10.16.2018 /

A guide on incorporating sight, smell, touch, and taste into packaging design

As humans, we perceive our world through five senses. How our senses inform our buying decisions has been studied for decades by packaging design and marketing specialists. Creating multi-sensory experiences through packaging is critical to the success of any business.

Let’s take a look at how packaging design can utilize the five senses to differentiate your brand.


A visually striking package is critical to standing out from the competition. According to research, consumers will see the shape, color, and text of your packaging in that order. In addition your packaging must contrast visually from that of your competitors’.

For example, take your standard cereal aisle in a grocery chain. Let’s say that most of the cereal boxes are exploding with varieties of color and shapes on the boxes and contain copious amounts of text. The first approach in which to differentiate your packaging is to do the exact opposite of what your competitors are doing and take a minimalistic approach.

DPI Packaging Tip: Contrasting style is a first approach to standing out.


Always be in control of your consumers’ package unboxing experience. Smell being one aspect of that experience, is often overlooked yet completely in your control. You can edit the type of olfactory experience the consumer experiences by designing your package with the appropriate materials, processes, and structures based on their ability to maintain freshness.

Scent can also be designed into packaging through scented inks, ribbons, and other processes. Incorporating a ‘branded’ scent in your packaging can connect your in-store experience to the home unboxing of an ecommerce purchase.

DPI Packaging Tip: Packaging designed with a thoughtful olfactory experience can create memorable signature moments and truly stand out from the crowd.


The consumer’s tactile interaction with your packaging design is a crucial element to consider. Not only should your package feel unique it should also operate in a functional and interesting ways in accordance with your brand.

In order to differentiate your packaging, you should incorporate points of interaction for the consumer. Items like pop-up constructions, pull tabs, or plush suedes can increase the interactivity of your packaging and make your unboxing worth sharing.

DPI Packaging Tip: Incorporating points of interaction for the consumer can make your package design stand out.


Consider the auditory experience present in the unboxing process. Every sound provides you an opportunity to differentiate your brand. Refine each sound to create a brand appropriate unboxing experiences through material selection and manufacturing processes.

Thinner materials will provide a higher pitch than heavier weight materials. Compare the sound cellophane makes to a heavy weight paper shopping bag; the heavier the weight the deeper the tone.

DPI Packaging Tip: The right sounds designed into packaging can support the perceived quality of your brand.


Packaging design has the ability to influence perceived taste of your product in food packaging. The previous points about sound, touch, smell, and sight all impact the perceived taste of your product. In order to enhance your product’s flavor and differentiate your brand, you need to consider how your package sounds, feels, smells, and looks.

DPI Packaging Tip: Color in packaging design can impact both scent and tastes. Red packaging is generally perceived to be spicier, and green packaging to carry a more woodsy scent and flavor.

Design the complete experience by optimizing your packaging design for the human senses and differentiate your product on a more sensual level.

If you are looking for a packaging design that will entice the senses, let’s talk. With over 30 years of best in packaging, Design Packaging is ready to design, manufacture, and deliver a custom unboxing experience for your brand.

Click HERE to schedule a free consultation about your businesses’ packaging design needs.



Design Packaging has grown over the last 30 years to an international packaging design corporation delivering award winning custom retail packaging to clients around the world. We’d like to thank our loyal teams and partners among luxury retailers in the fashion, beauty, and resort industries that have allowed us to maintain our position on the leading edge of retail and product packaging.

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