Narrative Packaging

Thu Aug 29 2019 /
Mackenzie Klutch

Narrative Packaging


As humans, we often search for meaning in what we encounter during our lives. We’re attracted to people and ideas that elicit a deep emotional response within us. More often than not, our response is due to a story that goes beyond the initial encounter. From birth (some would argue in utero) to final breath, humans love a good story — one that makes us feel longing, joy, or even sorrow. We want to hear something we can relate to. Stories have been told since the dawn of time — before language, before books, before movies, and long before the Internet. Cave drawings were some of our first recorded ideas and events, representing the creation of a narrative. Constellations were born as the early man looked into the vast sky on long dark nights, creating fantastic tales of heroes and villains. Stories engage us and move us. And when it comes to your packaging, you want the consumer to be captivated, right? But how?
Your package should tell a story.  


Narrative packaging refers to this very thing—packaging that tells a brand’s story. The packaging of a product is the perfect format for connecting with your audience. This is the brand touchpoint that will differentiate your product. Check out some of the thoughtful ways companies are using their packaging as a storyteller: 

Connecting Cultures: “SÍCLIC produces a knowledgeable food packaging concept that is designed to provide consumers with facts from regions in Colombia. The project essentially provides individuals with cool facts about gastronomy across the country. As a result, the design does not only delight and productively entertain the consumer, but it also liberalizes and spreads prideful facts about the local cuisine of Colombia. SÍCLIC’s knowledgeable food packaging concept attempts to facilitate growth in gastronomic tourism. It reaches non-residents directly and serves as an illustrative guide about “typical food, fusion food, informal and formal food, and […] national haute cuisine,” while providing the on-the-go individual with a convenience-focused container. Based in Bogotá, SÍCLIC’s design proves to be interactive and entertaining.”

Addressing Social Issues: “Bimbo Bakeries launched a new special-edition bread product for the purposes of bringing awareness to the need for diversity, tolerance and acceptance. The ‘Integrated Bread’ is a bread bag like many others, except that it pairs many different kinds of individually sliced breads from Bimbo’s portfolio with one another. In a single package, consumers will be able to enjoy everything from whole cereal bread to artisan bread, which also makes the special-edition product a great sampler to encourage consumers to try a wide array of the brand’s offerings. To introduce the product, Bimbo began with an in-school educational program that painted different kinds of bread as storybook characters. In the future, Bimbo Integrated Bread is set to be shared with even more children.” 

Utilizing AR: “Kelly Taylor created Blood & Moon Fortune Telling Wine as a concept with an interactive label that puts a new spin on the tradition of consulting tarot cards for a personalized reading. The design of the bottle was inspired by the 22 Major Arcana cards that can be found in a tarot deck, which are traditionally interpreted as some of the big archetypal themes that influence one’s life. Each original symbol was designed by hand and offers a fun way to point wine drinkers toward a fortune. When the wine bottle’s cork has been removed from the bottle, the idea is that a slender candle may be lit in its place, which will drip down the bottle and land on different symbols. For more insight, the Blood & Moon Fortune Telling Wine is meant to be packaged with a guide to understanding one’s reading.”


Companies are going above and beyond to draw the consumer in with a narrative from the very first glance. And oftentimes, your product only gets one shot to make an impression. 

For many, we grew up with parents who taught us to sit up straight, give a firm handshake, and be polite. Why? Because first impressions matter. So what better way to impress your customers than to capture them with a great story—your story that is told through narrative packaging. 


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