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Package the Promise

Written by in Features, Inspire

The Allure of Premium Packaging

“Premium Brand” means more than high-priced goods. It suggests “high value” products, too. The kinds that appeal to loyal brand loyalists such as parents who desire the kid-friendly laptop or mobile device for their child’s entertainment and education. Premium brands appeal to the buyer’s sense of self-worth and image. What they buy is one of the ways they define themselves.

“…expose the underpinnings of how people respond to the ideas of designers, and how the best brands can open avenues for cultural dialogue and be positive presences in our daily lives.”

                                — Debbie Millman, Sterling Brands

People spend the extra money of Whole Foods because they prefer organic foods for their families not because they think it’s chic to shop there. They seek out a small vintner’s $35 bottle of wine for the perfect complement to an entrée, not because they want to impress their boss.  They don’t buy “face soap,” they buy chemical-free face cleansers that can enhance the luster of their skin. They are discerning.



Chad Michael’s PROMINEO packaging self promotion exemplifies the power of premium package design. Featured in Against the Grain:

Makers of premium products aspire to make their goods a part of a customer’s daily life. Fine products are crafted from the best materials. They may cost more, but they last longer. Their value reference is quality, not quantity or low cost. Packaging conveys a lot about their intrinsic value and shape consumer perception. Above, designer Chad Michael wanted to send clients and potential clients a unique self-promo that would demonstrate his design capabilities in a spirited way, literally. Working with a liquor distributor, he developed a limited-quantity of specially packaged white rye whiskey. Studio on Fire of MPLS executed exquisite letterpress printing on this project.

In her book, Brand Thinking (2011), Debbie Millman, president of the design division at Sterling Brands (NY) explains how the relationship between the traditional “consumer” and the brands that they LOVE has evolved. She says people seek meaningful connections with the products they use because they believe those products help give shape to their personal identity. But branding is critical to establishing those connections—and getting customers to enter the brand experience for life.


“Slowly but surely, branding has become the umbrella under which advertising, marketing, and PR all reside. In the fluid, dynamic landscape of contemporary business, every forward-thinking person must speak the language of brands.” Millman believes that the goal of any marketer is to “expose the underpinnings of how people respond to the ideas of designers, and how the best brands can open avenues for cultural dialogue and be positive presences in our daily lives.”


Eco-Friendly Innovation

Digital technology has revolutionized private and public communication. Still, the less we print, the greater impact fine print and design makes. Free of clutter, the beautiful shines brighter.

When you buy consumer products today, you find packaging that is more thoughtful and intentional. Product makers and marketers EXPECT greener, leaner, and more useful packaging. Boasting 100% Post Consumer Waste (PCW), chlorine-free recycled paper is no longer unusual. So, package designers today are looking for innovation in green packaging that ups the ante: more eco-friendly products across a broader array of packaging and retail promotional applications and needs. Companies like Neenah are rising to the challenge.