pouch packaging design for snack foods

How to design packaging for healthy snacks

Packaging design for healthy snacks: 4 top tips

The snack market is changing. And so is the way we eat. While the traditional eating patterns of 3 structured meals remain, we’re snacking more frequently. Millennials are the most likely to succumb to snack attacks –  they’re snacking 4 times a day! So, what does this mean for packaging design for snack foods? Let’s take a look at that shortly. First, let’s consider current trends a little more.

Once upon a time you had to really search out and go to ‘specialty health food’ stores to find unrefined ‘natural’ products. Now our supermarkets have dedicated aisles catering to our growing allergies and intolerances. What was once ‘hippie food’ is now mainstream staple – chia seeds anyone?

What’s more, we like to be seen to be eating healthily. We want to post images of our afternoon Japanese turmeric-matcha-latte while we enjoy snacking on our gluten free, vegan plant protein.

As consumers turn their backs on sugar-loaded, empty snacking, there will be a flurry of products that will fill the healthy space, from plant protein to bug protein.

Packaging design for snack foods needs to reflect consumers’ concerns around health and make it super easy for people to evaluate what products do and don’t contain. They’re craving simple, recognisable ingredients. They’re looking for purity and authenticity. They want natural and nature.

So here are 4 things to consider when packaging healthy snacks:

1. Simplicity - Clarity of hierarchy

Cut to the chase. Simplify the message through clear, structured packaging hierarchy. Thankfully we’ve moved on from the 80’s washing powder trend of loading the front of packs with as many features and benefits as possible, all shoe-horned in to one small space. However, don’t confuse simplicity with minimalism. Simplicity captures essentialism. And that is key, particularly in this category which is crowded and often confusing.

Natasha’s Kale Crunchies by Dynamo is a delightful example of healthy, raw natural food captured beautifully, simply and personally. For me, this snack’s packaging passes the ‘at a glance test’—I can see what it is, what’s in it and what’s not. It oozes appetite appeal and I get the feeling that Natasha is fun and passionate about her product. This packaging has been cleverly carved-up in to 4 essential pieces of content: Brand, Product, Benefits and Flavour.

Natasha's Kale Crunchies

Natasha's Kale branding packaging. Packaging design for snack foods

  • BRAND: Announcing the brand in a gentle, handwritten font, supported by a playful orange-haired mascot, tells us a lot about the company. The brand is evident on the pack, but doesn’t over power.
  • PRODUCT: The product name is large and confident. The letterpress style gives it a sense of ‘handmade with care’. And the product’s wholesome, untainted ingredients are captured through crisp product photography. They look vital, fresh and good for me.
  • BENEFITS: The benefits are identified well through clear iconography.
  • FLAVOUR: The flavour is identified through bold and energetic colour. Not only does it help differentiate the range, it has great shelf-shout.

In summary, the packaging architecture is well considered and the content hierarchy spot on. There is a very linear structure to the layout which makes it easy to visually digest.

By contrast, I find this healthy option by The Funky Monkey, well, just a bit too funky. It’s a smorgasboard of fonts and I found it hard to decipher what the product actually is. This snack food packaging design also delivers 4 pieces of content, but in such a fragmented way. There is no obvious architecture or hierarchy. The elements are competing with each other, rather than complementing and informing. Alone, if we look at where the ‘benefit’ content is placed, you can see it has a less structured, more random approach. This type of hierarchy makes the pack less appealing because it’s difficult to visually digest.

Funky Monkey Brand Packaging

2. Short sentences, succinct wording

Coupled with a well considered hierarchy, it’s important to use clear, unambiguous language. We crave short sentences that get to the point. Our busy lives don’t allow for rambling poetic prose or confusing content. The Hippeas brand is a wonderful example of this with short, informative text: “Sweet and Smokin’” – oh yeah! Or the Gaea fig bar with 6 ingredients—that’s all I need to know unless I do have a moment to suck up the contents of the Nutritional Information Panel.

Hippeas packaging design for snack foods
Gaea bar packaging design for snack foods

3. Colour – More than beige

Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it needs to have all hessian hues. The snack category lures us with flavour sensations. And millennials have a large appetite for flavour adventures. They enjoy bold and spicy flavours and culturally diverse options. These qualities translate well through hearty typography and luminous colour palettes. You can be bold!

We recently completed a branding and packaging design project for an ancient superfood—lupini beans. This monstrously, moreish, unbelievably good-for-you snack not only delivers on health benefits, it has some cracking flavours like aromatic oregano and tangy turmeric. We decided to use colour to flaunt the flavours and give the packaging some real shelf- shout. But before we were even thinking about stand-out or good blocking, Mother Nature had already paved the way. The flowering lupini plant has an extraordinarily vibrant colour palette, so it became our source of inspiration.

pouch packaging design for snack foods

4. Packaging formats – Convenience on the move

The packaging format is key to its success. When it comes to snacking, we are more likely to be on the move than settled. So it is vital to offer an experience. We must understand how consumers engage with the food and the shareable aspect of snacking. Clearly a favourite amongst consumers for its convenience is the pouch format. Below are some great examples of shareable snacks using this approach.

Pouch packaging design for snack foods
Pouch packaging design for snack foods

There are multiple opportunities for companies to connect with consumers around new, flexible eating styles and equally some innovative ways of packaging them.

If you’re planning packaging design for snack foods and want to munch through your packaging potential, give me a call on 02 9519 991 or send me an email.

Vivid colour depot packaging blog

The future of colour in packaging design: Living colour

Living colour: the future of colour in packaging design

As a young kid, I remember when my first dream went from simple monochromatic to colourful kaleidoscopic. I was doing a lap of honour on the terracotta Olympic track, brilliant white lines guiding me while I waved at a sea of multi coloured people – it was epic!

Colour shapes the way we understand, interpret and experience our world. It has been ‘systemised’ with numerical values by Pantone and NCS (Natural Colour System). Colour trends are predicted by the ICA (International Colour Authority) way ahead of the retailing season. Moods are suggested by paint companies as we colour our homes with ‘wild dove’ or ‘sky bus’. And the TV giants are giving us retina frazzling brilliance with nanocrystals called quantum dots.


How can we use colour to deliver practical information?

As designers, we have long known the importance of colour when it comes to packaging design. We draw on cultural histories, mythologies, and symbolism and reference colour psychology to determine colour strategies that increase appeal. But as augmented and mixed reality influences more of our daily experience, I wonder, will we get to experience a type of artificial synesthesia through the colour of packaging? Could the Cadbury purple ever taste of chocolate? How could we harness and deliver practical information through colour?


My curiosity for this began as I watched a vase of flowers gently decay. Heads drooping and petals wilting. Time was leeching the colour, leaving but a faded residue of the former vibrancy. While a certain beauty remained, I was prompted to toss them out. This simple visual transition informed me to take action. And it got me thinking, what if packaging changed colour as the product spoils?

Dying flowers Libby Chisholm

Like the decaying flowers, it could clearly demonstrate if a product was good, passable or rancid. I’m not suggesting blistering, festering packaging. Rather, a simple change in colour from the very vibrant to more monochromatic, thereby creating living (or dying) colour.


Could the answer lie in chemistry? Or can we expect augmented and virtual reality tech magic to bring colour to life? In our future, will colour pulsate and deliver experiences that are more vivid, dimensional and dramatic? Imagine opening the fridge or a cupboard to a ‘retinal circus’…


With packaging, there are already a number of smart ideas driven by chemistry, such as thermochromics and photochromics. Many of us have experienced the pleasure as the trivia answer revealed itself on an arctic cold beer label. And more recently we’ve witnessed talking labels emerge: The Australian wine brand, 19 Crimes, launched an augmented reality app which brought to life the characters on its bottles. Considering these advancements, I have no reason to doubt that technology will see us using and experiencing living colour.

19 Crimes iPhone

Furthermore, the recent installation-based exhibition by Hella Jongerius at the Design Museum, London, looks at the endless possibilities of colour—and they are endless. She speaks of ‘colours that breathe and react with light and which are not stable’. The exhibition embraces the idea that colours are not rigid. Cleverly curated in three sections -; Morning, Noon and Evening – the exhibition gradually darkens. It gives a very personally immersive experience of colour.

Design Museum Helen Jongerius Luke Hayes

For me, Jongerius’ ‘breathing colour’ signifies the future of colour in packaging design. Colour will no longer be static on packaging. Instead, its fluidity will inform us and enlist all of our senses so that our experience of it is far more visceral than visual.

Road Sign Blog Depot Creative

Why road signage is a source of inspiration for packaging design.

Why road signage is a source of inspiration for packaging design.

With essentialism at the heart of current packaging design, it led me to think about how we packaging designers source our inspiration in amongst a tapestry of content and stimulus. I looked beyond my packaging horizon, and threw myself back to when I dreamed of being a cartographer in order to peer through the lens of other design disciplines. To look for similarities or borrowed principles in a quest to harness new insights and maybe discover the fringe of a new trend or at least the refresh of a past wisdom.

Utilitarianism—there we have it. I can’t help feeling we’re experiencing a type of re-birthing of this philosophy as brands seek to make more of us happy through storytelling and meaningful connections, through giving back and saving the planet. But if we take a closer look at utilitarian design, I believe there are some recent packaging beauties that have massaged these principles to deliver a fresh new aesthetic.

I won’t dissect the entire utilitarian design movement, but I have instead selected a discipline that for me epitomises the ideology—road sign design. More specifically, British road signs. As a Brit, how could I not find beauty in the running deer or the charm of the train station sign? In understanding the design process employed by both Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert I was able to find a clear alignment with some current packaging design expressions. (I should add that here I am only referencing surface graphics and not the packaging form.)

In the late 1950’s early 1960’s Kinneir and Calvert devised a signage system artfully composed of co-ordinated lettering, colours, shapes and symbols. They created a sleek, modern, universal, time-enduring language which was uncluttered and distinctive. The following example by the extraordinary design team at Mousegraphics beautifully captures this in their recent work for the skincare brand Asarai.

Mousegraphics Gascoigne

What I like about the Asarai brand is not only the use of the blazing yellow, not dissimilar to the retro-reflective road signs that leap out at you—bold in a category that often opts for white or subdued tones. But also, the fractured abstract type—this in turn reminded me of the wonderful artworks by Rosalie Gascoigne where she re-purposed discarded road signs into powerful assemblages. She discouraged the viewer to read meaning in to these abstract images but instead to focus on ‘the pleasure of the eye’.

Similarly, Mousegraphics work for GAEA vegan snacks uses these playful pictograms that express personality, much in the same way that Calvert depicted her pictograms—the cow on the animal and livestock sign was modeled on ‘Patience’ a cow from a friend’s farm.

Mousegraphics GAEA

In addition, their work for the espresso brand 96 is truly universal and as always, clever. The sultry colour palette and the evocative steam, fill us with the smell and taste sensation of robust coffee beans. Their witty abstract depiction of ‘96’ that doubles as espresso cups brings a smile. This is packaging that in the words of Lewis Moberly ‘first wins the eye, then the heart, then the mind’.

96 branding

But in coming back to the approach by Kinneir and Calvert, their task from an information design perspective was to devise a system which would be as easy to read and understand as possible. Kinneir started with the question ‘What do I want to know, trying to read a sign at speed’. I think as packaging designers, we should be asking ourselves the same question as consumers race around supermarkets, time poor, over-saturated and overwhelmed. And our on-line experience is not without distractions either. How can you reduce the appearance to make the maximum sense? One of the best examples of this comes from JKR with their packaging for Domino’s pizza. It is truly iconic.

Dominos Packaging

As we have become an over communicated society I believe these designs serve our bulging, supersaturated minds—less really is more. A sharp, simplified message has the ability to cut in to the mind and the potential to make a lasting impression.

I am pleased that my dream to be a cartographer never came true. Packaging design today is dynamic, complex and ever shifting and with each new project we are set new challenges and presented with ever-greater opportunities. So, let’s get on with creating the next new paradigm.

If you’d like to chat through a project you have in mind, give me a call on +61 2 9519 9991.

Vert design packaging marine waste bento box

Innovative use of marine packaging waste by Sydney designers

Innovative use of marine packaging waste by Sydney designers

While it’s almost impossible to predict, it’s believed there are 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that, 269,000 tons’ float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea. (1) Eeek!

This pollution has devastating effects for marine animals as they ingest it, get caught in it or suffocate from it.

However, it’s heartening to see that Sydney-based Industrial designer Andrew Simpson of Vert Design has teamed up with several other visionary designers to create beautiful products made from salvaged marine waste. Together with Emma Swann, a jewellery designer and founder of Recreational Studio, Ocean Collection was created.

Vert Cuff Ocean Collection

The collection is a series of magically coloured cuffs, a fusion of brass and collected plastic involving a process of low pressure injection moulding. To match the innovative and environmental pitch of this project they created paper-pulp moulded packaging to house the cuffs. Each pack is processed and pressed by hand then sewn shut with a recycled card backing. No detail has been left unconsidered. The organic cotton thread is colour-matched with the cuff inside. And even the ink used is vegetable based.

Vert Design Cuff Packaging
Vert Design Pulp Packaging

Another inspiring project saw Andrew team up with Sarah K to develop ‘marine debris bakelite’. The Supercyclers have developed this new material from 100% recycled plastic collected from Australian beaches. The waste is sorted by colour then processed using small scale industrial and hand manufacturing. The product is characterised by a marbled quality that references early bakelite in look, weight and density. The results are stunning.

Vert design packaging marine waste bento box

Thankfully it’s not just small independents that are trying to clean up our oceans. There are a number of corporations taking on this challenge too,  such as German sportswear brand Adidas. They’re teaming up with Parley to develop materials made from marine plastic waste that can be used in its products.

So, through creativity and collaboration we can bring an end to marine plastic pollution.

If you’d like to discuss ways to reduce or improve your packaging, give us a call on 02 9519 9991 or email us at info@wearedepot.com.au

Ocean plastic facts that will shock you:

Worldwide, 13,000-15,000 pieces of plastic are dumped into the ocean every day.

There are believed to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.

The number 1 man made thing that sailors see in our ocean are plastic bags.

100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found.

Each year approximately 1 million sea birds also die from eating plastic.

(1) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150109-oceans-plastic-sea-trash-science-marine-debris



Greenpeace print campaign Africa

The artful use of packaging waste

The artful use of packaging waste to create high-impact campaign for Greenpeace Africa

As consumerism extends across Africa so too does the problem of waste. To tackle this issue by means of education and awareness Namibia-based ad agency Advantage Y&R and Greenpeace Africa commissioned local artists Petrus Shiimi and Saima Iita to create these hauntingly beautiful artworks. They created African masks made from bits of rubbish, which included empty plastic containers, wires, packaging and plastic bags. The masks were held by Nambian children and photographed against a rich black background giving them indelible potency. Each image houses the caption ‘Trash shouldn’t define our culture.’

The creative director, Toufic Beyhum explains the campaign was created to link the growing crisis with the continent’s most precious people and the detrimental effect on its future generations.

Launched with an exhibition of the photographs at a Namibian gallery, the campaign has been displayed in posters, publications and presentations. Greenpeace Africa will continue to share it throughout the continent to promote the message and hopefully bring some significant change in behaviour regarding waste and recycling.

I think this is a hugely powerful campaign that stands to remind us of the extent of this crisis which not only affects Africa but the rest of the world too.

As packaging designers, we can be more proactive in changing attitudes towards waste and recycling. In our next blog, we take a look at some of the companies and designers who are creating innovative solutions for this ongoing problem.

If you would like to discuss ways to reduce or improve your packaging visit us at https://www.wearedepot.com.au/ or give us a call on 02 9519 9991.



Depot Sisidyll Silver Adesign Award

Depot wins the Silver A' Design Award 2017

We were very pleased to have scooped another award at this years A’ Design competition for our packaging redesign of the Sisidyll skin care range.
The Silver A’ Design Award is a prestigious award given only to the top 5% of designs. The ultimate aim of the A’ packaging Design Competition is to create a global awareness for good design. A huge 173-person grand jury panel which consists of internationally influential press members, established designers, leading academics and established professionals are those who select the very best in consumer product packaging.

This year’s competition saw:

85,088 Registrations
35,559 Project Submissions
27,805 Eliminated Projects
7,754 Approved Works
1,974 Award Winners

The project itself was a branding and packaging rejuvenation driven by pressure from retailers to change the outdated packaging.

We saw an opportunity to elevate the brand from basic to life-style, focusing on its high-quality core ingredient Australian blueberries. Giving it a ‘real fruit’ feel but not in an overt way. This meant creating a new structural form with a clear organic influence and employing clever colour accents for the packaging. The packaging design, bespoke hand-lettered brand mark and insignia are subtle, understated and sophisticated all hallmarks of premium products in the skin care category. Learn more about the design effectiveness by viewing the full project here.



Depot Blog Unboxing

The thrill of unboxing…

As a packaging designer, I have always considered the packaging of products as an exercise in dressing up. Akin to a person’s choice in clothing saying something about their personality, packaging can absolutely say something about the brand. Good packaging engages interest and has the potential to trigger a long and satisfying relationship with its owner.

So it’s been established that the ‘dressing’ of the product is important, but stepping into focus is now the ‘undressing’ or ‘unboxing’ of the product, especially for ecommerce businesses. In fact, the phenomenon of unboxing a product has become so popular that online communities are now sharing their unboxing moments. Consider this: in 2014 there were 1 billion YouTube views classified by the term ‘unboxing + video’.

On top of this, a survey from Dotcom Distribution revealed that 4 in 10 consumers share an image of their delivery via social media if it comes in unique packaging.

It’s no doubt that for successful packaging, ‘pleasure’ and ‘seduction’ play key roles. We know how the brain works with its pleasure reward system – we simply like doing things again and again if they give us pleasure. So for producers whose products are ‘dressed up’ in packaging, selling pleasure by ensuring the packaging is beautiful will bring customers back again and again. It’s worth remembering that it’s less expensive to bring an existing customer back for repeat purchases than it is to find new customers.

So, what does this all mean for you and your customer experiences? How do want them to engage with your brand and how do you want them to remember the experience? Perhaps creating an unforgettable ‘unboxing’ experience is the way to go? Engaging the senses to deliver memorable experiences is best practice:

  1. How does you package look when it first arrives – is it a recycled Corn Flake box with your product bubble wrapped inside or have you created a bespoke package that is suitably branded with your identity and your brand message.
  2. How does it feel? I still remember running my hands over my iphone6 Plus box. It was seductively smooth and sheer. So when it comes to the feel of your packaging, think about the print finish and the overall size. Is it relative to the product inside or is it a package with a bit of depth so the receiver can explore the content.
  3. How do you open it? Does the lid slide off with ease or do you need to brutally attack it with scissors? Once inside, is the product rolling around with the tax receipt stuck to it or is it carefully wrapped with a personalised message? One of our clients recently received phenomenal feedback after including personalised handwritten notes. Why? Because they make us feel special and considered.
  4. Was the ‘unboxing’ a positive experience? It should be, as for many customers it’s their first-ever physical touch point with your brand. If it’s positive, then it’s worth encouraging customers to share their experience with calls to action like making their own unboxing videos, social media posts and product reviews.

We feel passionately about ensuring the packaging experience is as positive and productive as it can be for your brand. If you’d like a helping hand, give us a call on +61 2 9519 9991 or email us at info@wearedepot.com.au