The psychology of packaging: How colours, shapes, and materials influence consumer choices

(Last Updated On: September 29, 2023)

Packaging has always attracted the eye, like a book cover to the book. When it comes to grabbing the attention of potential customers and making your brand stand out in the market, packaging has an important role to play.

Packaging isn’t just about wrapping your products; it’s a powerful tool that can influence consumer choices and drive sales. 

There are several elements to packaging as well, each catering to a specific psychological role and thus shaping perception. Human perception is shaped by connections that our brain makes between different senses such as vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.

These connections are known as cross-modal correspondences. Knowing how to design packaging in a manner which would communicate your product’s features and appeal to the senses, can help you facilitate the consumer decision-making process to drive sales. 

Building brand recognition through packaging

Building brand recognition through packaging design involves a thoughtful combination of colours, shapes, and materials.

Firstly, colours should be consistent with your brand’s identity

Select a colour palette that resonates with your values and target audience’s emotions. Incorporate these colours into your packaging consistently to create a visual connection.

Shapes also play a crucial role

Unique or distinctive shapes can make your product instantly recognizable on the shelf.

Finally, choose materials that align with your brand’s ethos.

For instance, eco-friendly materials demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, while premium materials can convey luxury.

When these elements work in harmony, your packaging becomes a powerful tool for brand recognition, helping consumers identify and trust your products instantly. Printo’s custom labels and packaging solutions can help you maintain a consistent brand image across all your products, fostering brand loyalty.  

Let’s explore each of these 3 dimensions further.

The Power of First Impressions: Understanding the Psychology of Packaging

Imagine walking into a store or scrolling through an eCommerce website. What’s the first thing that catches your eye? More often than not, it’s the packaging.

The way a product is presented can make or break the sale, and here’s why:

Colour psychology in packaging 

Colour in packaging has a profound impact on consumer behaviour.

Colours evoke emotions; red signifies excitement (often used to represent a sale or offer), and blue imparts trust (often used in water bottle labels to convey and evoke trust in the brand).

Consistent use of colour fosters brand recognition, invoking loyalty.

Take, for instance, Cadbury and its iconic purple packaging.

Colours influence perceived product quality, with vibrant shades suggesting luxury and subdued tones signalling naturalness. 

image courtesy: Eventologists

However do note that cultural context matters, as colours can hold different meanings across cultures. Sometimes seasonal and trendy colours align products with consumer preferences.

In essence, colour choices in packaging are strategic, communicating messages that shape consumer perceptions and influence buying decisions.

Related read: A guide on using colour psychology for your online store

Shape matters in consumer behaviour

Shapes in packaging design also play a significant role in the consumer decision-making process.

Different shapes evoke specific emotions and associations. For instance, angular, edgy shapes can convey a sense of modernity and innovation, while rounded and organic forms may suggest friendliness and approachability.

An insightful example here is the thought process that goes behind evaluating cheese. People tend to make a connection between the round shape of the cheese block to its creaminess. The angular cheeses tend to be perceived as those having a more robust flavour profile. 

Ergonomic influences 

The choice of shape can also influence product functionality and ease of use; water bottles tend to be designed keeping in mind the ergonomics of the hand.

Moreover, the arrangement and layout of shapes can guide attention and perception, enhancing the overall visual appeal and communicative power of packaging.

In essence, shapes in packaging design are a potent tool for conveying brand identity, and product attributes and triggering consumer responses.

Material selection and its impact on consumer behaviour 

The choice of packaging material would appeal to the touch modality. Here are a few examples: 

  • Eco-friendly materials like recycled paper or biodegradable plastics signal a brand’s commitment to sustainability, appealing to environmentally-conscious consumers.
  • Sturdy, high-quality materials convey product durability and value, attracting discerning buyers.
  • Transparent materials such as glass or clear plastic can enhance product visibility and trust, as consumers can see what they’re buying.
  • Conversely, opaque materials can create an air of mystery and exclusivity.
  • Lightweight materials reduce shipping costs and carbon footprint, aligning with sustainability trends.

Related read: 8 Shipping factors to consider when choosing a courier partner

Packaging materials, like colours, convey subtle messages that influence consumer perceptions and choices, making them a vital aspect of marketing strategy.

The bottom line is when it comes to packaging, it is essential that the brand knows what its product is trying to communicate. Based on this, the colour, shape, material, and even smell of the packaging can be tweaked to enhance appeal.   

Creating an unboxing experience: Applying consumer behaviour 

In the age of social media, the unboxing experience has become a viral sensation.

Consumers love sharing their unboxing moments, and a well-designed package can be a game-changer for your brand.


Printo’s range of packaging products, such as mailer boxes and carry bags, can be customized to create a memorable unboxing experience that your customers will want to share with their friends and followers.

Boosting perceived value and its connection to consumer behaviour

High-quality packaging can enhance the perceived value of your products. When customers receive a well-packaged item, they’re more likely to believe they’re getting a premium product.


Standing Out in a Crowded Market: Application of Consumer Behavior Principles

In today’s competitive business landscape, differentiation is essential. Your packaging can be the differentiating factor that sets you apart from the competition.

Packaging is a silent salesman for your online store, and its design elements—colours, shapes, and materials—play a pivotal role in making a product stand out in the competitive market.

Bold and contrasting colours grab attention, while subdued tones convey elegance. Shape is equally crucial; unique and ergonomic designs not only catch the eye but also enhance functionality.

In a sea of options, packaging becomes the first touchpoint that can make or break a consumer’s decision, making it a potent tool for market success.

With Printo’s customisable packaging options, you can create packaging that not only aligns with your brand but also grabs attention and leaves a lasting impression. 

Discover the full range of Printo’s Custom Packaging Options

Convenience and Functionality: Meeting Consumer Needs

While aesthetics are crucial, don’t forget that packaging’s primary purpose is still to be functional. The choice of materials can greatly impact convenience and functionality.

Lightweight and durable materials reduce shipping costs and ensure products reach consumers intact.

Materials that offer resealable or easy-open features add practicality for consumers who want to use products repeatedly. Customised packaging tapes add a bit of branding touch to robust packaging. 

Elevate your brand with Printo’s packaging solutions 

In conclusion, packaging is a powerful tool that can influence consumer choices, create memorable experiences, and boost your brand’s image.

By understanding the psychology of packaging and leveraging the right colours, shapes, and materials, you can make a significant impact on your customer’s perceptions.

To take your packaging to the next level and effectively promote your brand, explore Printo’s range of packaging products. Whether you need custom tapes, labels, carry bags, stand-up pouches, or mailer boxes, Printo has you covered.

With Printo’s innovative and customizable solutions, you can enhance your brand’s packaging game and leave a lasting impression on your customers.

Investing in the right packaging is an investment in your brand’s success. Enhance your business with Printo – From business stationery to labels, packaging, and delightful gifting options, we’ve got it all! 

To kickstart your journey with us, Printo is delighted to offer you a 15% discount. Enter the code INSTAPRINT15 to get started here

This article comes to you from the team of Printo – India’s largest digital print company for you, businesses and creators. They make printing and gifting easy! 

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