If packaging design is part of a bigger picture—the brand—then what defines a brand? In its most basic form, a brand is the trade name given to a product or service. Brand has, however, become an all-encompassing term for everything that identifies a seller's good or services. Although it has been used for decades, its overuse and varied interpretations across professions causes much confusion.
In packaging design, a brand is a name, a design, or symbol of ownership, along with the identification of products, services, people, and places. Consumer product brands are defined by their presence in our consumer society, by their products' physical attributes and emotional connections, and by how they relate to consumers' aspirations. This includes everything from product names, packaging design, advertising design, signage, uniforms, vehicles, stationery and printed materials, Web and social media presence, and even architecture. The brand becomes the means by which a company differentiates itself in the minds of consumers. Through the combination of three-dimensional materials and structure with two-dimensional visual communication elements, packaging design creates the image of the brand and builds the relationship between the consumer and the product. The packaging design visually articulates the brand's promise, whether it be quality, value, performance, safety, or convenience (fig. 2.5).