A path to understanding what makes a design turn into ‘a good design’ cannot be the same – or even similar – for everyone. In fact, most of the time, we do not even know why we like what we like. For perspective, as soon Apple launches its product(s), we line up to know all about it and the internet offers us tons of Apple unboxing videos. That is the beginning of acknowledging the quality of Apple packaging design in a consumer’s mind.
In a discussion with expert designers, a colleague of mine raised a question:
While the Four Horsemen, a.k.a. The Big Four tech companies: Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have been seeping into our lives, how does each affect the customer in a completely different manner?
Answers were around the lines of:
- Google is the most used tool which offers us convenience in every way possible.
- Amazon is the platform where we land when we want to purchase/sell a product.
- Facebook has a community like no other social media platform.
- Whereas, Apple has been stirring loyalty and admiration within consumers for its products, employees, and everything in between. Remember the return of Steve Jobs and the exit of Darwin from the company?
Starting from a bigger picture: quality products, effective marketing strategies, and offering it all with a hint of uniqueness, the company zooms to crucial yet overlooked aspects such as every apple product packaging design.
Right on The Sweet Spot
Apple unmistakably focuses on its innovative and well-designed packaging. A newly aesthetic project capturing Apple packaging proves it all without uttering a word. The photographer, Johann Clausen, simply noticed his Airpods packaging – the inner part – flying around in the studio and couldn’t help but capture it.
At each new launch of a product, we discover and experience the efforts put by the company to ensure that the customer feels excited and surprised – yet content – with every aspect of the product: inside and outside. Thus, each Apple gadget arrives in a rich quality, an easy-to-open box that causes us to feel like we are messing up a piece of art by opening the same. The feeling associated with opening an Apple item is anything but familiar as compared to unboxing other gadgets by different companies, which is by and large what the company expects.
Also, read: Apple Designed The Thrill Out Of Unboxing
Simple Yet Eye-Catching
Instead of putting big fonts on the box using fancy adjectives or false promises, Apple hits the bull’s eye seemingly effortlessly. Aligned with the entire design of the brand, Apple’s product packaging is aesthetically clean with a life-size graphic of the product on the box. Even the guidelines to use cards are a pile of silk papers.
Here, with the ecstatic photographs of hollow encasing of AirPods and Apple Pencil, the Germany-based photographer, Johann Clausen, shows an instant of how appealing Apple packaging can be. No, not just the products, simply its packaging.
Without unboxing my second Apple product, I knew where exactly the words “Designed by Apple in California” will pop. Opening the 1st box and opening your most recent box of an Apple product will give you the same set of feelings.
As portrayed via Clausen’s series, the company gives equal attention to every element of the packaging, and so does Clausen. His individually captured photographs of AirPods Max Headphones and Airpods Pro boxes highlight how consistent Apple has been in wooing us throughout the years.
Behind The Scenes
A lot goes on before they hand over that minimalistic white box to the customers – more than we can imagine. For starters, there is a separate room for prototypes of product packaging which is accessible on a security-badge basis. Most companies work hard on the packaging design of their products, however, only a few care enough about the quality of packaging that they work it out behind a lock and key.
A book named “Inside Apple” by Adam Lashinsky reveals that for months a packaging designer simply performed one of the dullest tasks: opening boxes. Such attention to product packaging design was a concern of Steve Jobs, who wanted the customers to feel a specific connection with the company, product, and its packaging – which, at this time, can be called an extended product. Undoubtedly, such attention to detail concerning Apple product packaging has been carried forward by the employees and designers as well – creating and testing the size, shape, and angles of every box, positioning of tapes and fonts inside and outside a box. Along with all such efforts, the company has surely and successfully proven less is more.
Related: The Psychology of the Apple iPhone Box
“They are well-engineered and well-designed white cardboard objects which are negative shapes of the objects they contain,” says Clausen. What impresses me, even more, is that the company manages to be highly efficient with such exquisite packaging.
With the launch of one of the latest products, the iPhone 12 series, Apple took the packaging efficiency to a whole new level. The company used 50% less packaging material for the iPhone 12. As per the authorities of the company’s marketing department, more than 90% of the packaging material is fiber-based. For the same, Apple ensured that they gather entire wood fiber from responsible and recycled resources.
Considering the environmental and health hazards plastic can cause, the company is working towards a no-plastic approach for their product packaging. Moreover, the company has reduced operational costs as well as its distribution chain carbon footprint.
With the world offering millions of alternatives to everything and every product, our expectations as a customer has certainly gone beyond the roof. It is not easy to woo today’s conscious customers. While the need for packaging is to keep the product safe during and after the shipment, it surely does not end there. We may or may not realize how a package affects our decision-making and buying process, but the leading company, Apple, most certainly understands the role of packaging in today’s competitive market. And the company is successfully leading in this domain as well.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.