The 3P's of Packaging

Products stored inside brown cardboard packaging box

Let’s try our hand at a little exercise. The first step here is to think about your favourite product. Something that sparks joy in your heart, something inspires you. It can be anything of your choice: the latest iPhone, an Aesop perfume, a luxury handbag, a box of cookies, or maybe even something as simple as your favourite brand of pencils.

Do you have this product in your head? Nice.

Now imagine what it looks like and where you usually get this product. Is it displayed on a shelf at the supermarket? Or does it have to be ordered in by a store assistant? How does it feel to hold in your hand right from the moment you’re holding it in the store and bringing it back home?

Whatever the case, chances are that this product you’re thinking of comes in some form of packaging. But do you actually know why packaging has such an important part to play in business, and whether you’re making the right choices when it comes to the overall design of your packaging? Are you really making the right choices?

Not to worry, becayse at the end of the day, it all really boils down to the 3 P’s of Packaging: Protection, Preservation, and Presentation.


Of course, the primary purpose of any packaging would be the physical protection of a product. In most instances, packaging serves as an external shield to protect a product from bumps, scratches, and scrapes. Making sure that the contents are safe and in a presentable condition when its ready to be used by the consumer.

This means some packaging needs to be sturdier than others, and it’s absolutely not a one-size-fits-all solution. Take for example smartphone boxes - they are usually of thicker stock, and have inserts that hold the phone in place to prevent jostling and provide cushioning. This ensures the safety of the product and reduces the chances of any damage. Not only will the customer be satisfied having received a well-protected product with no defects, you as a business-owner have also protected yourself from bad publicity and minimized losses from having to replace damaged goods.

Can you imagine having reviews on the internet complaining about a product you have spent years developing, and knowing that it’s a good product, only to fall short because your packaging didn’t do what it was supposed to do? Truly a nightmare for anyone.


A secondary function for packaging is in the preservation of its contents. While quite similar to protection, preservation is meant to keep the contents fresh and unaffected by external factors. For products like medication, skincare, or food, things like direct sunlight and heat can change the nature and actively affect the conditions of the products, and make them no longer safe for consumption.

Contamination is a serious matter and a challenge faced by the above industries on a day-to-day basis. Without the proper packaging, the contents risk being tainted by things like chemical pollutants, bacteria, fungal spores, or even just atmospheric moisture. If this goes unchecked and the problem persists, customers could fall seriously ill due to consuming contaminated goods, and may even lead to death. Aside from the obvious ethical issues this poses, you open yourself up to prosecution when you don’t take the proper steps necessary to ensure the safety of your product.

In this case, packaging can once again save the day by keeping these external factors out and ensure the product stays safe for human consumption.


Finally, we’ve reached the topic of presentation, which is objectively the aspect of packaging that offers a great canvas for creativity, and speaks to the identity of your brand. This means it might very well be the first impression you have on your customers.

Most humans are highly visual creatures, and that means the things we see have a very real impact on the decisions we make. Subtle changes here and there can greatly affect the perception of your customer base whether you like it or not.

Take for example cereal brands aimed at children like Trix, Koko Krunch, or Honey Stars. Research suggests that the mascots plastered over these boxes serve the distinct purpose of marketing directly to kids. These brands (and many more) share the common traits of having a cute mascot with big eyes that look at a downward angle, increasing the chance of making eye contact with children. These mascots appeal to children in numerous ways to build a connection even before they know how to read. Therefore, a packaging design that’s lacklustre, or doesn’t take the target demographic into consideration is a wasted opportunity indeed.

It’s not just with children too! How your packaging looks and feels can impact your brand image directly, and colour public perception when it comes to your product, or even your brand as a whole. The different finishes that you can achieve all serve a different purpose and can provide massively different feels depending on what you want your audience to think.

Matte soft-touch surfaces with beautiful foil-printing (or hot stamping) can really lend your product a premium luxury aesthetic. And it’s not just the outside either. You can always choose to go the extra mile, and opt for a colourful or even patterned lining on the inside of the box, bringing your product to whole new levels. This elevates the unboxing experience, and ensures the product meets or even exceeds expectations from the moment a customer holds your product in their hands.

At the end of the day, we’re sure you can see why some careful planning and consideration might be necessary when it comes to designing your very own packaging. For the same reason that iPhones and Samsungs don’t come in the same boxes as cereals, your own product and brand has its own special needs.

If you ever need professional advice on what is best for your brand, you can sign up with Excard completely free and our consultants will be happy to assist you with any questions you might have. In our extensive range of packaging options, we’re sure there’s something that’s just right for you.