6 Essential Tips for Package Design Testing

Package Design
6 Essential Tips for Package Design Testing
Article by Szabolcs Szecsei
Last Updated: May 20, 2024

Package design is a powerful marketing tool that can make an enticing impression in the blink of an eye. As a matter of fact, data suggests that 72% of consumers will purchase a product if they find it visually appealing. This is why it’s essential to keep track of consumer behavior and packaging design trends to stand out from the competition — not just keep up with it.

By now, you’ve probably teamed up with a packaging design agency and have a few ideas ready. But how do you ensure you’re getting the ideal product? You might also want to inquire about the testing methodologies your chosen designers use, and these tips for package design testing will surely help.

Understand Your Goals, Target Audience, and Competitors

Before getting into any package design testing methodologies, it’s imperative to know what your target market wants and values. Examine their preferences, demographics, pain points, browsing & purchasing behavior, and the like, as these valuable insights will allow you to glean the information you need from the testing process, adhering to their most preferred package design trends. That way, you'll have a package design that meets your audience’s expectations.

For example, if your target audience expects eco-friendly packaging, make sure to use all-natural biodegrading materials. Your typography and design choices should also reflect your eco-conscious approach.

Before package design testing, you should also define your project goals and research popular product design tips. Do you want to focus solely on the product’s attributes, or do you want to push your brand center stage? Should the design be product-centered or user-centered? Determining these specifics will also help you settle on a testing approach and evaluate the project's success afterward.

Lastly, you should also closely examine how your competitors have tackled their package design testing obstacles. Examining their best-selling products’ packaging may help you make useful adjustments in the testing phase.

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Test Early and Often

Early and frequent testing reduces the risk of failure down the road. With testing, you can address whether your users resonate with the packaging or whether it’s feasible in the long run. The feedback you gather from every methodology will help you make smarter decisions on the fly and even during the design process to avoid having to start over.

Define Your Methodology – Practical Tips for Package Design Testing

Even if a single package testing methodology has proven to be reliable, if your budget allows for it, it’s invaluable to incorporate multiple approaches for the best results.

Our tips for package design testing include:

  1. Focus groups
  2. Usability testing
  3. A/B testing
  4. Online surveys
  5. Eye-tracking studies
  6. Mockups and 3D prototyping

1. Use Focus Groups

Conducting research and interviews with potential customers is an in-depth method for package design testing. It’s a great opportunity to gain tangible first-hand insights about your target audience’s attitudes and opinions about the packaging and a great practical method to truly get to know your audience.

The testing should be set offline in cases when you want a clear benchmark to measure the design’s success. Hosting these studies offline provides more detailed data, as you can also non-verbal cues along with emotional reactions. Also, it’s great if you are looking for qualitative feedback regarding the packaging’s emotional connection or brand messaging.

As long as the focus group aligns with your target demographic, you’ll learn a lot about your target audience’s motivations and behaviors that drive purchases.

2. Usability Testing

Usability testing can also be a great way to measure the design’s success, especially in cases in which the packaging is reusable or aims to protect the product for a longer time.

Usability testing in this regard can also help you gain insight into how potential customers use the packaging. You can assess whether their use of the design aligns with your expectations or if they are using it differently. Also, this testing methodology can pinpoint potential design flaws that you can immediately address.

For more comprehensive information, here's a complete study of take-out food packaging in terms of usability.

3. A/B Testing

A/B testing is a simple yet effective way to test two different packaging designs and see which resonates better in the marketplace.

If you opt for this method, ensure that you change only a single variable with each test to better understand which element is responsible for the better performance of a particular variant. This aims to pinpoint the exact elements that perform better and better understand customer preferences that drive them toward buying a product.

You can either run A/B testing for your product packaging designs live, meaning that you launch two different packaging versions in the marketplace, or before presenting the product to the masses.

A/B testing is highly effective if you are solely focusing on one or two design elements. Still, if you want to get a deeper insight into what consumers prefer through more design elements and concepts, A/B testing will probably not give you the answers you want.

Receive proposals from top packaging design agencies. It’s free.

4. Online Surveys

Surveys conducted online have unique advantages. They are flexible, fast, cost-effective, and can give you the freedom to ask open-ended questions, use Likert Scales, and more.

With surveys, you can spot specific patterns regarding their behavior toward your packaging design, which will enable you to make tiny or major adjustments, and it’s a great method if you want to test out multiple aspects of the design at the same time.

You can test how people react to the design’s colors, materials, brand impact, or messaging. Online surveys help you come up with questions regarding each element and get straightforward, nuanced information in return.

5. Eye-Tracking Studies

Eye-tracking studies provide a high-tech, precision method that can better connect behavioral data to purchasing decisions. Often, the decision to buy something happens mostly on an emotional level (around 95%), so it can be hard for consumers to explain exactly why they like or dislike a design.

In the case of package design testing, eye-tracking studies may help get more precise info about the following:

  • Are the products noticeable or attractive enough for consumers?
  • Does the packaging draw attention?
  • What aspects of the designs are people ignoring or focusing on?
  • Is the information on the packaging visible enough?

Eye-tracking studies may be conducted via high-precision, computer screen-mounted infrared trackers or wearable eye-tracker devices, coming in the form of glasses that allow more movement than fixed screens. There are also webcam eye-tracking options that can help you see how consumers interact with your products on the web.

Lastly, there’s also predictive eye tracking, which uses AI algorithms that use data from a large pool of already conducted eye-tracking studies to predict where consumers will most likely be looking when seeing a new packaging design for the first time.

6. Mockups and 3D Prototyping

Mockup package testing and 3D prototyping complement each other in the package design process. The first offers valuable info regarding the design's functionality, usability, and overall consumer appeal via digital or physical prototypes. 3D offers a detailed representation of the packaging for refinement and validation.

Using both methodologies together enables designers to use the strengths of each approach to look for potential design issues early on and address them. The end results are more effective and higher-quality packaging solutions that will probably resonate with the audience better.

Using these methods in conjunction can streamline the design process with minimal production risks, ensuring that the final product is practical and visually appealing.

Package Design Testing Takeaways & Package Design Ideas

The aim of every testing process is to create packaging that does the product justice and grabs the attention of every potential buyer. Often, the packaging has only a few seconds to impress the beholder. Still, that’s only part of the battle.

The design should also display all vital information pertaining to the product concisely and clearly. Packaging material choices are also becoming increasingly important, as buyers are growingly looking for more eco-conscious products. As a matter of fact, 78% of them feel that sustainability is crucial when deciding on a purchase.

If you are still looking for ideas to revamp or improve your packaging designs, these package design concepts and luxury design ideas may help you get a better idea of what you’re after. Also, here are a few more additional tips if you are looking for something more professional.


Why is package design so important?

Product packages usually act as a brand’s business card in stores. It has a massive effect on brand identity, as it can actively help spread brand awareness and can help you deliver on your business’s value proposition. It also showcases the personality of the brand that should speak to your target audience.

When should you perform package testing?

Usually, businesses perform design tests after the design process but before actually launching the product. This enables them to evaluate how future buyers will interact with the products. There are instances where companies will test the product live, usually with two different package variants available. The first method is the more prominent, as it offers more convenience for redesigns.

What is the best method for package design testing?

Every testing method offers a unique way to gain insight into customer preferences, package usability, and overall design appeal. It’s recommended to implement more than one testing method so each can address the other’s possible drawbacks. Using more than one method also enables you to get more crucial feedback to create the best possible package design.

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