All of us who are fortunate enough to design and market action figures know that the appeal of the characters and their story lines evokes the interest of more than one generation of fans. Therefore, when developing action figure packaging, it’s important to appeal to kids and collectors alike. Emphasizing the brand while leveraging the visual assets that fans associate with it will create an exciting experience at retail and make it easy to identify the characters and their unique attributes.
There are a few rules to follow to ensure a quick, immediate read among the clutter of the action figure aisle:
- The action figure should be highly visible.
- Verbal communication on the front panel should be limited to just the character name and key “action feature”.
- The package structure should be as dynamic as possible while referring back to the brand.
The key, however, to communicating to both kids and collectors is to avoid making the package design too juvenile. Kids will always gravitate to their favorite action figures, purchasing them regardless of whether the visual appeal considers their age. But, adult collectors may be turned off if the packaging appears too young in its appeal. Staying visually true to the property with color palette, fonts, textures, graphic elements and rendering style will ensure that the package design resonates with both target audiences.
Since collectors put more emphasis on the value of action figure packaging, it’s important to elevate its design. Most collectors keep their action figures in the retail packaging to retain their value. They know that they can command a higher price if the packaging is in great condition, should they choose to sell them. Collectors also enjoy displaying their action figures, so the packaging should be designed with this display behavior in mind. Adding dimension and detail to the package structure and incorporating cleverly designed inserts, unique substrates and special inks will also enhance appeal when budget allows.
Over the past 29 years, our design team has cultivated our expertise in the development of action figure packaging programs for our toy and entertainment clients. Some of our favorites are among them, but we also admire quite a few designs that were developed by our clients’ internal teams as well as those created by other design agencies. Tell us about your favorite action figure packaging, whether it’s in the marketplace now, or if it’s a classic design from the past. What gets you excited about action figure packaging? In your opinion, what works? What doesn’t?