One of the most important components of a package design system is its segmentation methodology. When well-executed, it provides consumers with the ability to quickly and efficiently navigate a product line. It serves as the roadmap to the product that best suits their needs. If executed poorly, consumers are left confused and frustrated. Proper product line segmentation on packaging leads to a positive, enjoyable brand experience at retail.
Here are 5 major product line segmentation methodologies that can be applied to a package design system:
Segmentation via color
When color is used overtly, a substantial area of the package design architecture changes color to function as the primary differentiator between product segments. This works best when there are enough product segments represented in the shelf set for consumers to clearly understand the methodology.
Another approach is to leverage color in a specific area of the package design, such as a graphic device containing segmentation communication, a variety descriptor, or a structural component like a cap or carry handle, as the primary differentiator among segments.
Segmentation via sub-branding
When a product line is segmented by sub-brand, all components within the package design system remain consistent, with only the sub-brand identity changing to differentiate between product segments. This approach is particularly evident on packaging for toy brands.
Segmentation via iconography
Iconography can be leveraged as an additional visual element to communicate the specific use or purpose of products within a line. If consistently placed within the package design system, iconography can also function as a segmentation methodology. Icons are often too abstract to stand alone, typically requiring the support of descriptive text.
Segmentation via imagery
If all else remains visually consistent within the package design system, distinct imagery can be employed to represent each product segment. Whether it’s lifestyle imagery that resonates with the appropriate target audience for that segment, or a pattern or texture within a designated area, the use of imagery can be a very effective segmentation methodology.
Segmentation via package design architecture
Modifying the package design architecture slightly can also be an impactful way to distinguish between segments within a product line. This approach is especially effective in making a visual distinction between licensed and non-licensed products under the same brand umbrella. There are usually similarities between both, but the package design architecture for licensed products may provide more real estate for property-specific communication.
The purpose of establishing an effective segmentation methodology is to make a product line easier to shop from the consumer’s point of view. For the brand, it’s about maximizing the effectiveness of its package design system in appealing to each target audience. When consumers can easily identify the best product for their needs, they’re more likely to purchase it. Once consumers become ‘visually trained’ in how the segmentation methodology functions, they’re likely to repeat those purchases.
- Weve identified five segmentation methodologies. Can you think of more that can be added to our list?
- Which consumer product brands are well-segmented, make shopping their product lines easy? Which are problematic?