We were contacted by the team at Learn & Grow Toys in early 2022. They had a number of product lines already on the market in Australia. When it came to landing a large international deal that would see their product sold throughout Europe, the European distributor felt that their current packaging (designed by another studio) was not up to standard and would not let the product sell at its full potential.
We met with the team to review their current packaging and offered a number of ways that it could be improved. Packaging design for products such as toys, are highly visual and they need to show the audience exactly what is in the box from the first glance. Children need to be attracted to the toy along with the adult making the purchase decision.
The product was very colourful in nature and it was deemed necessary to ensure the packaging design reflected this. The design also needed to be conducive to being able to be used across different carton sizes whilst still retaining the brand identity and showing the products as part of a series to encourage multiple purchases.
Shown below are some example of the packaging design prior to the project commencing. These designs didn't use product images so it would require the purchaser to pick up the box to discover the contents.
We created several different designs. Each had their strengths and weaknesses in terms of displaying the product and also their flexibility to allow rollout of all the different product lines. Some of the designs would allow us to use existing product photography that the client had available, whilst some of the designs would require a highly complex studio photo shoot to make the design work as intended. As the product had highly reflective surfaces and were opaque in nature, photographing the product would not be an easy task and would require a specialist product photographer, experienced in shooting highly reflective surfaces as well as being able to repeat the process for future packaging design in terms of the angle of the product, height, colour saturation and much more. Being able to repeat the process by using accurate measurements and angles would be critical to the success of the packaging design throughout a number of product lines.
After presenting each of the designs to the Learn & Grow Toys team and explaining the pros and cons of each design including which ones would require specialist photography and provide the most impact on a retail shelf, they team took them away for a few days in order to conduct some internal meetings to discuss and provide feedback.
The team settled on the style used in the fourth example shown above. This style would require high-end photography but was also very versatile in its use on different carton sizes and aspect ratios. It featured a colourful wallpaper down one side which also wrapped around to the end, back and sides. This colour could be swapped depending on the product being displayed.
Narrowing down the design at this point assists in identifying the direction of the packaging design and allows us to keep design costs down by not needing to work on several concepts which may be destined to be cut, therefore allowing the resources to be used to develop only the styles which the client wishes to.
We started the development of the package design by redrawing many of the magnetic tile components into a pattern which could be used down the side of each carton. This involved photographing each piece and then tracing them in our software to form the shapes. We then assembled these shapes into an attractive and interlocking pattern which could be used in a light/dark tone of the same base colour (eg light and dark green). The piece count took direction from the previous box design, but used an actual photograph of the image with the piece count displayed above. These pieces can then be changed in hue to suit the packaging colour (eg a purple tile on purple packaging).
The typeface was then worked upon and a number of examples were presented to the team for review. This typeface was then rolled out across many of the elements on the package design, including the use of a complementary font for copy text.
The various toy sets were then sent to a highly skilled photographer we had worked with before. This took some back and forth in order to establish the style of photography and also ensure that important information such as angles, shooting height and light settings were carefully recorded to allow future packages to be shot in the same style along with the isometric view angle used on the front of each of the cartons. It also involved having the size of each of the individual product pieces to be shot to scale so that when the tiles were lined up on the side of the carton, they would all be perfectly to scale. This preparation can save literally tens of hours when designing the package.
Once these images were completed by the photography team, we assembled the initial carton design for review by the client. After some tweaks were made to the text size, barcode position and ensuring all the legal requirements had been met, we received sign off and then progressed to designing the remaining eight cartons in the range.
Upon completion of the nine carton designs, we created a 14 page guide for the client. This guide includes information such as the fonts and typeface families used, spacing, colours, constructing the wallpaper pattern if it ever required extension, positioning all the components and elements on the cartons, supplying the symbols and brand elements along with a photography guide for the hero images used on the front and the individual reference images for the side of the carton. It also goes into detail to ensure that no matter the size of the carton printed, the toy pieces used in the wallpaper graphic remains at identical sizes. This ensures that when all the cartons are displayed in a retail setting, that the elements used in the colourful wallpaper graphic are the same size. The same goes for the wallpaper band on the left of each carton, each should line up perfectly when placed on the shelf above or below as they all remain at the same width.
The packaging design (and of course the amazing toys) has the toy range flying off the shelves with many sets selling out within weeks of hitting the shelves. So popular is the series, that the team have added additional complementing sets such as their popular Road Toppers Pack that can be used in conjunction with the Magnetic Tiles range.
We are thankful that the team selected a package design that was simple and showcased the product to its full potential. Often with packaging there is a tendency to go for the most complicated design, but most of the time (if the product itself is great), all you need to do is display the product well in its packaging to enjoy success.