By Maryam Ahmed, Intern @ Zaman

Have you ever looked at any product that you picked while shopping and wondered how the packaging was designed? It may not occur to us that the packages of products we encounter everyday are actually “designed” by a designer. There is a whole field in design known as Package Design, where the appearance of products are represented along side the information about the product. Package design is concerned with how the product communicates to the buyers in terms of content, functions and time range of the product. This is all communicated through visual content concerning the package, including the way the package looks itself and the label, which uses type and imagery. So interestingly, package design is not all about the product itself but it revolves around visuals and communication. It’s like creating a more complex version of a poster.

The appearance of the product is as important as the content as it is supposed to immediately inform us about the product. When going shopping we are faced with many versions of the same product, that is when most of us subconsciously start looking for visual representations at first, then after picking the product we move on to reading about the product. Obviously, the package that attracts our attention first is considered to have successful design. Imagery in package design ranges from using photographs to symbols and illustrations, alongside the logo of the product.

Package design can have many personalities depending on the product. Each package can have a customised appearance that can help us perceive the product. Some packages may illustrate the place/ environment of the product, some the content itself, and some also use metaphoric representations of the product or the feel of it.

Another important aspect of package design is ethics. Packages must be informative of the products. Also, the use of imagery should be suitable to the society and culture.  An additional concern is the environmental impact of the package. Recently recyclable packages have been increasing in production to reduce the harmful impact of packages on the environment.

Which everyday product in your supermarket do you think has been designed well in terms of its packaging?