How to Write a Great Packaging Design Brief

Posted by Sarah Mclennan on 20-Aug-2018 11:53:43
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High-quality packaging is critical to the success of your brand. Having packaging that stands out is essential to getting your product noticed on the supermarket shelf and encourage customers to buy it.

Great packaging starts with a great design brief. Since all design decisions will stem from this document, it’s essential that you know what to include and get all the details right.

Unfortunately, poorly written creative briefs can have a detrimental impact on a brand and result in many adverse outcomes. For example, they can result in designs that don’t resonate with consumers, inconsistent packaging across a product range, and delays and budget blowouts due to reworking concepts over and over.

A well-written brief is definitely worth the investment in time and effort. It’ll help ensure that the final design meets your expectations, achieves the set objectives, and that its completed on schedule and on budget.

Download a FREE packaging design brief template.


Here's what you need to include in the brief for your agency:

Part 1 – The Strategic Overview

This is where you put all the relevant strategic details for your new packaging project.

How to write a great food packaging design creative brief.

Project Background

  • Provide an overview of the project.
  • Describe the current state of your packaging and the product, and why you’re looking to change things.

Your Objectives

  • What are you trying to achieve with this project?
  • Are you trying to increase sales or increase awareness?
  • Are you launching a new product or are you developing a new look to improve your packaging’s shelf appeal?

Understanding the Target audience
  • Basically, who are you trying to sell to? It helps to be as specific as possible.
  • What are the demographics and psychographics of your target audiences, such as age, income, geographic location, personality traits, interests and lifestyle?
  • What is it that motivates the target consumer to purchase this category of product? Include any customer research that you have conducted.

Brand or product positioning

  • What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)?
  • What makes your product appealing to your target audience, and why is this unique in the market?
  • What emotions should it evoke in the target audience?
  • What is the change in behaviour, attitude, or feelings that you need to achieve?

Competitor information

  • What are the competitors doing in this category?
  • What is their product positioning? Provide examples of their packaging.


Part 2 – Packaging Requirements

Next, you need to work out the packaging requirements. If this is a complete brand redesign or new product range, then you may not have some of this information yet. Make sure to work with your design agency and production partners to finalise the details in your brief.

How to write a great packaging design creative brief: Include packaging information

Examples of packaging that you like or don’t like

  • What are the elements or features of different packaging designs that appeal to you and why?
  • How about the ones you don't like?

Creative Mandatories

  • What are the critical elements of the branding that must be incorporated into the packaging design? For example, what brand colours, Pantone colours, fonts, graphics, imagery, logos, photography and specific copy do you need?
  • What are the design elements that need to be consistent across all product variations and why?
    For example, a woodgrain effect must be in each package design, as this helps to create the perception of a rustic, authentic food product.
  • What style are you looking for? Chic and minimalist or fun and zany? Feminine or masculine? Colourful, economic or conservative?

Packaging purpose

  • What is the goal of the packaging? Is it to prevent food spoiling, protect from impact, or is there another reason?

Production and Manufacturing Details

  • How much should each packaging unit cost, including the cost per unit and the amount to be produced?
  • Where will the packaging be produced?
  • What print presses and image carrier will be used?

Pack specifications

  • What is the substrate or packaging material of the new package? You and your agency should select materials that will work with the design concept and fall within the desired budget.
  • What are the size, dimensions, and shape of the packaging?

Pack Copy

  • What information does the package need to contain? Make sure you have the finalised pack copy such as ingredients, cooking instructions, legal information, etc.
Find out more about pack copy validation.


  • What needs to be delivered? Describe the file type (PDF, Adobe Illustrator) or specific form, e.g. mounted board, prototypes/ mockups, 3D digital renders
  • When do you need the work completed?

Remember the better your packaging design brief, the more organised your project will be and ultimately the better your packaging quality will be.

Follow these tips to ensure your creative briefs have everything needed to for the design agency to develop packaging designs that really sell.

Download a FREE packaging design brief template.


Free Packaging Design Brief Template for your creative agency.

Topics: packaging design, pack copy, food packaging, master concept design, design brief, packaging design brief template

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