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How to Create Premium Packaging Design for Your Food Product

Lauren Casgren-Tindall - Principal and Lead Designe

Lauren Casgren-Tindall has been creating powerful, innovative designs over the past 15 years. She launched the company Crème de Mint design agency to specialize in her passion of designing innovative food packaging. 

Key Points

  • What “premium” packaging design means
  • Why it matters for your business
  • The importance of branding
  • Elements of premium packaging design

What is Premium Packaging Design?

“Premium packaging design” is more than a buzzword—it means packaging that conveys superior quality to consumers, telling them that the contents are created with craftsmanship, thought, and value. 

The purpose of premium packaging isn’t just to hold a food product, or even just to look sophisticated—it’s to create an elevated product experience from the moment a consumer sees or interacts with a product. It encompasses the touch, the feel, and even the convenience of use.

Unlike luxury packaging, which is more about status, desirability, and consumer perception, premium packaging design must be backed up by quality (in materials, in design aesthetics, and in the actual quality of the ingredients in the food or beverage product). 

This means it must be meticulously designed, with each element carefully planned to reinforce freshness, taste, and the emotions you want associated with your product and brand. 

Why Does Premium Packaging Design Matter? 

  • 71% of consumers expect high-quality packaging when making expensive online purchases
  • 61% say they are much more likely to repeat a purchase of a luxury product because of premium packaging design
  • 81% of consumers tried something new because packaging caught their eye 

In a world of e-commerce possibilities, it’s vital to keep up with growing consumer preferences and expectations. The right design helps you meet those expectations and stand out from the crowd. 

But the benefits of premium packaging design also go beyond attracting new leads. It also helps you build customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. 

Your package is a canvas that allows you to tell your brand’s story and define its identity, creating trust and encouraging engagement with consumers. Every aspect, from color choices to material selection is an opportunity to establish who you are as a brand and leave a lasting imprint in the minds of your customers. 

What Makes a Premium Packaging Design?

Your packaging should communicate quality, but it also needs to be practical and functional. For example, a glass bottle might be an excellent premium option, but if it breaks while being shipped, it’s not worth it. 

Excellent food packaging protects products, preserves quality, freshness, and taste, and conveys a high-end feeling for the consumer. 

premium food packaging design

Iberico Club’s Paella Valenciana needed to feel high-end and still keep ingredients fresh and intact when they arrived on the doorstep. Our premium product packaging designs used sophisticated visuals along with quality materials such as glass, burlap, and wood. 

It’s also vital for your packaging to be easy to open and use Your consumers should be able to open wrappers, puncture pouches with straws, and reseal food for freshness without accidentally ripping packages or experiencing frustration.

Premium product packaging design also plays on emotion. The copy should be engaging and highlight the benefits of the products, whether that means healthy wholesome ingredients or luxurious sweet taste. Let your packaging tell the story of what a customer feels when eating or drinking your product. 

Premium Packaging Design: What to Avoid

Premium packaging design isn’t always easy to define—but you know it when you see it and feel it. Avoid packaging that feels cheap or design that appears cluttered. 

If it’s within budget, try to avoid plastic in favor of more high-end materials, such as cardboard, bamboo, or paper. If that isn’t practical or accessible, think of small changes you can make, such as choosing a colored lid for a jar instead of a white lid. Even the tiniest details can help elevate a design. 

Rapid Fire premium-coffee packaging rebrand

In this rebrand, we considered the shape and feel of the container, along with minimizing the cluttered visuals. The result was a premium coffee packaging design that elevated the brand. 

The Importance of Branding in Premium Packaging Design

Quality matters in premium packaging design—but it isn’t just quality of your product or ingredients. It’s also the quality of your brand. 

Your packaging design should establish who you are and what your brand stands for, creating a cohesive brand image across mediums. Consumers should be able to easily identify your brand whether they’re perusing the shelves, scrolling social media, or visiting your website. 

Great packaging designs tell a story and connect with your target audience. What emotions do you want your consumers to feel about your product? Should they associate it with a delectable delicacy? Should they feel and taste freshness before they even open the wrapper? Should they envision fluffy textures or waves of rich goodness? Every design element should reinforce the desired emotions. 

Each of the 3 chocolate bar premium packaging designs feature a colorful palette of muted blue, pink and orange combined with pops of earthy green that highlight the botanical essence of the illustrations.

In this premium chocolate packaging design, we incorporated illustrations of tropical plans, florals, and fauna to evoke a fun, beachy vibe and reflect the chocolate’s unique flavors. 

How to Create Premium Packaging Design

megan & co premium-tea packaging design

Keep these 7 tips in mind:

Avoid Clutter in Design

High-end packaging designs are often minimalistic, chic, and sophisticated. Cluttered designs create a low-end feel and detract from the overall aesthetic. 

Choose Colors with Intention

The colors in your packaging need to evoke emotion and incorporate food color psychology. For example, red is an appetite stimulant, perfect for dessert or candy packaging, while blue is an appetite suppressant, often used in health food options. 

CREDIT: FOOD BEV MEDIA
Weight Watchers products and other low-calorie or low-fat foods use blue as their primary packaging color. 

HERSHEY'S KIT KAT Milk Chocolate Wafer Snack Size

Fast food chains such as Wendy’s and candy companies, like KitKat, often choose red for their packaging. 

Incorporating black or neutrals with pops of color can bring a sophisticated element to your design. 

Incorporate Strong Imagery

In premium packaging design, less is often more. Choose minimalistic imagery that creates a strong visual, such as illustrations or images of fresh ingredients. 

Select the Right Typography

Typography be scripted, sans serif, serif, round, bold, or angular—and each tells a different story and evokes a different emotion. Incorporate multiple fonts for added visual appeal. 

Use Strategic Copy

Creating an engaging tagline or incorporating a brand story snippet can help attract consumers and establish quality. 

The Layout

The right layout ensures that the consumer’s eye is drawn to the most important information first—such as flavors or benefits. 

High-End Materials

Materials such as paper, cardboard, and glass feel higher quality than plastic or cellophane. Think about how your materials look and feel—and avoid basic white or cheap plastics if possible.

Be Authentic

Your brand needs to be reflected in a genuine way. If your brand has spunky personality, don’t create a chic, luxury package with no oomph. 

Don’t Compromise Quality

If you’re going to invest in premium packaging design, go all in and don’t skimp on quality–there is no halfway when it comes to premium. 

rapid fire premium tea packaging design

This premium tea packaging design uses a minimalistic approach with plenty of negative space, colors that reflect product benefits, and a layout that draws the eye to important information right away. 

Important Considerations for Your Premium Packaging Design

Remember that in a premium packaging design, every detail counts. Don’t overlook the experience in favor of the visual—there is so much more to premium design than just what it looks like. 

Usability 

Food packaging needs to be durable and usable. For example, paper straws seemed like a great idea from a sustainability standpoint, and might have felt more high-end than plastic. But they were impractical, quickly becoming soggy and unusable when placed in a beverage—causing frustration for many consumers. 

Spend time experimenting with your packaging material options before you commit to them. Do they work with your food product in a way that makes sense? Can you easily consume the product and reseal if necessary? Are they accessible for consumers with disabilities? 

Efficiency

High-end packaging should also be efficient. Packaging that is far too big feels wasteful and can leave consumers wondering if they got their money’s worth. 

Choose packaging that is the right size for your product and that doesn’t contain unused space or impractical elements. 

Your Distribution Goals

Do you intend to ship directly to consumers, or pursue retail vendor partnerships? This might impact your packaging. If you opt for an e-commerce route, you’ll need to consider premium packaging design options not just for your primary packaging, but also for your shipping materials. 

Choose shipping materials that protect your food product and ensure quality even when being transported–but remember to incorporate your branding into the outer packaging to reinforce the high-end feel. 

Sustainability

81% of consumers agree that sustainability in packaging matters. Consider incorporating recyclable or eco-friendly materials, such as paper, cardboard, or bamboo. Find ways to use less packaging, such as reducing the size of the package or incorporating less packaging components. 

simply sharons sustainable premium cookie package design

This premium cookie packaging design uses a sustainable approach to their packaging. Their food packaging design uses a biodegradable, compostable plastic pouch and recycled paper and vegetable inks for the tag. This aligned with the brand values and the founder’s commitment to sustainability and health.

The Takeaway

Premium food packaging design is about quality. Every element must be selected carefully to ensure a positive customer experience when opening, consuming, and re-using your product. 

Remember that branding and authenticity matter—you and your customer should both be reflected in your packaging. This increases trust and brand loyalty—and ensures that your packaging attracts the right consumers for your product. 

Check out our food packaging design guide for more on the process of designing your packaging.

If you are looking for a cpg branding agency to help you with your food packaging design, let’s talk!

About the Author

Lauren Casgren-Tindall - Principal and Lead Designe

Lauren Casgren-Tindall is the founder of Crème de Mint and has been creating powerful, innovative designs over the past 15 years for companies such as Benihana, Juicera, Farafina, Iberico Club, MiSOgood, and Expressed Juice.