Great packaging is vastly underrated as an art form. Perhaps it’s taken for granted because consumers see it and use it every day. Our familiarity makes it easy to forget all the planning and all the exquisite detail that goes into creating compelling packaging that builds everyday products into powerhouse brands.

Thousands of new consumer packaged goods are introduced to the market each year. What’s amazing is that while a majority of the new packaging often has a "me too" look, inventive teams still deliver a steady stream of innovative, stand-out packages that can capture shopper’s imaginations.

That’s what BRANDPACKAGING’s annual Design Gallery is all about. From across North America, brand owners, design agencies and manufacturers have the opportunity to submit their best work for consideration by industry peers. In 2017, more than 5,000 BRANDPACKAGING readers viewed 60 submissions and cast their votes for the best designs in five categories of material types: Paperboard, flexible, rigid plastic, glass and metal. The winners were announced at this year’s Packaging That Sells Conference held in October.

As you peruse the Design Gallery entries in this issue, consider the thought processes that went into each of these packages. First of all, the packaging must effectively protect the product during shipping. Second, it must sell the product. This is achieved through graphics and structure. These factors must create both an aesthetic appeal and practical functionality. Elements such as convenience and shelf life may determine choice of structure, while imagery, colors, typography and words must tell a persuasive story in a matter of seconds. All these factors must be integrated in order for packaging to play a decisive role in building a brand. See what you think. Did the 2017 entries achieve this lofty goal?