February 01, 2017

How much does Packaging design cost?

At Jam&Co one of the most frequently asked questions that we get asked is “how much does packaging design going to cost?” This is a difficult question to answer directly mainly because there are so many variables that impact the price.

The investment for creating a pack that is designed to sell is much like buying a new home.  The price all depends on one’s needs and priorities.

So… how much does packaging design going to cost?

You wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t believe that your packaging really matters….but you also want to know how much the packaging design is going to cost you?. 

You know that the look and feel of your packaging will have a direct impact on your product sales and the amount of eyeballs who will discover your product. So…just as quality matters to the output of the product components within the pack itself, so too it is when it comes to the packaging design. 

Packaging design cost influences

In reality, asking, “How much does packaging design cost?” is much like asking the question, “How much does it cost to buy a car?” There are almost limitless possibilities to be considered. The same is true for calculating the investment for the creation and design of a package designed to sell.

To provide you with some insight, the cost of a packaging design project is influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • Where you intend to sell this products?
  • Whether or not you have an existing brand that you’ll be selling your new product under.
  • Product history -Has it been sold before? Do you have prototypes or are you in production?
  • Whether you know who your major competitor is and how you’ll differentiate from them?
  • Whether or not you require assistance not just on packaging design, but also on the pack form design.
  • Have you evaluated the materials you will be using as they will impact your production costs as well as shipping and attrition costs.
  • How well you know your target consumer and how well you understand them.(male, female, age group, income etc.)
  • What if any research has been conducted? Will you be requiring research to support the design decisions?
  • Where will the product be sold? Online, supermarket, deli etc.
  • Whether or not you have determined your price point relative to your competitors.
  • Whether  or not you have developed a distinctive Unique Selling Proposition.  

The four standard levels of packaging design cost

There are 4 distinct levels of packaging design cost. Like most industries there is the el-cheapo model all the way up to the high-end exclusive, luxury one.  

A massive industry-wide disparity in qualifications and experience has yielded a widespread lack of understanding of what design is actually worth (on a monetary scale). Clients are largely misinformed when it comes to market value for professional packaging design. A quick web search could easily show a selection of companies offering pack designs for as little as a few hundred dollars, so that must be the going rate for what packaging design really costs?…No!

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Great and more importantly, effective package design takes time. also understand that some subject matter is easier to design for than others. The fact is…packaging design is not so much that you’re buying a design, rather, what you are really paying for is a design process that results in a design specifically customized to drive a specific result from a specific customer and market. The value of the packaging design is based on expertise and track record (how successful the designer/agency has been in developing pack designs for other companies before you.)

Here are the 4 levels of packaging design costs.

  • Packaging design cost –Level 1 – “I have a guy in India who designs labels for about $80 to $100 each!

With the ever increasing pressure on marketing departments to “do more with less” some marketers have taken to using crowdsourcing design platforms like 99designs and DesignCrowd to cut the costs of their packaging design.  Whilst on the surface putting a design project out to the crowd may seem like a cost effective way to get tons of ideas and design concepts. These design concepts can be purchased anywhere from $300 to $400 and upwards to around $3000. In reality, crowd sourcing your packaging and brand work can be very risky business.

NOTE: Even CEO of 99Designs, Patrick Llewellyn’s says crowdsourcing design is not for everyone!

A perfect package design is one that says it all and grabs and retains the consumer’s attention. It’s important to note that today’s informed consumers make their decisions based on perceived value and suggested retail price points. If your pack looks cheap, it will stay on the shelves.

  • Packaging design cost – Level 2 – Design House “SPECIAL: Starter packs only $1200 – SAVE $300!”

Pop into any halfway decent print shop and they’ll tell you that for under $1500 they can whip you up a pack design (Maybe $2,000). This one-stop-shop solution may have merit for the start up who doesn’t have the money to spend. That stated, if your business is so strapped for funds that you are unable to invest into building the main ingredient which holds the key to generating your your revenue, then your chances of success suddenly become drastically reduced. Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression. (See Inside FMCG Magazine Article – Your final Sales Pitch )

See: Packaging design, the silent salesperson has less than 5 seconds to capture the consumer.

  • Packaging design cost – Level 3 – Boutique Packaging Design Agency – From $10,000

When it comes to how much does packaging design costs, often there is a disconnect between a client’s expectations of what they should pay for package design and what it actually does cost. This is more often than not related to a lack of understanding of the “effective packaging design process”.

You want a pack design that delivers results!

Effective packaging design takes into account the 2-3 seconds consumers take to make a buying decision. Those 3 seconds are exceedingly important when you consider that more than 70% of purchasing decisions are made at point of purchase.

Grabbing consumer attention involves both research and strategy as well as an in-depth understanding of emotional connection creation. You shouldn’t leave this critical aspect to chance! 

Boutique packaging agencies understand the 3 critical junctures in the brand life cycle where brand and product research combined with strategic rethinking provides a competitive advantage. They know what’s required to achieve results at each one of these juncture points.

3 critical junctures in the brand life cycle:

  1. Developing and launching of a new company/new brand/product.
  2. Existing company ongoing brand management and staying up to date. This may also include brand elasticity.(Brand elasticity refers to the number of products and services that can reasonably be covered by one brand. Example, the Disney brand is very powerful in its core domain of animated movies and theme parks .The Disney brand may also be elastic enough to cover certain kiddie foods and snacks).
  3. Revitalising & renewal of companies and their brands is when brands determine it’s time to re-evaluate the brand, ensuring it clearly reflects the company’s vision. Alternatively brands are looking to refresh their identity in order to increase their relevance to their stakeholders leading to a greater great sense of pride and ownership for the brand both inside and outside of the company.

Packaging design cost – Packs that deliver results

The fundamental difference in what you pay for between a Boutique Packaging Design and Branding Agency and the other services above is a primary focus on RESULTS!

Boutique Packaging Design Agencies focus on delivering results.They design packs that sell to their intended consumer. They create and design packs that deliver the specific results their client is looking for. Beginning with the end in mind, they…

  • immerse themselves in your target market and
  • narrow down your technical options,
  • choose the best solution,
  • develop an emotionally compelling brand, and then
  • execute to deliver the brand and the product
  • choose the best solutions and
  • help guide and support the  entire packaging process all the way to the end.

For the boutique agency the main reward and primary objective is to dramatically increase your product sales via packaging design, specific to your target audience.

  • Level 4 – High-end, Luxury, Global Design Agencies – Big names- Big clients – Big $$$

The roster of their clients boasts an impressive portfolio of globally recognisable work, winning design awards, their prominence in local and international markets, 5 syllable adjectives all make these high-end global design agencies easily recognisable.

World renowned design agencies are mostly frequented by the larger brands who want both the “security” and the status that comes by dealing a global player. That said, as budgets for design get slashed and with the call to get more done for less, even the large corporate brands are now opting for the value that the Boutique Packaging Design Agency brings.

2016 ® All Rights Reserved - Jam&Co Design