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Major packaging errors that brands can make

In the packaging industry, errors can be made during the design and manufacturing stages. Sometimes, these errors are the result of a simple oversight or they can be made during a trial-and-error process. Whatever the cause, here are four of the most common packaging errors that brands can make.

1. Design and proofing errors

Design and spelling mistakes can be common in the industry and are made before production. These include spelling errors and visual problems that go unnoticed before being printed on the packaging. Sometimes, a design mistake is hard to see until it is actually printed on the three-dimensional box. Poor design can also lead to mislabelling a package or forgetting to include a tracking code.

Design errors need to be picked up immediately, otherwise, they are impossible to rectify once products are manufactured, distributed and sold. These problems can often be avoided with thorough proofreading and by implementing a prototyping stage where a draft version of the final packaging is manufactured and checked before going into mass production.

2. Printing and manufacturing errors

Printing mistakes are quite common during the manufacturing stage but these are often picked up by the quality control team and changes can be made swiftly. Common examples of printing errors include misaligned printing (during CMYK printing runs or over embossed or debossed elements), colour shifts when varnishes and coating are applied, as well as contamination during the printing run. 

These issues are frustrating because they can affect a perfect design; a pack’s design can look great on a screen and be signed off for production, but a printing error may occur during the manufacturing stage. This could potentially ruin hundreds or thousands of packs and lead to significant wastage of raw materials.

3. Complex unboxing process

The unboxing process is important. It should be a pleasant but simple experience that brings joy to the consumer as they open the packaging to reveal their product. Packaging that has a complicated unboxing method, or that is too difficult to open, can leave a consumer frustrated. These problems are inconvenient for the user and can also lead to additional wastage if more materials are required for complicated designs.

An annoying unboxing experience could put off a customer from making another purchase from a brand. These issues can often be identified during the prototyping process. Having a prototype version of the final packaging in-hand and attempting to open it can show brands how complicated their unboxing process is. Keep it simple and the customer will often find it more rewarding.

4. Material wastage

Material wastage can be the result of too much or too little packaging. A product should use just the right amount of packaging – it should fill a box or tin but remain 100% protected during transportation and display. Brands sometimes use boxes that are too big, leaving too much space around their products. These gaps need to be filled with bubble wrap, packing peanuts or other foam-based fillers. These solutions result in more waste and may cause environmentally-friendly consumers to complain about a brand.

Wasteful packaging is often the result of poor design and a lack of consideration. It can open a brand up to public scrutiny and a loss of sales, especially in today’s eco-conscious environment. Brands should be thinking about using sustainable materials and optimising their packaging to minimise wasted space and excess materials.

These are some examples of the most common packaging errors that affect products and brands. They are usually easy to fix and should be spotted during proofing and quality control checks. However, sometimes they slip through the cracks and can lead to delays in the entire process. Pay attention to small details and these errors are likely to be rectified without affecting the rest of the packaging process.

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Written by Joshua Oates

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