Throughout the beginning of the 21st century, it became increasingly clear that the internet would provide a whole new lifestyle in a short amount of time. From paying your bills online to chatting with your friends without the use of a telephone, it is apparent that this new era has begun. Not so surprisingly, packaging design was also affected by this change in society’s way of life. Today, there is “clutter” amongst online shelves when shopping for clothes, furniture, or virtually anything on the Internet. In this article, however, I will talk about packaging design for applications and downloadable files that are sold to the public.

When you go onto the iTunes store, you can buy videos, songs, podcasts, movies, and applications for apple devices. Although some of these items are free, there are hundreds of downloads available for purchase. In a society that begs for simplicity in every aspect of their daily routines, the era of the “app” began. Apple cleverly stated that no matter the problem, “there’s an app for that,” and there is. There are thousands and thousands of applications for games, recipes, locators, measurement converters and so much more. But how do marketers allow their version of each idea to stand out amongst the virtual clutter in the App Store?

According to Luke Wroblewski on Digital Web Magazine, there are four aspects to consider when designing an App package.

1. Meaningful Shouting

Essentially, this aspect applies to the design of the “front page,” or the first page the user sees when considering the product. Because this is the page that will allow your product to break away from the clutter of its competitors, this is the area to include attention-grabbing techniques, bright or thoughtful colors, and effective fonts. There is a limit to this technique however, as Giles Calver points out

“If every product shouts, the shelf becomes a cacophony. Achieving on-shelf impact is therefore not about making as much noise as possible. If it was, packaging design would probably consist of flashes, starbursts, large bold type, and eye-catching colors. Instead, it’s about creating a meaningful product proposition and communicating it in a manner that has a powerful resonance with consumers.”

Thus, the front page should communicate the central message clearly and embody the brand while attempting to differentiate the product from its competitors. Yes, it is a challenge and this is where creativity is extremely necessary.

2. Back Of Pack

According to Wroblewski, the “back of pack is responsible for outlining the benefits, abbreviated instructions, and features of a product.” He adds that “in many web applications, this role is filled by product tours. The most common product tour is an illustrated page or set of pages that explains what can be done with an application, and shows features in action through representative screen shots.” Recently, however, many marketers have chosen to use videos that display the application in action rather than solely photographs. Personally, I prefer photographs because I don’t have the time to watch an entire video and would rather skim information at my own pace, but all consumers are different, right? Overall, this feature acts like a nutrition label on food packaging and should be crafted very carefully to help sell the consumer on your product.

3. Unpacking A Story

This part of the package includes the registration process and the “how to begin using your app” closing statements. There is not much creativity used in this part of the design, but keep in mind that the registration steps should be as quick and painless as possible, and the brand identity should be executed throughout.

4. The Right Package

This final aspect to the packaging design process asks what type of package is right for the product? Similar to the process used to create an advertising strategy, “The Right Package” requires the designer to consider the product, the product’s competitors, and the target market. Without taking all three of these questions into consideration, the package will not be effective in increasing sales.

Please note that all of the following images are from my own computer. 





Wroblewski, L. (2006, December 4). Packaging Design for Web-Based Products. In Digital Web Magazine.
     Retrieved from Digital Web Magazine website: http://www.digital-web.com/articles/
     packaging_design_for_webbased_products/
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