The primary display panel, also known as the principal display panel or PDP, is the area on the packaging design reserved for the brand identity and all of the primary communication elements. Whatever the overall structure of the packaging design, this area is considered the front. Its size and shape is important, since the PDP holds great responsibility for communicating the brand's marketing strategy. In a competitive retail environment, the front of the packaging design needs to capture attention.
Understanding the relative importance of the communication elements helps in apportioning their distribution on the packaging design. The primary elements consist of essential information required by the marketer or the regulatory authority or determined by an assessment of the marketers' most important communication objectives. Secondary elements comprise all supplementary aspects, such as product descriptors or “romance copy” (engaging phrases that serve to create an emotional connection).
The size, position, and relationship of the elements are guided by basic design principles, together with a hierarchical system that considers the overall marketing and visual communication strategy. The hierarchy of information is successful when the design facilitates reading what is most important first, then what is next in importance, and so on (fig. 3.1).
Primary and secondary elements on a PDP may include the brand identity, product name or descriptor, product variety, ...