Packaging for kid-focused products is playful but can be a serious business, according to one designer.
Goodwin Design Group has nearly two decades of experience working on food/beverage products and packaging for a broad range of clients, including General Mills, Campbell’s, Hain-Celestial and others. In this first of a two-part series, founder Bill Goodwin explains the big purchasing power that little consumers hold, and the balanced approach required in designing products and packaging for kid consumers.
Since its foundation 17 years ago, Pennsylvania-based Goodwin Design Group has focused exclusively on consumer packaged goods geared toward the youngest of consumers. At the outset, they tinkered with clients in the toy industry, but the firm has since broadened its scope to include kids’ food/beverage products, personal care items and others.
Bill Goodwin and his team have helped numerous brand owners big and small launch new products, freshen up existing brands and support clients with wide-ranging marketing services. Their work includes point-of-purchase, print and digital campaigns; and websites, games and apps on the digital side.
Goodwin told FoodProductionDaily.com that his firm always works with an eye on its motto, “Make better things. Make things better.”
“A pursuit of a higher purpose in everything we do is essential to our success,” he said. “We believe that the brands that will matter most in the future will stand for products that are good for people and the planet.”
While the work is often playful, Goodwin said designing for kids is as serious as designing for any other segment of the population.
“We apply our expertise and insights from a total focus on the relationships between brands and families they serve,” he said. “Our insights come from our process of investigation, discovery, visualization, and articulation of communications for brands that feed, inspire, educate, and entertain, responsibly.”
Goodwin services clients of all sizes, from small startups to large global brands. Its recent success stories include extending Campbell’s soup offerings with products designed to catch the eyes of small fry, including cans bearing the friendly faces of Spongebob Squarepants, Disney princesses and other beloved characters.
Recently, Goodwin partnered with Ian’s Natural Foods to enhance its line with dozens of kid-friendly products, from frozen meals to sides, snacks and bars. The design outfit handled the packaging, POP campaigns and a new site.
Appreciating the differences
Key to executing successful food products and packaging for kids, Goodwin told FPD, is appreciating the ways in which wee consumers are different than their grown-up counterparts.
“Packaging design for kids is much different than other consumer demographics,” he said. “Communication is unique and must evolve by age and stage; it must take into consideration basic communication skills and capabilities, as well as dexterity in-use.”
Maintaining the balance between these needs, Goodwin said, can be challenging.
“Packaging must do all of this while communicating effectively, and meeting the needs of moms and other caregivers as well, and in proper balance,” he said. “This reality is unique by category, product and even brand.”
Small consumers, big influence
Kids hold more purchasing power than their physical size might indicate, Goodwin told FPD. Children influence up to 80% of household buying decisions, making them almost as powerful, in terms of consumer oomph, as their parents.
“The solution to communicating to both kids and moms (and/or those who care for kids) is determining and maintaining the right messages in the proper balance,” he said. “We call this bimodal messaging.”
What’s more, attracting the attention of kids goes much deeper than just colorful labels and cartoon characters.
“Communication, perception and understanding (as well as form, function and usability) are critical to the success of brand packaging for kids and families,” he said. “Effective packaging must meet the unique functional and emotional/expressive desires of both kids and those who care for them.”
Tomorrow: Goodwin explains key factors of successful kid's product packaging, examples of excellent design and ways kid-geared food/beverage packaging has evolved over the years.