How to Create Sensory Packaging: A Focus on Custom Labels


In the world of product packaging, creating an exceptional and memorable unboxing experience has become a vital element of brand identity.

Sensory packaging, which engages multiple senses, goes beyond the visual and tactile to evoke emotions and create a lasting impression.

Custom labels play a significant role in achieving this goal. In this article, we’ll explore how to create sensory packaging that leaves a lasting impact on consumers.

The Power of Sensory Packaging

Sensory packaging aims to engage the senses of sight, touch, smell, sound, and even taste, to create a deeper connection between the consumer and the product.

It goes beyond the mere containment of a product; it tells a story, evokes emotions, and enhances the overall user experience.

Here’s how each sense can be engaged through sensory packaging:

1. Sight

The visual aspect of packaging is often the first impression a consumer has of a product. Eye-catching designs, colors, and graphics can instantly convey a brand’s identity and attract attention. Custom labels are a key element in creating an aesthetically pleasing package that aligns with the brand’s message and the product’s identity.

2. Touch

The tactile sensation of packaging materials can be engaging. Textured surfaces, embossing on labels, or the use of specialty finishes like soft-touch coatings can provide a unique tactile experience. Custom labels can incorporate these elements, adding depth and texture to the packaging.

3. Smell

Scented packaging can create a powerful emotional connection. Some products, like perfumes and candles, use scented packaging to enhance the overall experience. Custom labels can include scratch-and-sniff features to release a pleasant aroma when touched.

4. Sound

The auditory aspect of packaging comes into play when the consumer interacts with it. Unwrapping or opening a package can create a satisfying sound that enhances the experience. Consider custom labels that utilize innovative opening and closing mechanisms, such as zip-lock features, to create a unique sound when the package is sealed or unsealed.

5. Taste

While less common, edible packaging is a way to engage the sense of taste. Custom labels for food and beverages can include special coatings that are safe to lick or consume, creating a playful and memorable experience.

Creating Sensory Packaging

Now, let’s go into the steps for creating sensory packaging that leaves a lasting impression:

1. Understand Your Target Audience

To create effective sensory packaging, you must understand your target audience. Consider their preferences, lifestyles, and emotional triggers. What senses are most relevant to them? Tailor your sensory elements to resonate with your specific consumer base.

2. Choose Sensory Elements

Determine which senses you want to engage with your packaging. Not all senses need to be incorporated, and the choice will largely depend on the product and brand identity. For instance, a luxury perfume might focus on sight and smell, while a children’s toy might prioritize touch and sound.

3. Design Eye-Catching Custom Labels

Custom labels play a pivotal role in the visual appeal of your packaging. When designing custom labels, keep the following in mind:

  • Brand Consistency: Ensure that your custom labels are consistent with your brand’s color scheme, logo, and overall aesthetics. This helps in creating a coherent brand image.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Invest in a visually appealing design that captures the essence of your product. Custom labels should be attractive and reflect the product’s unique selling points. Use finishing options like Spot UV to create more interest.
  • Material Selection: Choose label materials that complement the sensory experience you aim to create. Matte, glossy, or specialty finishes like holographic or metallic can significantly impact the visual aspect.
  • Typography: Select legible fonts and typography that align with your brand’s identity. Consider embossing or debossing text for tactile appeal.
  • Size and Shape: Experiment with custom label sizes and shapes to stand out on the packaging. Irregular or unique label shapes can draw attention.
  • Interactive Elements: Incorporate interactive features like peel-off sections, revealing hidden content or a message underneath the label.

4. Select Packaging Materials

Choose packaging materials that enhance the sensory experience. This may include selecting textured paper or using specialty finishes like soft-touch coatings. The packaging material should align with the overall concept of your sensory packaging.

5. Include Sensory Features

  • Engage the chosen senses through various packaging features:
  • Tactile Elements: Consider using embossing, debossing, or textured coatings on the packaging to create a unique tactile experience. These features can also be incorporated into custom labels.
  • Scents: Scented packaging can be achieved through scented inks, fragranced coatings, or the inclusion of scented inserts within the packaging.
  • Sound: Explore packaging opening and closing mechanisms that produce a distinct sound when the package is interacted with. Custom labels can include instructions on how to enjoy these sound effects.
  • Taste: For edible products, you can explore edible ink or coatings for custom labels, or create packaging that can be safely tasted or licked.
  • Multi-Sensory Experience: Consider combining different sensory elements to create a holistic multi-sensory experience. For example, a custom label with embossing might provide a tactile sensation while the packaging material emits a pleasant scent.

6. Ensure Quality and Consistency

The quality of both the packaging materials and custom labels is paramount. Ensure that your packaging maintains its sensory elements throughout the product’s shelf life and that custom labels adhere securely. Consistency is key in delivering a memorable experience every time.

7. Test What You Have And Get Feedback

Before finalizing your sensory packaging, conduct testing to gather feedback from potential consumers. Make any necessary adjustments based on their responses to improve the overall experience.

Case Study: Lush Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics, known for its handcrafted and environmentally friendly products, has been a pioneer in creating sensory packaging.

Their custom labels and packaging designs prioritize sustainability and multi-sensory experiences.

  1. Tactile Packaging: Lush’s packaging often features textured labels, providing a unique tactile experience for consumers. The labels are designed to complement the natural and handmade feel of their products.
  1. Environmental Responsibility: Lush utilizes recyclable and eco-friendly packaging materials. Their commitment to sustainability aligns with the values of many environmentally conscious consumers.
  1. Product Transparency: Custom labels on Lush products provide information about ingredients and usage instructions, creating a sense of transparency and trust.
  1. Aroma and Scent: Lush products are known for their distinct scents. The packaging is designed to preserve the aroma and provide a sneak peek of the product’s fragrance.
  1. Reusability: Lush encourages customers to reuse their packaging whenever possible. Some of their custom labels include instructions on how to repurpose the packaging for various uses.

Over to You

Sensory packaging is a powerful tool that can leave a lasting impact on consumers, creating emotional connections and enhancing brand loyalty.

Custom labels are a crucial component of sensory packaging, as they contribute to the visual and tactile aspects of the experience.

By understanding your target audience, selecting the right sensory elements, and designing custom labels that align with your brand’s identity, you can create packaging that engages multiple senses and sets your products apart in a crowded market. Sensory packaging not only creates a memorable unboxing experience but also fosters a stronger bond between your brand and your customers.

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