Stora Enso Consumer Board and Packaging Solutions

Redesigning the future with renewable packaging


How do you achieve a quality impression?

Last week we had a look at what made a package seem luxurious. In this article, we are taking a closer look into another one of the four basic values that often appear in design and development briefings – quality.

So, how do you create packaging that gives the consumer a feeling of quality? The participants of our study were asked to look at packages on the shelf and evaluate them. The answers are telling us that to achieve a quality impression, the packaging needs to combine many attributes, such as:

  • High-quality material
  • Innovative and convenient shape
  • Artwork communicating easily and quickly the product and the message
  • Finishing effects must highlight the product without shouting
  • The closure is very important. You must be able to open and reclose the package easily.

Let’s take up one example. One of the packaging evaluated was a gable-top folding carton for chocolate dates, made of strong paperboard and enhanced with a high-gloss varnish all over. The artwork was dominated by a photo of the products arranged on a plate on a dark blue background. The brand logo is placed on the top like a banner and a contoured ribbon at the bottom with a handwriting font in simulated gold.

And what were the impressions of the interviewed people about the quality of the product?

On the plus side, what was thought to convey quality feeling, was the strong paperboard and its faultless converting. Also the construction, with a soft angled shape, convenient opening and re-closing option had been made specifically for this product, increasing the feel of quality: the level of care was also taken for the product itself. Another feature adding to the quality impression was the ribbon at the bottom with the handwritten quality claim and the high-quality picture with its genuine look and the full-area high-gloss varnish.

On the other side, some things were somewhat diluting the quality impression. For example, some people did not like the colour code, typographic style or other characteristics of the artwork. Although that can be considered a matter of taste, an expert can identify the level of sophistication that consumers subconsciously transfer onto their perception of product quality.

When it comes to the high-gloss varnish, although some people thought it increased the quality impression, others found it to be too shiny – an all-over high-gloss varnish is a very strong statement that is nearly always polarizing.

So, what does this all come down to? Here are our conclusions:

  • Make sure you select a paperboard with a shade of white that fits to the rest of the artwork.
  • Use a high-quality film that doesn’t get damaged by the product inside if you are using plastic as window patching or wrap-around film for products that are visible through a cut-out.
  • A package that feels solid and has no converting faults or damages directly builds the impression of product quality.
  • Matt varnish, especially combined with atmospheric product photography, is good at communicating a high quality, while an all-over high-gloss varnish is a very strong statement that is nearly always polarizing.
  • Graphic packaging design is a matter of taste but the level of care and expertise going into the artwork is at least subconsciously sensed even by average consumers due to their constant exposure to packaging design.

So, there you got some tips for creating the quality feel. Next up is the natural impression, we will keep you posted.

About the background of the study, read our previous post.