Ten Most Common Mistakes in Packaging Design

  • Icon Holy Studio
    Holy Studio
  • 12 June 2024
  • 10 min reading
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Creating an effective packaging design is much more than just ensuring the product looks aesthetically pleasing. It is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of both consumer needs and market specifics. Packaging plays a key role in the customer's purchasing decision, acting as the first point of contact with the product. Therefore, any mistake in its design can have serious consequences for the brand's perception and ultimately – sales. Below, we present a detailed analysis of common mistakes in packaging design and provide practical advice to help you avoid pitfalls in this area.

1. Skipping market research

The first and fundamental mistake is skipping market research. Many packaging designs are created based on intuition and personal preferences. By creating packaging without a deep understanding of the target group's expectations, you risk creating a design that does not meet the customer's expectations and needs.

It is worth allocating the budget and time to conduct market analysis and opinion researchthat will help identify the key needs and preferences of customers. Understanding these aspects will allow you to create packaging that not only attracts attention but also effectively communicates brand values.

Here are some key benefits of conducting market research before starting the packaging design:

  1. Better understanding of the audience – research allows a deeper understanding of how customers perceive the product, what they value most, and what might deter them.
  2. Optimization of packaging functionality – market analyses can reveal practical aspects of packaging that are important to consumers, such as ease of opening or reusability.
  3. Market differentiation – understanding competition and current trends will enable the creation of packaging that stands out on the store shelf, attracting the attention of potential customers.
  4. Increasing the effectiveness of brand communication – effective market research helps in developing marketing messages that reach the target audience.

2. Overcomplicated design

While creativity and innovation are valuable, excessive complexity in a design can have the opposite effect to the intended one. Customers value clarity and directness in communication, which means the design should be intuitive and easy to understand at first glance. Simplicity in packaging design does not mean boredom, but the ability to quickly convey key information about the product.

Following the principle of 'less is more' often proves to be more effective – especially for new brands with limited budgets. Simple yet distinctive packaging that easily communicates the main benefits of the product is more likely to attract attention and encourage customers to make a purchase.

3. Inappropriate use of visual elements

The choice of color schemes, typography, and graphic elements that do not harmonize with each other, are hard to read, or lead to visual overload, can significantly affect the effectiveness of the packaging. Graphic elements serve not only an aesthetic but also an emotional function, influencing consumers' purchasing decisions.

When designing graphics, one should be guided not only by current trends but above all by an understanding of color psychology, clarity of messaging, and matching associations to market characteristics. Choosing appropriate, easy-to-read typography and colors that reflect the brand identity can significantly improve the perception of the packaging. Design that follows the principles of visual hierarchy, allows effectively directing the consumer's attention to key information, thereby enhancing communication effectiveness.

The packaging design process is also worthwhile to complement with these elements:

  • A/B testing of graphic packaging variants – conducting A/B tests of different packaging versions can provide invaluable insights about consumer preferences and the effectiveness of individual visual elements.
  • Analysis of emotional impact – it is important to investigate how combinations of colors, graphic forms, and typography affect the emotions and purchasing decisions of potential customers.
  • Use of negative space – conscious use of negative (empty) space significantly improves the readability of the packaging and highlights important graphic elements, giving the packaging a modern and professional look.
  • Use of symbolism and metaphors – the use of symbolism and metaphors in packaging design can strengthen the emotional connection with the recipient and help communicate more complex brand values in a subtle but clear way.
Essential oil packaging We designed Moonholi to create an elegant, minimalist set, while also fitting graphically into the brand's magical narrative.

4. Ignoring functionality

Packaging, apart from its aesthetic qualities, primarily serves a functional role. Neglecting this aspect can result in customer frustration when they encounter difficulties with opening, storing, or reclosing the product's packaging.

We recommend conducting usability tests on packaging prototypes and involving potential users in this process. Such a step allows not only the identification and elimination of potential functional issues but also the discovery of solutions that can enhance the product's user value.

The project should take into account ease of opening, ergonomics, and—depending on the type of product—the possibility of easy re-closing. It is important that the packaging is designed with the entire product lifecycle in mind—from the moment of purchase, through usage, to potential storage. Such a holistic perspective on designing packaging functionality not only increases consumer satisfaction but can also help distinguish the brand from the competition.

5. Ignoring environmental aspects

In today's times, when public ecological awareness is constantly growing, disregarding sustainable development principles in packaging design can lead to serious consequences both for the natural environment and the brand's image. Consumers are increasingly interested in products that not only meet their aesthetic and functional expectations but also have a minimal environmental impact.

The use of eco-friendly materials that are easy to recycle or biodegradable can significantly enhance a brand's positive image among consumers. Additionally, transparent communication of the brand's commitment to environmental protection, implemented through packaging design, can greatly increase customer trust and loyalty.

To intensify the brand's ecological commitment through packaging design, consider the following steps:

  • Selection of innovative, eco-friendly materials – for example, bioplastics or plant-based materials that are biodegradable.
  • Minimalism in design of packaging – reducing materials used in packaging production, which decreases waste and facilitates recycling.
  • Recycling guidelines – clear instructions placed on the packaging on how to recycle it properly can encourage consumers to act responsibly.
  • Promotion of reusable systems – encouraging the reuse of packaging reinforces the brand's image as environmentally responsible.
  • Transparency of material origin - informing about sustainable material sourcing builds trust and customer loyalty.

Implementing these points can not only reduce the negative environmental impact but also positively influence the brand's perception by consumers.

As part of the collaboration with the Polish brand Resibo, we designed a proprietary formof a bottle for hair cosmetics. Our task was to create a shape that not only stands out among competitive products but also emphasizes the brand's eco-friendly commitment. The result of our work is a unique packaging made of HDPE material, whose unusual and attention-grabbing form significantly increases the product's attractiveness on the shelf.

Our design of the proprietary form and packaging for the Resibo cosmetic line - photo sourced from

6. Ignoring production constraints

Packaging designers do not always take into account technical specifications and production constraints, which can result in challenges in project execution and unexpected increases in production costs. This approach can also delay the product's market introduction and impact overall profitability.

Close collaboration between designers and packaging producers allows for combining an interesting design with production realities. Considering this factor in the early stages of packaging design enables the identification of potential problems and adaptation of the design to current technological capabilities, which in turn ensures production flow and cost optimization. Such collaboration also creates opportunities to explore alternative materials and technologies that can offer beneficial solutions both in terms of cost and environmental impact.

7. Inconsistency with brand identity

A packaging design that is not consistent with the other elements of a brand's visual identity can not only mislead consumers but also significantly weaken brand recognition and strength. Visual consistency plays a crucial role in building trust and loyalty among audiences, being the foundation of a strong relationship between a brand and its customers.

All elements of the packaging design — from color schemes, through typography, to the style of graphic elements or the nature of photography — should not only align with the overall visual strategy of the brand, but also correspond to the promises and values that the brand presents to its customers. Maintaining visual consistency across various customer touchpoints helps in building a strong and recognizable brand..

The consistent packaging of dietary supplements and adaptogens we designed allowed the Zojo Elixirs brand to stand out amid huge competition.

Additionally, to maintain brand consistency in packaging design, several key actions should be considered to ensure a uniform and recognizable image:

  1. Creating and following visual identity guidelines – design work is significantly facilitated by developing detailed instructions on the use of colors, typography, and other graphic elements that are crucial for maintaining a consistent brand appearance across all customer touchpoints. For this purpose, you can create a professional brandbook.
  2. Ensuring message consistency – all elements of the packaging design, from color schemes to text, should consistently and coherently communicate the brand's key values and promises, strengthening its perception by consumers.
  3. Aligning packaging design with other branding materials – the packaging design should be consistent with the brand's presentation on the website, in promotional materials, and in other forms of communication.
  4. Adapting the design to the diversity of product linesPackaging designs should maintain brand consistency while allowing for a degree of differentiation to highlight the uniqueness of individual products in the lineup.
  5. Regular reviews and updates of designs – As the brand evolves and marketing strategies change, it is important to regularly check and adapt packaging designs to ensure they continue to reflect the current brand identity and enhance its market recognition.

For Resibo, we designed a comprehensive brand book that includes detailed descriptions of the designed cosmetic packaging and guidelines for creating the graphics for subsequent products.

8. Failure to perform print proofs (proofing)

Skipping the proofing stage is a mistake that can lead to significant discrepancies between the design and the final appearance of the packaging, especially concerning color fidelity and the precision of graphic details. Such discrepancies can not only negatively impact the aesthetics and consumer perception of the brand but also increase production costs due to the need for corrections.

At Holy Studio proofs, or test printsare a standard component of the packaging design process, allowing for the early detection and resolution of potential issues. Test prints enable precise verification of all graphic elements, colors, and text layout on the packaging, which is crucial for ensuring the visual coherence of products on the store shelf.

This stage is crucial for assessing the quality of the materials used and the durability and legibility of the print, which directly affects the final satisfaction of the consumer. Conducting test prints before starting mass production of packaging helps avoid unnecessary costs associated with reprinting or changes to the packaging design, which is extremely important for budget optimization.

9. Neglecting readability and information hierarchy

A lack of clear information hierarchy and insufficient text readability on the packaging can effectively discourage potential customers by preventing them from accessing key information about the product. Such a situation not only negatively impacts the user experience but also may reduce the chances of convincing the customer to make a purchase.

Carefully consider the layout of information on the packaging, so that they create a clear and logical whole. The most important messages — such as the product nameits main benefits or usage instructions should be placed in the most visible way. It is important that the text is easy to read in various font sizes, allowing accommodation for a wide range of consumers, including those with limited vision.

A poorly planned information hierarchy significantly hinders the identification of the product and its purpose. Do you think this is packaging for drinks or cleaning agents?

10. Lack of openness to trends and innovations in packaging design

Neglecting innovation in the field of packaging design can result in a brand image that is perceived as outdated and less attractive to potential customers. In today's times, where new patterns and technologies emerge at a rapid pace, keeping packaging in line with the expectations of the target group is key to the success of the product.

Regular monitoring and adaptation to the latest trends in packaging design not only can provide inspiration for creating attractive designs but also allow brands to build a deeper relationship with consumers.who value innovation and freshness.

At the same time, it is essential to find a balance between staying up to date with trends and maintaining brand authenticity. Not every trend will fit a particular brand, so it is important that every design decision be a conscious choice, reflecting the brand's values and identity, rather than just a fleeting fashion. Understanding which trends have the greatest potential to effectively meet the expectations of the target audience can be key to achieving success.


Effective packaging design requires balancing aesthetics and functionality, while considering consumers' expectations and needs. Avoiding the listed mistakes and following the recommendations presented above can significantly contribute to a product's success in the market.

Remember that packaging is not just about protecting the product, but above all a key element of brand communication with the consumer, aimed at capturing attention, building an emotional bond, and ultimately convincing to purchase. In today's rapidly changing world, where competition is immense and constantly growing, investing in thoughtful, effective, and sustainable packaging designs is the foundation for long-term brand development.