We’ve all had the experience where we walk into a grocery store for that “one thing,” and end up walking out with five additional items we weren’t originally planning on buying.
At least one of those extra items was something that attracted us – we liked it and spontaneously decided that we needed it in that moment.
On the other hand, even though the one thing we came for likely had dozens of competitors sitting on the shelf next to it, we already knew which brand we would choose before we walked in the door.
Why? Because people are attracted by amazing designs that speak directly to consumers – us! No one is immune to the psychological and emotional pull of attractive branding and design.
In the cosmetic and skincare industries, labels and packaging need to attract attention at first glance. The visual presentation of your brand has to stand out and be memorable, simple, and easy to notice. When your company’s product is on the shelf and doesn’t grab people’s attention and speak to what they are looking for, your potential customers will not be interested – their eyes will glaze right past your products.
Even if your product is the best on the market, has the best ingredients, and can help your potential customers solve their problems, none of that matters unless shoppers notice your product in the first place.
In this article, Aventive Studio shares what you need to consider in order to attract your ideal customers and sell your cosmetic, beauty, and skincare products. We have curated the most important tips and steps gained from developing brand strategies and visual designs for skincare clients, as well as companies that are in the beauty and cosmetic industries.
- Ideal Client
- Brand Positioning
- Brand Attributes
- Mood Board
- Packaging Dimensions
- Visuals: Logo Design, Colors, and Fonts
- Putting It All Together
Before jumping into visuals, cosmetic companies need to create a plan on how to attract their ideal clients through visual design. No matter whether you’re selling your company’s sparkly plumping lip gloss online or a luxury face mask on the shelf in Sephora, it’s important to get clear on what visual elements will capture the fleeting attention of your target customers and interest them enough to make a purchase. Not everyone will be interested in your product, but you need to make sure that the people who are interested are the exact people who notice your product.
1. Ideal Client
When defining your ideal client, consider what your product is about, who has a need for it, and what type of problem it solves. Based on that information, you can then dive deep into who will buy your product. Think about the types of customers who will spot your business’s products, connect with the branding, and immediately think “I really, really need this!”
To start, identify if your target is male or female. Focusing on one doesn’t mean you are excluding the other, it just means you are narrowing down on which customer avatar is most important when designing the label. Sure, your product can be used by anyone, but it’s more effective to picture your ideal client as a single person like Rachel or Nick than as a generic category like “people in their 30s.”
Then consider how old your ideal clients are, what they do for work, where they live, how much money they make, etc. Those categories are called demographics.
What’s even more important is the psychographic of an ideal client for your skincare line. Psychographics explain why your customers behave the way they do and include elements like their hobbies, interests, beliefs, lifestyle, and desires. When you know your ideal client’s psychographic, you can analyze what prompts them to make purchasing decisions. You can find more details on demographics and psychographics in this blog post.
If you sell an anti-aging face lotion, you need to figure out the main problem your customers have, how badly they want to improve their skin, how important this issue is to them, how they feel about the problem right now (pain points), and how they want to feel after your lotion solves their problem.
The key is to focus on emotions and results, while still mentioning problems and desires, so your ideal customers can feel connected with the product. Based on what your target market values and cares about the most, you will learn what type of clients they are and what visuals (logo design, colors, labels, packaging, etc.) they prefer. We will discuss visuals later in this article.
2. Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is the process of setting your company apart from the competition. In the skincare and cosmetic industries, your business will compete with plenty other brands that offer similar products — how will you make sure yours stand out?
Competitor research is an important tool when positioning your brand. Choose up to 4-5 competitors who sell similar products to your company, and take some time to comb through their website, social media platforms, messaging, colors, labels, and packaging.
Observe what they do well, what they do poorly, how they communicate with their audience, and most importantly: any gaps where your company could do better. Figure out how to stand out and provide an amazing, high-quality product people will love and a reason people would buy from your brand over theirs. For more detailed tips on how to set your brand apart, read our full article on brand positioning here.
Many cosmetic and skincare businesses struggle with brand positioning when they first start out which results in product labels that confuse their ideal customers or look too DIY. I share the story of helping one of my skincare clients rebrand her business, redesign her product packaging, and increase her sales in my book BrandFix: A Brand Strategy Guide for Busy Entrepreneurs.
3. Brand Attributes
Brand attributes are the personality traits of your business. Think of your brand attributes as the words that customers associate with your company, and these brand attributes are important because they will determine if your product packaging needs to look luxurious, affordable, feminine, simple, natural, edgy… the options are truly endless!
To determine your brand attributes, and specifically the ones you want to express on your product labels, first think about your ideal clients. What do they prefer? Do they want to buy a high-quality face lotion, or one that is cheaper but includes a ton of lotion in the bottle? Do they care about their skincare products being affordable, or they are looking for something really nice and expensive?
You can make your customers think whatever you want about your product — you just need to figure out what perception will make your product sell.
MAC Cosmetics is a famous beauty brand that is beloved by makeup artists, celebrities, and loyal customers. The MAC Cosmetics Instagram page emphasizes brand attributes like glamorous, artistic, and provocative:
Burt’s Bees is another company that sells cosmetics as well as skincare products. Their products are affordable, natural, and found in many drugstores, and their brand employs a drastically different visual strategy on Instagram:
Both of these companies have stunning and memorable branding, but it’s clear they are speaking to different audiences based on their respective brand attributes and brand positioning.
4. Mood Board
Creating a mood board can be a fun way to get your creative juices flowing when conceptualizing your visual brand. Think of a mood board as an inspiration for your brand’s visuals, and when creating a mood board for your cosmetic and skincare packaging, ask yourself how you want to make people feel about your brand.
Do you want customers to perceive your beauty products as natural and made with safe ingredients? Do you want them to see your eye cream as a Botox alternative? Do you want them to feel confident and shimmering when they wear your line of glitter eye shadows to a New Year’s Eve party?
To create a mood board, search online for images that reflect the emotions you want your customers to feel. If your target customers want to feel relaxed, natural, and safe, your mood board might be similar to something that a spa would have, so you can search for images of spas. Collect these images and ideas into a folder, and that folder is now your mood board which you can share with your brand strategist and professional designer.
A professional designer or branding agency can look at your mood board and identify the overall concepts and visual themes that best connect with your target. They will then expand those concepts, paired with your brand strategy, into the logo design, website, brand colors, typography, business cards, and other design pieces for your business.
5. Packaging Dimensions
When creating packaging for cosmetic and skincare brands, it’s important to consider the precise shapes, sizes, and dimensions of the boxes and labels your company needs.
There are many bottle and box suppliers that your business can choose from. Based on what options you find, you will need to decide whether you would rather spend more money and invest in an amazing face lotion bottle that looks better and more attractive to your clients, or if you would rather save money, opt for a lower quality bottle, and maybe make less sales but keep your margins high. Neither option is right or wrong—it’s simply a matter of evaluating your numbers and brand attributes to make the best decision for your business.
Each of your cosmetic and skincare products will probably have a different package shape, and with each package shape comes a unique label size. You can maintain coordinated designs across your product lines, but your designer will need to make the necessary size adjustments.
6. Visuals: Logo Design, Colors, and Fonts
The logo design for your company will be created based on the brand attributes you selected above. The logo design process will take place before designing labels and packaging to ensure that your logo attracts your target and stands out (while being industry-appropriate). If your business needs a memorable and timeless logo that attracts your target customers and looks fantastic on your product packaging, contact Aventive Studio.
The brand colors for your marketing materials as well as product packaging will be based on your ideal client and brand attributes. Did you decide that your brand is luxury or affordable? Do you want your products to look whimsical or serious to potential buyers? Each of these decisions has implications for the colors, fonts, and imagery that will capture their attention.
The colors on your packaging should reflect the overall brand colors of your company; however, there is room for creativity and thinking beyond your usual brand colors when designing labels and packaging for your distinct product lines.
For example, the natural hair and skincare brand Aveda has a line of stress relief products that contain lavender. Purple is not one of Aveda’s brand colors, but because light purple is associated with lavender as well as emotions like soothing and relaxation, it made sense to design these particular product labels using a soft purple shade:
Fonts and typography are another important element of branding and packaging design. Depending on the emotions you want potential customers to experience, your brand can utilize bold fonts (strong), italic fonts (elegant), capital letters (aggressive), cursive fonts (feminine), and so on.
7. Putting It All Together
Once you have the above brand strategy components in place, your graphic designer can put all the information together and design your branded product labels, boxes, and packaging. In addition to the eye-catching imagery and visual design elements, you will need to curate the necessary text and information that will be displayed on the product labels.
The front of the product label will include a variation of your company’s logo, a description of what the product is, and information about how much of the product (weight / volume) is in the container. Because the front of the label is what customers see first, the colors, fonts, and imagery used are extremely important. Be sure to work with a designer who has experience designing product labels that attract positive attention.
The back of the product label will feature more text and detailed information. Some components to include on the back label are:
- What is your product?
- What should your product be used for?
- How much (weight / volume) is in the container?
- What happens if your product is used improperly?
When your brand strategy and graphic designs work together to make your skincare and cosmetic products stand out, potential customers will start to recognize your products and become curious about your brand. New customers will give your products a try based on your labels, just like when you make those spontaneous purchasing decisions in the grocery store and walk out with five extra products 😊
And over time, you will be able to scale your business due to the brand loyalty and trust associated with high-quality labels and a rock-solid brand strategy.
Do you need a one-of-a-kind packaging design for your cosmetic products? Aventive Studio can help you create a brand strategy and design to help you attract new customers and make more sales. Reach out using this contact form to schedule a call with our creative team.