Package Information Architecture

Package Information Architecture

When designing any type of packaging for a product, you are faced with the same questions every time you approach a new project:

  • What information should be included?
  • What needs to be included?
  • How do I lay out the content?
  • How will the consumers use it to make their buying decision?

Information architecture is the system of organizing and structuring data and content. The role of thoughtful architecture in package design is important to ensure the essential pieces of information to sell products are in place. Think barcodes, UPCs, or even ingredient lists and nutritional facts if your products are food and beverage related. Creating a fundamental system for your brand’s information architecture helps you answer these questions quickly and effectively so that you can move on to the fun part – design.

It’s everywhere!

Information architecture is found in every industry, and for good reason. Without the consistency of organizing information, chaos would reign. One prime example of information architecture is the Dewey Decimal system in our libraries. Thanks to its universal adoption, you can walk into nearly any library and easily find the information you seek on just about any topic. The same concept applies to things like building plans, pharmaceutical dosages and HTML code for websites.

What’s the big deal?

The ease in which you move through your daily life is thanks in part to information architecture. Shopping experiences are easier when branding and relevant information is easy to navigate. Discerning buyers will quickly engage and know what’s needed to make split-second purchasing decisions. It’s Taco Tuesday but the cupboards are bare in your house. Before you know it, you’re standing in your local grocery store. Hard shell vs soft shell? Corn vs wheat tortillas? Hot vs mild salsa? These are all decisions you make quickly and easily because forthought on your anticipated needs drove what was necessary front and center on the product packaging.

First Things First

The first step in creating your information architecture system is identifying key pieces of data needed to complete the project.

How to Get Started

Knowing what your industry’s requirements are, is essential for insuring you get your elements right the first time. Food is different than cosmetics which differs from craft beer, but they all share some characteristics. Understanding what is required will save you time and money. A few key elements to consider would be:

  • Branding
  • Product type and variation ­
  • UPC and barcode
  • Product specifics like size, weight, contents, etc.

What information will help in making the sale?

The role of packaging is to sell your product so don’t miss the opportunity to entice consumers with the why to buy your creation.

  • Functionality
  • Benefits
  • Call to action
  • Promotional offers

What information should be left out?

Packaging design has many limitations. Establishing what does not need to be included is just as important as what does. Less is definitely more when you have little real estate to work with for instance for some product types the following is superfluous:

  • Expiration date
  • Date of manufacture
  • Source of ingredients

Building a Hierarchy

Lastly, in determining your packaging information architecture, decide what is most important and set up a tiered system to help determine priority and placement. When working with your design team, knowing what is most important to you will help you avoid any miscommunications from the beginning. For instance, if the fact that your products are “100% all natural and hand-crafted” is your biggest selling point then it should be at the top of the hierarchy right after your brand name.

Need a little assistance when it comes to your package information architecture decision-making? The team at B&B Print Source can help, taking the guess work out of your next packaging project.