Have you ever noticed how much color and splash, how many effects and different typographies some packaging has? In general, this happens with products that appeal to the masses or have a lower price point. And when someone suggests doing something simpler, more direct and sophisticated, they say that there won’t be a dialog with the target market, or that the consumer won’t understand.
But who says so? Actually, that’s what studies with consumers say, but deep down, the problem is actually only in our heads…
Our brain is programmed to create patterns, and not to shut down when it sees too much information. It’s always looking for familiar things, and it groups everything into categories in order to make processing easier.
We have cultural codes, which are the sum of everything we have learned and gathered over the years as members of society, and we make this our basis for comparison for everything we experience.
So, when we’re looking for, let’s say, something cheap, our database tells us that products with thousands of different fonts, color grades and splashes tend to be cheaper. In an age when everyone is looking for efficiency and economy, and rethinking consumption, cheap is good – and that seems great. The dangerous side of this is that we get used to these esthetics and we end up propagating these codes.
Household cleaning products is a good example of this. How much information is needed on a package in order to describe the product’s characteristics, and explain how it works?
The good news is that we can change (and help others to change as well!) by learning new patterns. Even though our brain creates shortcuts in order not to become overloaded, it also has the capacity to create new connections and to continue to learn, even when we get older. This capacity applies to everyone – people from Class A or C, from North to South.
If we change a package from this same household cleaning market, we might be changing a pattern, a repetition of behaviors, creating new codes that people will learn and absorb. When the consumer learns this new code, this event becomes a new pattern.
This is a simple change, which could change the category’s codes, and even lay down new rules for use and consumption in a society.
To read the original story published by ABRE (the Brazilian Packaging Association), click here.