Keep Your Packaging Focused with Inspiration Boards

Posted on Aug 2, 2017 by

As a brand manager, you may recognize this scenario: you have a shortened package development timeline. You know your brand’s target audience but your design team is having trouble aligning consumer insights into a desirable design solution. This type of situation may call for a quick team timeout – and a return to a basic tool to get the team back on track: inspiration boards. It’s sometimes easy to skip or overlook this tool in today’s speed-to-market environment. The funny thing is inspiration boards do not require a lot of time to execute and can actually save time in the long run.

A Creative Tool

Just as package designers use words, type, color, images, graphics, and shape as tools to characterize your brand on the shelf, inspiration boards can be a tool to bridge the research and insights in a creative brief into visual interpretations. An inspiration board is a graphic representation of the target consumer psychographics. Creating an inspiration board is an exercise in defining what stimulus prompts responses by the consumer. In short, the person buying the package inspires the package design. It’s a great way for you and your team to understand the personality of your target consumer.

How it Works

First, create a list of categories that will help visualize a better understanding of what your target audience is attracted to. Depending on the situation, the list can be reduced or expanded. Here are some examples:

  1. Your core competition
  2. Household hard goods, electronics, toys
  3. Consumer packaged goods
  4. Transportation
  5. Daily influences (products or media)
  6. Clothing, color, textures, patterns
  7. Living space
  8. Leisure activities
  9. Trends followed by your audience
  10. Celebrities admired by your audience

Select an area for the design team to get together. The “board” can be a wall or surface that will hold visual images and references that reflect what they perceive accurately represents the target audience. As you progress, you will begin to see repetition and patterns develop. Don’t ignore these. These provide visual insights for the team to key into during the design process. Organize and prioritize the visuals as needed to align with your packaging objectives. Make sure you document the results to keep as a future reference. When the package design team presents its ideas, it should begin by referring back to the inspiration boards to rationalize its solutions.

As a brand manager, you are required to see both the big picture and the minute details that contribute to a successful package. And while it may seem overwhelming at times, remember there are tools like inspiration boards that can not only help you and your team along the way but also help ensure your product wins on the shelf.

To learn more about how to use inspiration boards in the packaging or branding process, please contact us at