocean and often associated with trust and loyalty. Blue is often used to promote products related to cleanliness, air, sky, and water.
Are you planning to go swimming? (Water)
Orange – Orange is the combination of red (energy) and yellow (happiness). The color is often associated with sunshine and the tropics, giving the sensation of heat.
How dark would you like to tan? (Sunshine and Heat)
Green – Green represents nature and growth. The color is often used in products that are environmentally friendly and marketed healthier for the consumer.
What does your sunscreen have in it? (Health)
Pink – The color pink represents love and friendship with a more feminine quality. It brings a softer appeal to many products.
Are you bringing your infant to the beach? (Motherhood)
Where does your line of sight rest on next?
You now must decide on the sunscreen that best fits your needs. Let’s say you have chosen to look for the product that best fits your swimming schedule. The color has already attracted your attention to one area of the display. So what stands out now?
Visual Hierarchy– the term refers to the arrangement or presentation of elements in a way that implies importance. In other words, visual hierarchy influences the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees.
Focal Points– Areas of interest, emphasis or difference within a composition that capture and hold the viewer’s attention.
Subject and Brand
The brand itself must provide simple but detailed information when creating a successful marketing strategy. Brand by definition is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. You can find consistency in the brand by its company logo and quality. Styles between products from the same company can have similar attributes. Look at the image above for example, the design of each product show similarity although it’s advertising different information. The hierarchy of the subject matter is very much alike. Viewing the product from top to bottom we can see, the logo, product subject, decorative elements, and then important details. That break up of elements in each design is same across all the products above.
The first element your eye focuses on, however can be subjective depending on your needs. The following are examples:
Activity – Coppertone Sport High Performance
Family – Coppertone Water Babies | Kids
Sensitivity – Coppertone Clearly Sheer
Beautiful Skin – Coppertone Tanning | Tattoo Guard
Quality – All Options | Company Focus | SPF and Details are highly considered
Convenience – Type of bottle | Lotion or Spray | Price Tag | Product Placement
What helps your buying decision?
There are many more things to consider when marketing to a target audience. With design alone, you can now start to understand the complexity of the research. As a graphic designer I often have to put myself in their shoes. We research our clients and their audience while putting in consideration, everyone’s goals. The next time you are shopping for sunscreen, perhaps you will catch yourself analyzing the product more closely than ever before. Happy Shopping!
What factors contribute to your final purchase? Comment Below: