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  • Casey Snipes

Packaging Design and the Rule of Three

Like most things in design, packaging works better when you follow the “rule of three”. When someone is opening your product or doing an unboxing video on TikTok, you want to make sure that your packaging is telling a story. There needs to be a beginning, middle, and end. Not only will this elevate your brand, but it also creates an amazing user experience.



Creating a packaging story can balance your brand aesthetic and budget. Here's how it breaks down:


Beginning: This is your outer packaging and often the first thing people see. Think of an Amazon box. You immediately know where that package came from before opening the box. Or, if you're an in-person shopper, picture a simple, white bag with black "Crate & Barrel" written on the bottom. If you see it in a mall, you immediately know what store that person is coming from. The outside packaging matters, so ensure you're putting your best foot forward.


Middle: How often have you opened a package and been wowed by what's protecting your goodies? That protective packaging - what stands between the outer packaging and the item itself - is another way to create brand impact. This can be any number of materials. Think crinkle paper in brand colors, custom tissue paper with your brand submark, or even an inner drawstring bag with your brand logo to protect what's inside.


End: This is your actual product. The end to the packaging story you've been telling. It's everything from a sticker, label, or hangtag. The final piece of branding can add some magic to the final reveal.


Creating memorable packaging doesn't have to break your budget. While you can certainly go custom with each layer, that only works for some brands and sometimes isn't necessary. It is possible to go overboard with branding! Think of each layer as part of the packaging experience instead of a singular piece, and make a call on where your brand design elements work best.


Your full logo is typically well suited for outer packaging since there is more surface area, and it's what everyone (not just the recipient) sees. If you don't have the budget for custom mailers, consider stamping your packaging or custom tape.

While custom tissue paper is a look, you can also create a luxury feel by using neutral kraft or white paper and sealing them with a branded sticker. Or add pops of color with tissues in your brand colors. Make sure that whatever you're using for your inner packaging serves double duty and protects what's inside. It doesn't matter how good it looks if everything inside is broken.


Finally, when it comes to the product itself, there are several ways to dress it up with your brand elements. Ensure you're conveying the critical parts of the product (instructions for use or ingredients, for example) and use your branding to help elevate your product.


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