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Creating Packaging for Multi-SKU Lines

Developing a creative, innovative, and effective packaging solution for a single product necessitates taking countless factors into account. These include the intended target audience, your overall brand message, what features of the product you want to highlight, and many more. An added challenge is presented when developing packaging for a product line containing multiple SKUs, or unique, individual products. Common examples include fragrance, skincare, haircare lines, or multiple products sold as part of a comprehensive beauty routine. In these cases, it is important to be able to easily distinguish between the different products, while still maintaining consistent branding across the product line and differentiating that product line from other products of the same brand.

Unifying Factors to Set Your Product Line Apart

Finding the balance between unifying factors and what makes each product unique can be difficult when dealing with multi-SKU product lines. In general, you want somebody walking by who glances at the shelf to be able to tell that the separate products are all part of the same line, and the following elements can be used to create a unified appearance:

  • Color. As with any type of branding, colors are a powerful tool to establish fast recognition of a line of products as part of a larger brand. Multi-SKU product lines are no exception – using the same color scheme for each product, which changing other elements of the packaging design, will make it easy to identify the brand as a cohesive line, while still being able to distinguish between the unique products.

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  • Structural Design. Shape is another powerful element in creating a sense of continuity, as well as a method of making your product stand out. Creating a uniquely shaped secondary packaging system or incorporating other structural elements like windowing or laser cutting will both set your brand apart from the competition and create a consistent thread between multiple products.
  • Texture, Fonts, Etc. Most brands use a specific font as part of their signature packaging design – while the text may change, the common font creates a sense of continuity. Similar textures and post-press effects can have the same result.

Distinguishing Between Individual Products

The challenge of multi-SKU product lines lies in creating continuity across the line, while at the same time ensuring that the individual products don’t run together. It is important to identify both the elements of your packaging design that will remain consistent across the line, and which will be altered to distinguish the individual products. For products using similar textures, post-press effects, and lettering, consider varying the color scheme to denote different products. Where color will remain consistent, it may be effective to include different graphic elements or vary the structural design of the packaging.

The approach you decide to take will depend in part on the type of product line – products from the same line that are available in different flavors, scents, or colors, often use color variation in packaging. Different types of products in a single product line may have a consistent color but vary in structural design. For example, a beauty regimen that includes a face wash, a moisturizer, and an exfoliating mask with subtle structural differences to help the consumer identify an individual product.

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