Early stages of package design
Before making some decisions on the direction of the package design, qualitative research such as focus groups are used to explore what consumers within the target market are looking for. Opinions on currently available competitive designs are collected to estimate what package features are desired, which ones need to be improved, and what the market’s overall expectations are.
Either in conjunction or as an alternative for qualitative research, a choice-based conjoint is applied to measure the level of preference of a design. In a conjoint exercise, simulated packages are created for research purposes based on a pre-defined set of dimensions (e.g. colour, package shape, text font, logo, etc.) and within each dimension a pre-defined set of levels (e.g. blue, green, red among the colours; square box, cone, cylinder among the shapes; etc.). These virtual packages are then tested in such a way that respondents’ preference for each level is determined, as well as determining the impact of each dimension on their overall packaging preference. This research can direct designers to a small number of options that would be most compelling to the target market.