Packaging does more than simply protect your product or tell the customer what it does. Your product packaging tells a story and can connect your business or product to your customer. It helps you communicate the right message to your audience (even without words) and create an emotional connection.

For product-led brands, whether you’re an e-commerce brand or in retail, packaging is one of the main drivers of brand awareness and a very big factor in the buying decision. Whether we realise it or not, the way the packaging looks (the colours used, the layout of the images and copy), how it feels in our hand and how it sounds when you open it, all have a big impact on how the customers perceive the value of the product and the trustworthiness of the brand, before they’ve even tried it.

This article mainly focuses on e-commerce brands (as it covers both product and shipping packaging), but the strategies below can also apply to retail-based businesses that want to create a memorable experience and stand out on the shelf.

Two essential elements for memorable packaging

In order to have truly memorable packaging, it’s important to make sure your packaging (and brand) design is consistent and has a clear information hierarchy. Good design is the basis for any e-commerce brand that wants to attract the attention of its customers and create a memorable experience.

Keep your branding clear and consistent, from your branding and packaging design to your website and social media presence. If you’re unsure of how to do this and which elements to focus on first, read my article about brand touchpoints and how to ensure they all have the same look and feel.

It’s also important to establish a clear information hierarchy (what information customers will read first, then second and so on), and make it really easy for them to find the important information. It can be tempting to have your brand logo be the biggest design element on your packaging; however your customers might be looking for other information first (such as flavour, product type or problem it’s solving) when shopping, so they should be the biggest elements on the packaging.

How to create memorable packaging

There’s no one way to create packaging that is memorable and stands out to your customers; it all depends on your target audience (what they find attractive in packaging, what they want from their product packaging) and your brand’s personality.


A lot of the time, we remember brands by their colours, so using one or two colours consistently can help solidify them in the mind of your customer, as in the example below. Using colour strategically in this way makes your packaging recognisable and stands out more easily.

This strategy doesn’t work for all brands, and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to use just one colour for all your packaging. If you have a clear differentiator for your products, such as flavour or scent, you might want to use different colours to make that distinction clear to your customers (like I did with the candle packaging for Florentine).

Photo credit: @mybeautyfavs


Although as designers we want to communicate a lot without words, using branded copy can evoke certain feelings and make your customers act. People remember funny and witty writing or stories they can relate to, as they stick in their minds. It can be a great way to make a memorable statement and further emphasise your brand personality.

You can use this copy anywhere on your packaging that makes sense: on the tape or stickers that go on the outside of the shipping box, on the product packaging itself on more strategic and playful places such as the bottom of the pack.

Photo credit: Oatly


Illustrations can make your brand feel unique and add a lot of personality to the packaging, creating a specific look and feel for your brand (such as luxurious, charming, inclusive, etc). It can also help evoke strong emotions and tell an entire story when there isn’t enough space for text.

One of my favourite ways to use them is to add illustrations to the inside of the shipping box. On the outside, it looks like a normal box, but once you open it you see all the beautiful artwork, which creates an immersive experience and it immediately makes you feel like part of the brand.

Image credit: Yebo designed by SDCO Partners


Use your packaging and unboxing experience to build a story and add little surprises, where customers can uncover another element of the brand as they go through the journey. This can immerse them into the world of your brand and create a truly stand-out experience.

Think of how your customers will open their order and get to their product and use that to build the brand story along the way: as they unwrap the tissue paper they discover a little surprise, then as they open the box their product is in they find beautiful illustrations, and so on.

Designed by Brandi Steele, Jessica Wonomihardjo, Jay Jeon, Lisa Lindh


Consider how your packaging can be reused and encourage your customers to do so. For example, candle jars can become pen or brush holders after their use, or customers can return their packaging to you to be reused. You can also work with a designer to create packaging that your customers will want to keep or display in their homes even after use – because what’s more memorable than seeing that brand and packaging every day?

If you’re looking into reusable packaging for your business, my biggest advice is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to reuse or return it. You can either include a small card to educate them on how to do so or add a QR code that sends them to a dedicated page on your website where they can learn more about it.

Photo credit: Jan n June


Touch is often overlooked, but it has great potential for creating packaging that stands out. Different packaging materials and paper stocks have different textures (soft and buttery for laminated stock, or coarser and more natural for seed paper), which can create a memorable tactile experience.

If you’re unsure which paper stock will work best for your product, most printing companies offer sample packs (generally free of charge), that will showcase all the different paper stocks and finishes they have available.

Photo credit: Miller Harris


One of the most common ways to create memorable packaging is through special effects and printing techniques, such as iridescent or gold foils (which can add a touch of luxury to the packaging), or embossing and debossing.

If you want to add these to your packaging, my biggest advice is ‘more is less’. Professional packaging designers know how to balance simplicity with different printing effects to create designs that are memorable but also look professional; as well as knowing how to set up printing files correctly, so you don’t have any surprises during printing.

Photo credit: Gracious Minds

Gracious minds (above) is the perfect example of how you can combine two of the ideas in this article to create a truly unique and memorable packaging experience for your customers. They’ve used the power of cotton paper to give their packaging a tactile element and make it look very natural while adding embossing to their logo. Even though the layout is quite simple and they haven’t used any colours, the packaging feels modern and elegant.

You don’t need to do all of the things above to have packaging that’s memorable and your customers will want to come back to time after time. Choose one or two that fit within your brand’s personality and that will resonate with your audience, and do them well.

If you need help with your packaging and are not sure whether what you’re doing is working, you can book a free brand audit with me. Together, we’ll go over your branding and packaging and give you constructive feedback on how you can elevate it to create a truly memorable experience for your customers.

7 ways to create memorable packaging for your e-commerce brand

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