Taking risks with your packaging and stepping outside of category norms are scary brand moves. Playing it safe with design and messaging may feel comfortable, but what brand has ever created an impassioned, excited following with a middle-of-the-road strategy? Think about this:

In 2012, popcorn brand Boomchickapop defied food category convention—and buyers’ top request of wanting to see the product—by launching in a colorful opaque bag without a single bit of imagery. The design choice, encouraged by creative agency mono, was a risk, but the brand is now a category leader.

The same year, BluePrint, maker of the cult cleanse and juice products, introduced its juices to market in clear bottles with extremely stark art. Since it was going up against brands like Naked and Odwalla—whose packages feature moderate-coverage labels and considerable fruit imagery—this was a bold decision. But the much blogged-about brand with its heavily Instagrammed packaging clearly made the right choice by following design ally Doubleday & Cartwright’s advice.

“These are two companies that changed the design world, and more importantly, changed the market by being brave and bold with design,” says Fred Hart, creative director at the food product packaging design and branding agency Interact.

moral support

Hundreds of brands are hearing similar advice and seeing the success stories, yet not nearly as many are putting truly differentiated packaging into the marketplace. We know it’s really uncomfortable to make that first step toward different: You may feel you are too soon to the world or that customers won’t get your choices. But remember that you aren’t in this alone—with a great team of designers and manufacturers supporting you, your brand is all set to push boundaries strategically. Sticking with your brand purpose and making the choices meaningful while you jump further than you think you safely can will help you avoid feeling reckless. Build a habit of trusting those you’ve hired to have your brand’s back with the solutions they present. Once you have tasted the thrill of being brave—and seen the brand benefits—you will never create mediocre packaging again.

design gallery open

If you have already been creating bold brand packaging, enter it in our Design Gallery awards, where we honor packaging that effectively tells a brand’s story through design and structure to connect with the consumer. The call for submissions goes on now through August 31 at submissions.brandpackaging.com.

pts 2016

And if you want to propel your brand way past others, register for October’s Packaging That Sells conference now at packagingthatsells.com. Veteran and current experts from Coca-Cola, Campbell’s, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and more will be presenting!