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A pack is worth a thousand words

Updated: May 21, 2019

The ‘silent salesman’ for every brand: from store shelf, to dinner table, to the hands of consumers, packaging is more than a vessel - it’s a storyteller.

Rowena Curlewis, Co-founder and CEO of Denomination. She is a regular contributor to drinks and design press, and has lectured and chaired panels in design, innovation and drinks packaging.

Whether you know it or not, every piece of packaging you buy tells a story, but unlike your favorite novel, a piece of packaging can tell a story in a number of different ways, with the copy being just one. To understand and appreciate the nuances of storytelling in packaging, it helps to know the mechanisms used to convey the story. First and foremost (and so often overlooked) there is the pack format itself: is it masculine, or feminine? Intricate or simple? Traditional or contemporary? Is it sustainable? Before a graphic designer has picked up their Wacom pen, the story has already begun.

Once the format has been defined, every other decision is made in relation to that format, because you can’t tell a coherent and cohesive story if everything is shouting at the same volume. Label shape, stock choice, level of intricacy, typography style, illustration style, color palette, print embellishments, closure design; these are all the elements a designer is working with, to build depth and...

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