“The brand experience is not what customers get, but how it makes them feel.”

Sanjeev Malhotra 2017

User Experience has liberated our approach to design. Originally a philosophy adopted by software developers to challenge the monotony of web applications. The principle has gone on to change our view on everything from packaging to cars, technology, retail and hospitality. Furthermore, it has encouraged brand owners to fine-tune the smaller details in the consumer experience, from unboxing to consumption, engraving the brand DNA across a number of touch-points and moments.

We’re strong advocates of UX design in luxury packaging. We apply the principles across our major projects and have written papers explaining how brands like Apple user their packaging (and unboxing experiences) to project diligence, attention to the details and precision.

However, UX design isn’t just about perfecting perfection. The explosion in #Unboxing, especially in the luxury beauty sector, urges brands to consider their “Instagram equity” in building social influence. UX design, in more ways, is about eliciting emotional responses in consumers, spanning both the functional and the fun. Here we look at 4 examples of packaging ‘UX’ innovations which set out to delight consumers and build deeper emotional responses.

01 “The Unveil” – Burgopak

We’ll start with one our key partners, leading the forefront in “addictive gestures”. Using proprietary cardboard engineering patents, Burgopak takes the unveil to new levels. Ideal for luxury brands to amaze consumers, set-the-stage for brand storytelling with one simple pull across a wealth of packaging applications and formats.

02 “The Ritual” – Magnum Premium Ice Cream

Magnum’s heritage in thick chocolate-coated iced bars created a unique brand ritual of cracking chocolate, something the brand adopted quickly in its core DNA. Launching a pint-sized tub variant, aside from the quality printing and gold metallic finish, Magnum sustained this ritual through concave hips emblazoned with ‘cracked’ chocolate. This encourages consumers to squeeze the hips to savour the same ‘cracking’ brand experience!

03 “The consumption journey” – Dollar Shave Club

Whilst not strictly following the laws of luxury branding, there’s nothing cheap in Dollar Shave Club’s brand experience. Having disrupted the male grooming category with its direct ecom model, it doesn’t rest on its laurels at the unboxing moment. They’ve tapped into the user journey with bold brand dialogue, building on the “brand like me” mantra and keeping a brand voice alive from start to finish.

04 “Second Life” – Charlotte Tilbury

Whilst technology and materials look to resolve the sustainability model, the extended life of packaging will be a key tactic for brands to challenge single use packaging. Not only are we keeping packaging away from the recycling centre, we’re sustaining the brand relationship and keeping emotional connections energised. This is how we approach our annual Advent Calendars for Charlotte Tilbury. Robust, elegant and beautifully practical to offer plenty of use long after Christmas and beyond.

Packaging UX heralds the “everything is brand” age

Secondary packaging is primary territory to tell the brand story. More than a passive and inanimate box, packaging is a living moment engaging hearts and senses. It’s an event, or even a series of events, that needs to be carefully designed to tell the story we want. Packaging UX helps write the script and align functionality, design and production around it. Whilst it also takes effort, good design partners and more investment to make it happen, the emotional impact (and brand power) is worth every cent.