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  • Writer's pictureRichard Moniz

Testing 'radical' and disliked package designs

The word 'radical', often carries a very different meaning depending on the company, the brand, and the culture. The best practice, I have found, is to test the limits of comfort. Determining a winning package design is a great accomplishment and the ultimate goal of many research projects. Everyone strives for a package design that is universally liked, stands out extremely well on the shelf, makes a connection with the intended buyer, and ultimately increases sales.



While determining a clear winning design is the goal, without being able to look at the failing designs, there are likely key learnings being overlooked. Interesting learnings can stem from more radical design departures even when they are failures. Packages that experiment with unique shapes, colors, images, and messaging may outperform the 'winning' design on certain metrics or action standards. Utilizing eye-tracking can reveal how and why certain design elements may drive success better than others.


Digging into the reasons why it outperformed and still failed can often identify further potential design innovations. A failing package might stand out better on a shelf or a website for some specific and repeatable reason. It might also go completely unnoticed and understanding why can help avoid poor future design decisions. It might even be noticed and picked up often but not purchased, and this kind of failure often reveals very specific learnings about the way a package communicates.


Always take a look at the failure in a project, failure is often overlooked even though it can be a source for great lessons and truths. As my toddler has recently learned, making mistakes is a good thing because that's how we learn and advance.

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