Toy packaging: Having fun outside the box

What?s the best way to create a truly eye-catching piece of toy or board game packaging? Go Ballistic Creative MD Roger Laishley shares his thoughts.
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Games marketeers need to have more fun.

Whether they are launching a new product or are custodians of a traditional treasure, they should remember it is the promise of fun that attracts the consumer – inside and outside the box.

For over 25 years we have designed toy and games packaging, from new kids on the block, such as Ticino and its new GoSum game, to well established favourites Carte Blanche and its Tatty Teddy Interactive Bears, or for the globally iconic Cluedo, Scrabble, Operation and Monopoly.

When developing a new brand or reinvigorating an old one, you have to be brave. There should be scope for pack design to be edgy, challenging and even dangerous, because it isn’t any use creating a brilliant toy or game if your intended audience is insufficiently engaged to pick up the box and make the purchase. You have to dare to be different.

For example, we have worked with Hasbro’s design team for many years, refreshing and revitalising its Monopoly brand. We boldly created an all-white pack for Monopoly Revolution to enhance its shelf standout. For the City edition, we enhanced the Monopoly logo by creating a 3D skyscraper version, and for Monopoly Millionaire we rendered the logo as if it were

diamond encrusted. Each time we maintained the integrity of the Monopoly brand, whilst evolving and preserving its relevance for old and new purchasers. That’s no mean feat, considering Monopoly has growing sales of over 275 million in 111 countries and 43 languages.

For your product to communicate effectively, its design must solicit an emotional response from the consumer in seconds. Among toys and games in a crowded aisle, it must attract attention from a distance of perhaps five to seven metres, therefore it must be distinctive against the visual assault of brightly-coloured packages all clamouring for attention.

Once the consumer has been tempted into picking it up, an entire gamut of practical decision-making quickly follows: is the quality good enough, do I understand the gameplay, does it feel good value, and above all, will it be fun? All this must build from the front to the back, like a well crafted story, until the purchase is complete.

You must determine what differentiates your product from the rest, be clear about what you are trying to say and to whom, then trust your designer.

It is the designer’s job to be ahead of trends, to understand the aspirational tastes of parents and children, together with how they are influenced by TV, film and fashion branding, to create fun products that people want to buy.

About/contact the author

Roger Laishley, MD of Go Ballistic Creative, can help you devise your product’s packaging. Contact or call 01844 218808.

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