Packaging design ranks second only to advertising in defining clients’ strategic aims, according to a survey of client companies across Europe. It stands above PR, sales promotion and direct mail in the marketing package.
The survey, carried out by the London-based European Design Register for the Packaging Design Association, involved some 70 companies, including mainly fmcg, pharmaceuticals and industrial clients.
It found that the growing importance placed on packaging means design decisions are being taken higher up in a company, notably by the marketing director.
There is also a shift towards centrally allocated design budgets for packs, and almost two-thirds of the survey sample recognised the need for design management.
Clients are seeking closer relationships with their design consultancies, the main reason why 42 per cent of respondents say they operate a roster of designers.
And the vast majority are looking for visual creativity (74 per cent) and strategic thinking (64 per cent) in their consultancies. Costs were cited as important by 32 per cent, while international capability by only 18 per cent .
Past experience counts most when selecting design consultancies for 82 per cent of respondents, with word-of-mouth also being a preferred method for 80 per cent.
The survey is the first of a series of studies to be carried out by the PDA – an association of European packaging designers. According to Rune Gustafson of EDR, plans are being formulated to build on the existing client sample and add to it by including client delegates to the association’s biannual conferences in future trawls.