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Consumer Research

The Power of Printing – How to Make Your Product Stand Out

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The Power of Printing: How to Make Your Products Stand Out with The Hive Design Service multi color logo

Store shelves are the fields of fierce competition for brands. With two-thirds of products never getting noticed on the shelf, attracting attention is difficult, even when customers are actively shopping instead of just walking by.1 But play any brand identification game, and you know there are many products engrained in our memories and quickly recognized, maybe even just by the shape of the package. How can you get this easily recognized appeal? 

In reality, there are multiple factors at play to garner this coveted attention. One way is to create a one-of-a-kind package. That works, but it’s also very costly. A more cost-effective way to get attention is to differentiate your package through printing technology

Quote - Printing can differentiate your product's packaging from competitors, add customer appeal, and prompt customers to handle your product.

Visual Appeal 

There’s a story conveyed through your packaging, and words aren’t the only elements needed to tell a good story. Images, short phrases, and printing can all work together to communicate that story. But back up. Before you start choosing images and coatings, spend some time thinking about what your brand’s overall message or story actually is. Match the visuals to the message. When you know the overall story, you can choose the images, more snappy wording, and printing to create a consistent message and stand out to your audience. 

  • What’s your brand’s overall message or story? 
  • Who is the target audience for the product in question? 
  • How do you both communicate your brand’s story and visually attract your target audience? This can be through words, images, and/or the look and feel of packaging.

To choose what looks visually appealing, think through the intersection of your brand’s story and your target audience’s desires. Then, you can more easily get creative and decisive about the right type of ink and coating options. 

Rigid Paper Can demonstrating different label printing types, including full high definition color, white print over natural texture, metallic inks, and spot gloss over matte

For example, say your brand produces healthy snacks made from organic ingredients, and your target audience cares about nutrition and sustainable packaging. The natural texture (pictured above) is an option for you. Images and colors pop, but the natural texture conveys the healthy-living feel that matters to your brand and your target audience. 

Perhaps your brand produces chocolates intended for gifts and special occasions. Your consumer is not only looking for a tasty product but a tasteful package to fit the occasion. The spot gloss (pictured above) is a good option. Images and colors appear smooth and shiny, creating an elegant and sophisticated feel that matters to your brand and your target audience. 

Don’t settle for just visually appealing print effects. Choose visually appealing print effects that will communicate your brand’s story and connect with your target audience. 

Texture Appeal 

Attracting consumer attention is not limited to color palettes. Sometimes packaging that incentivizes touch will have an added appeal to the consumer eye. Varying the material attributes of packaging can prompt the consumer to handle the product2, a win for your product on competitive store shelves. Once a product is held, there could be an increased likelihood of purchase. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, “Touch can also create symbolic connections between people and products, and between buyers and sellers. Physically holding products can create a sense of psychological ownership, driving must-have purchase decisions.” 3

So, what are some options for creating this sensory appeal? 

Embossing and raised inks show an elevated logo, pattern or image. The elevated portion helps to draw attention to your product and often gives it a classy look and feel. 

Thermochromatic inks change color as the temperature changes. This provides an element of customer engagement. The warmth from the customer physically touching the packaging could change the colors of designs. 

Inks and coatings can be used to create the rough look and feel of paper on flexible packaging. Seeing packaging that looks like paper in the midst of packaging that is clearly plastic could create a stand-out texture appeal. 

Get Creative but not Overpowering 

There are numerous options for making your packaging stand out and capture the consumer eye. Printing is a key component of the engagement process, especially on store shelves. Get creative and brainstorm. Reimagine what is traditionally possible for the look and feel of your packaging. To get more inspiration, check out Sonoco’s Specialty Inks and Coatings page. 

For the visionary, it’s easy to feel the excitement of all the possibilities. Yes, get excited! But, heed a word of caution. Simplicity is also a tool for communicating through your packaging.4 Choose the best printing options for your brand and feel the freedom to say “no” to the ones that would overcrowd your brand’s story and overwhelm your target audience.  

As the Dieline warns: 

Quote - If the consumers can't discern your message in a split second, then your chance to 'wow' them is gone. From the Dieline, superscript reference 5

Still confused about which printing option will attract consumer attention? The Hive℠ Design Services is equipped to gather research and provide the creative and technological guidance to help you make informed decisions. 

We have the in-house print capabilities needed to create flexible pouches and membranes, rigid paper canister labels, folding cartons and injection in-mold labels that will make your brand ideas stand out. Once mockups are created, we can test the various concepts developed with our consumer panel on our retail aisle to validate the “pop” of your package. If you want to get even more specific in your research, we also have the ability to perform eye tracking research. 

Ready to Help!

At The Hive℠ Design Services we are ready to help by designing custom research programs to uncover your customers’ brand connection, preferences, pain points and usage behavior, while revealing themes that you can use to build your strategy for enhancing consumer engagement and brand loyalty. Our certified moderators, research and packaging specialists will build the qualitative and quantitative studies you need to test your concepts at scale, from insights to prototyping.

For more information on how we can help you convert insights to opportunities, email us at or visit our page


1 Bellm, D., Packaging Digest. “Shoppers Ignore Two Thirds of Packages on Shelves. (Ouch!).” 2015.

2 Pramudya, R. and Seo, H. “Hand-feel Touch Cues and Their Influences on Consumer Perception and Behavior with Respect to Food Products: A Review.” Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas. 2019.

3 Williams, L. and Ackerman, J. “Please Touch the Merchandise.” 2011.

4 Freeman, E. “20 Simple Yet Stunning Packages that Epitomize ‘Less, But Better’.” 2017.

5 Johnson, T. “Shelf Awareness: 3 Killer Ways to Make Your Product Stand Out.” 2017.