Depending on your virtual product, there may come a time you need to create some packaging.
Creating Virtual Products
Although you don’t see it a lot in the Woo product space, aside from the product logo, there are times, especially for landing and sales pages, where it can make your product pop a bit more.
The Challenge of Readability
When you have a virtual product and will never go live in the physical space, you have some flexibility. First readability.
A lot of times people want to say too much on a package. They want to put the entire message, brand message on a package. In the virtual space, you can’t afford to do that. Your visual hierarchy might need to be a lot larger. Throw in the mix of tablets, cell phones, and fewer people using the desktop, it may be hard to blow the image up really large.
Anything that needs to be told about that product should be visible very quickly. That means that the messaging size, or the name of the product, or the benefits of the product should be very readable in a very quick way.
Less Costly with Mistakes
Obviously, with virtual products you can go back and correct mistakes a lot easier. You don’t have full production runs where you’ve got something printed, and if you got it printed offshore and you’ve got to pay for shipping. Then you had the assembly of putting the product into the packaging, and then you deliver it to the retail outlet. Then you find out, “Oh no, there’s a major typo here.” You don’t have to worry about protecting the contents when you’re dealing with virtual.
Being able to revise anything in a virtual world can happen very quickly. In terms of finding out whether your consumer likes the package or not like the look of the package, you can change that fairly quickly. You can put out multiple packages there, with very little cost, in the virtual world. There are some definite cost savings that you can take a look at, and you have a bit more flexibility toward experimenting.
Even if you wanted to do focus groups, and find out which one resonates with consumers, you can do that in the virtual space a lot easier than in the physical space.
Deviating Design with Virtual vs. Physical Products
Most design doesn’t deviate. And if they do, it’s important to keep the messaging simple, keep the hierarchy very simple and very readable. Realize that your package, whether it’s physical or virtual, is only one part of your branding message. Don’t try to tell your entire story in the packaging.
Looking at the Apple packaging historically. It’s very clean, very simple. Typically, what you might see is an image of what you’re going to get in the content, in the package, and maybe the name of what the package holds. Then versus that, you go to a competitor’s brand, and they have everything listed on the package. The experience, is a clean, simplistic design in Apple products and their packaging, and on their website, the messaging is consistent, it reinforces their brand experience, so the package doesn’t clutter and deliver a different experience than the product does.
When looking at your brand holistically, understanding that your package is only one part of your brand message. You want it to look like what you have, and that would be the same in the virtual space. Apple is a very good example of this.
UI vs. UX
In the virtual space, on the web, it’s UI versus UX. In the packaging world, it’s the same thing. Books have a user experience component. How you flip the page, how the page feels in your hand, the packaging has some similar aspects. It’s just a matter of, what is that experience? How do people experience this? Whether it’s virtual, whether it’s physical, is it consistent with our brand message?
Think of anytime you have bought one brand over another brand because of the cool packaging. It can happen.