The Silent Salesperson

Alan Calverley

by Alan Calverley
Published: 13th July 2017

The Silent Salesperson

In a bar the other day I saw my favourite packaging design of all time and it made me smile.  Then I got to thinking about its enduring qualities and how that it is reflected in today’s world.

My Favourite Packaging Design

What is it I hear you ask?  Well, it’s Angostura® aromatic bitters; found in bars across 170 countries it is an essential ingredient in some of the world’s most famous drinks.  Originally used for medicinal purposes, it was first published in a cocktail recipe in 1831.  The liqueur has not changed since the first bottle was introduced in 1824 neither has the packaging…

Iconic Packaging

The bottle or indeed the label is so distinctive because it sticks up around the neck like a shroud of shame.  I believe that this iconic ‘mistake’ came about from a break down in communications; the label was designed and printed the wrong size, too big for the bottle but running out of time, the inventor, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert launched regardless.  The label sits proud, a collar around the famous bitters bottle.  The fact this ‘mistake’ has endured says it all, proving the power of brand identity and heritage.

Packaging Tips

But what about non-food packaging, particularly building or gardening products, both close to my heart.  Well, the same rules apply…

  • make sure the product is visible
  • engage the customer (you only have a second)
  • communicate the product’s benefits
  • and most important, sell the product!

Additional factors to consider:

  • does the packaging protect or need to protect the product?
  • will the product stack or, in the case of a lot of building products, sit easily on a hook or shelf?
  • is the packaging environmentally friendly or minimal – in accordance with many stocking policies?
  • can it be stored without causing any issues both to the product or store personnel?

Only then can you start the design process and create the best silent salesperson!


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