Culture and Values

As a part of the material ephemera of society, packaging design reveals and reflects the cultural values of the market. Since packaging designs exist primarily in marketplaces (the supermarket, merchandiser, specialty store, department store, or e-tail) where people with varied cultural backgrounds and values come together, it must function as the aesthetic means of communicating to a diverse consumer population. In many ways, the successful designer employs aspects of anthropology, sociology, psychology, ethnography, and linguistics throughout the design process in order to develop strategic design solutions. It is through extensive market research and the planned employment of the complicated mix of design elements that packaging designs communicate the appropriate cultural values for attracting the target consumer. Successful packaging designs create a window through which consumers see themselves and their desires (fig. 2.3).


Fig. 2.3Newman's Own Thin & Crispy pepperoni pizza.Tagline: “In crust we trust!”

The impact of cultural values and beliefs on the consumer's purchasing decisions should not be overestimated. Fads and trends; fashion and art; the consumer's age, upward mobility, and ethnicity—all are reflected in packaging designs. In many cases the packaging design's specific goal is to project certain cultural values; in others, the design communicates ...

Get Packaging Design: Successful Product Branding From Concept to Shelf, 2nd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.