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When Packaging Fails

When Packaging Fails

I look at packaging a lot differently than most people do. Because we have designed a lot of packaging for our clients, we know how much thought and time can go into engineering and designing the packaging in just the right way. While most people see packaging simply as a way to contain or transport a product, we know it is much more than that. Packaging can provide information to potential consumers, and assists in marketing and promoting a product.

The way a product is presented on a shelf can determine whether or not you pick it up and purchase it. But, even if the packaging successfully convinces you to purchase a product, its job is not yet complete.

In some cases, packaging may be discarded once you get the product home. In others, the packaging may be used throughout the life of the product. When designing packaging for any product, these are just some of the things that should be taken into consideration.

Today, I received some USB Flash Drives from SanDisk. I admit that the packaging really had no impact on my purchasing decision as I ordered them from amazon.com, and I was really focused on capacity and price.

The packaging itself was fine. Large enough to contain the pertinent information, but small enough that it didn’t appear wasteful, as it was holding a fairly small object. And then I tried to open it...


As you can see, there was a nice dotted line across the top of the back of the card, telling me where I should cut it open. So I did.

Cutting along the dotted line accomplished nothing other than making the card shorter. I had assumed that the card would come apart, or at least be able to be peeled apart, when I cut across the line. But, no.



I cut much further down the package in order to actually get the USB drive out of the package.


Granted, this was not a frustration along the lines of some of the plastic clamshell packaging we’ve all encountered. You know the kind - you hack away at it with scissors, usually cutting yourself (either with the scissors or the plastic), until you finally access the contents. And then you throw away what seems like an excessive amount of plastic.

No, this was nothing along those lines. And I’m not suggesting that this was an egregious packaging error on the part of SanDisk or those who designed their packaging. It did, however, make me think about how even such a small detail can be an irritation. And, the last thing you want to do is irritate your customers.

Jun 25, 2013
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