A quick guide to some of the packaging fundamentals
When it comes to creating the perfect packaging for your product, there are many fine lines you must walk. The packaging should be attractive, whilst complying with many regulations regarding content. It should reinforce a company brand, whilst making sure to include various different pieces of information. And there are so many layers to consider! Warehouse packaging, distribution packaging and the consumer packaging must all meet different briefs.
Here we take a look at the five essential criteria that must be visible on your packaging.
- The Truth!
It sounds fairly obvious, but any descriptions of goods on packaging must be accurate. Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, traders can be prosecuted if they exaggerate or misrepresent the product the packaging contains. In both text and illustrations, you must be truthful and accurate about:
- The quantity or size of the product
- The composition of the project
- The method of manufacture
- The place and date of manufacture
- Endorsements by people or organisations
- The product’s fitness for stated purpose
2. Safety Instructions
If the product you are selling is potential dangerous, it’s crucial for manufacturers to provide the appropriate safety information, with instructions where necessary. This is relevant at all levels of the supply chain – safety information can be vital when the product is being transported by air, road or rail, and the outer labels can carry important information to ensure the goods are handled safely. Certain products will also require some very specific safety guidelines – including children’s toys and electrical goods.
It’s hardly the most glamorous element of packaging design, but it’s one of the most essential parts. Put simply: if you’re going to sell a product, you need to have a barcode.
The best resource for finding out about barcodes is GS1 UK. Their barcodes and unique GS1 numbers are used by almost all of the UK’s leading retailers, including Amazon, eBay, Boots, Waitrose and Debenhams – so you’re in good company.
Barcodes aren’t there to look pretty – they’re on packaging to serve an important purpose, so the most crucial thing to remember when positioning your barcode is making it clear, concise and easily scannable.
Under The Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations 2006, you must ensure that ‘on average’ each package contains the declared weight or volume of goods. As mentioned above, the weight of your product must be highly accurate on your packaging. In many industries, you’re legally required to label any package with the weight – and you must use metric weights and measures (with a few exceptions of course – milk is still sold in pints, as is beer). You can choose to add imperial measures, but they can’t be more prominent than the metric measures. If you’re selling to a business, the requirements on weight labelling are less clear – so it’s worth examining guidance for your specific industry for more information.
5. Manufacturer / Importer
All packaging must have the name and address of the manufacturer, packager or importer, clearly listed. This is in case consumers have a claim regarding the product, or wish to seek additional information about the product itself. This is your moment in the limelight – make sure your details can be seen!