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The Three P’s of Packaging

Posted at 3:15 pm on May 30, 2022 by ActionPak Inc.

How to Make the Right Package: Do You Know the Three P’s of Packaging Design?

Most people spend endless hours in product development but forget that packaging is part of a product, not just waste that you throw in the garbage. Packaging Matters, but because it’s usually the last thing addressed, entrepreneurs look first for the cheapest solution.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve asked, “what did you budget for packaging?” There’s usually a long pause and the answer is always the same “as little as possible.” I then respond, “when you go house hunting do you create a budget & look at different neighborhoods or just go for the lowest cost of housing?” Of course not, so you have to look for something you can afford and suits your needs. Before I quote anything I need to teach you the Three P’s of Packaging .



No kid runs downstairs on Christmas morning, opens packages and expects to find broken or missing pieces. We all take for granted that everything will arrive in one piece. We expect that but there’s hell to pay if something is wrong. Just ask any Mom or Dad. We all forget that the real purpose of a package is to get the product to the consumer so it works & isn’t spoiled. Too often people get chintzy on protection to save a few pennies. The result can be many unhappy customers, returns, and chargebacks by retailers. It can literally destroy a new product launch and destroy your brand. So what do we need to know?

  1. How is the product going to be handled through the supply chain? If your sending parcels through e-commerce the package needs to be more robust. Speak to UPS & research packaging tests to comply with ISTA standards. A cheap way out is to ship your product to a friend at the opposite coast and have them send it back to you. If the parcel makes it safely through a roundtrip it’s a good sign you’ll be okay. Will your product freeze or be harmed by hot weather? If so, I’d also ship it back and forth to different temperature zones and altitudes.

  2. Will your product get affected by moisture or humidity? Have you chosen the right pouch material or container? A regular plastic poly bag only provides waterproof protection not humidity. For water vapor protection you’ll need to need select a barrier material like poly/ foil pouches, polypro wraps, or glass & plastic jars. Your product will dictate what’s best. Do your homework or call us for some free advice.

  3. Consider where your product is headed and how long it will be stored for. Is your product going to be palletized and handled by forklifts?  Will it be able to withstand the truck journey? If it’s a pallet display destined to a Big Box Store like Costco you’ll need to make sure it arrives the way you sent it otherwise it’s coming back. Too often sellers sell to discounters and don’t spend enough time thinking about what can go wrong during shipping or warehousing. What is the shelf life? Will it be safe if they double or triple stack during storage? Action-Pak has decades of experience. Ask our opinion of your design or let us help. 


If a product is protected but the markings are wrong all is lost. Even worse someone could get harmed. Imagine if a drug accidently got mislabeled? Read, proofread and read again before printing and applying any label markings to a container. Have several people look and OK the proof. One misprint and a mistake will be very costly and delay your delivery at the worst possible time.

Make sure your labels also comply with both State and Federal marking rules. You may need an expert’s help, don’t take things for granted. At Action-Pak we’ve had to re-work products that made false claims or failed to meet government compliance.

There are many ways to mark a product. Cost, quantity and application will determine what’s best. Printed pressure sensitive labels are the most efficient and cost effective for new product launches, especially if the runs are short, i.e. under 10,000. They provide great flexibility if you need to change the text, design, food facts or ingredients.

Ask us for help because you’ll need to know what printers unwind number is needed for automatic machine application. Printed pouches, bags, cartons, bottles and jars are best suited for longer runs over 10,000. They need longer lead times and require additional costs for plates and proofs. The cost will vary depending on the design and number of colors used. Also, once printed you own them as is.

Consider what market you’re selling too? Will the product be sold in bulk through industrial distributors or end up on a grocer’s retail shelf? The former needs plain black and white marks, while the later needs to stand out to build brand identity. If you’re launching a new product you may want to consider a colorful shrink sleeve. These may cost a little more but the product will “pop” and likely attract more eyeballs with greater shelf appeal. If you’re trying to build a brand identity in a niche these are great to use. Never forget, your package & label are your best salesperson.

Finally, the layout and the art go hand in hand with the contract packaging. At no additional charge will work with your graphics designer to give him/ her a layout. In the trade we call this a “lay flat” where text & art can be included and areas that should remain in the clear are free from text. Normally you supply the art and we’ll do the rest. We can provide a full turnkey experience with coaching along the way. Our experience in the trade gives us a competitive edge. If you choose to purchase & provide all the components on your own we are still happy to work with you.


A unique or exquisite packaging design is perceived to be of better quality and sold at a higher price. Why?

If you’ve ever bought an expensive bottle of perfume you’ll quickly notice how much effort went into the container. The package is part of the product & brand appeal. Advertising experts spend endless hours and get paid very well to do this. Makers & brand owners know the value and are willing to spend additional dollars to achieve a higher perceived value at retail. If the product is sold as part of a line and used to influence a lifestyle selection then it’s worth spending extra dollars.

On the other side of the fence are 50 lb. bags of fertilizer sold to farmers to protect their crops. Here we are looking at low cost at utility.

The commercial and industrial markets could care less about “pretty.”  They are looking for low cost solutions and designs that help them process their work faster.

One example are pre measured ingredients that are customized for specific blends and mixing. This package can pay for itself and then some by saving time.

The Three P’s are critical to performance. Remember them when you start a new project or product design.

Even better e mail us at [email protected] or call us for assistance.  There’s a lot more to learn.