Packaging Unwrapped - 3 Design Secrets

Packaging Unwrapped - 3 Design Secrets

Want to know how to get more from your packaging? How to make it leap off the shelf into the hands, hearts and minds of passing shoppers?

As retailers become stricter regarding what supplier messaging they allow in their stores, the product packaging itself has never been more important than it is today. And if you apply psychology...

Product packaging is an often misunderstood in-store communication channel. Yes, there are lots of pretty bags, boxes, bottles and cans on the shelves of stores, but how much do you really know about how they psychologically influence shoppers?

In this post, I’ll share 3 ways of using psychology to improve the appeal of and shopper engagement with product packaging.

The right hand rule

Firstly, did you know that around 90% of the population are right-handed? So what, I hear you ask. When it comes to packaging, images on pack that are viewed as being oriented towards the viewers dominant hand generate more mental simulation that evokes motor responses.

A number of studies have shown that visually depicting a product oriented towards the dominant hand of the shopper results in heightened purchase intentions. Conversely, products oriented towards the non-dominant hand can lead to decreased purchase intentions.

So when you have images on packs; make sure they are oriented towards what right-handers would view as natural. Sorry, left-handers (including me).

Your logo

What about the size of the brand name on pack? There is a train of thought that states making it too big makes the pack look tacky: Wrong! Researchers have found that when the size of the brand logo was increased, not only did it receive more fixations in eye tracking, but participants also perceived the item more positively too.

Remember that a carefully designed pack, assessed in isolation by the board of directors, looking at it on a boardroom table is completely different to immersing it in amongst 50,000 other items in a 21st century supermarket. Or worse still, as a 25mm thumbnail within the online .com site of a supermarket.


Your pack needs to be as easy to mentally process as possible so that it can engage passers-by as quickly as it can. Did you know that your decision on where to put the main image on the pack front and where to put the words will significantly impact of how shoppers process your brand.

When you place the images on the left of the pack and the text on the right, you increase processing fluency. This means shoppers will absorb your pack content more quickly and generate a more favourable impression, in an instant. This is all because of the way the brain receives and processes information from the eyes.

These 3 relatively basic examples illustrate the importance of applying human psychology to pack design. I have amassed hundreds more powerful packaging insights just like these.

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About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

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Phillip Adcock
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

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