Size, Contrast, Color, Shape, Position, and Whitespace
Using the basic principals of visual hierarchy you can direct shopper’s attention and communicate your brand message more effectively. By varying the weight and importance of visual elements you can create a center of interest, establish an orderly aesthetic, and develop a viewing pattern across your label that communicates the most important information first.
Reducing clutter and visual noise and focusing on your brand message is an important step towards catching and keeping shoppers attention. Whitespace doesn't imply the area has to be white, merely devoid of clutter to add prominence to design elements. The oversimplified images below should give you a grasp of the basic principals.
The example below may seem obvious, but a simple visual priority to design elements is something many brand owners and designers routinely neglect:
Even conventional left-to-right and top-to-bottom reading can be disrupted by designing your own visual hierarchy:
In the absence of hierarchy, nothing has priority. Without visual cues, you’re asking the consumer to work to determine which information is most important:
Visual Hierarchy: The Basics
Your label design should purposefully draw a shopper’s eye to each element of your brand message, in the order you prefer the information to be viewed. This is known as the viewing pattern.
Ideally, the viewing pattern would form an infinite loop, so that even when your product is viewed from the side or back the packaging would have a deliberate hierarchy – again, one that tells your brand story, and differentiates your product in order to make more sales.
Using our simple example from above, you can see the established visual hierarchy and the infinite loop it creates.
Big elements, bright colors, and bold lines will draw viewers eyes to specific areas of your label. The stronger the contrast, the higher up the hierarchy those elements will be pushed.
Visual Hierarchy: Guiding Principals
Try to engage and invite shoppers to look at your labels, include an emotional appeal, and communicate your unique personality. At the same time answer these questions for them: What is this? How do I use it? Why should I care?
Tell a story with your label. If it is a good story, it will have a beginning and an end – and of course, a point.
Without deliberate design, your labels can’t compete with brands that have established themselves with these principals.
Using the principals covered in this article, see if you can identify the good visual hierarchy principals being used in the label design from Skip Rock Distillers and David Cole Creative, and the in-house design of the Tony's Coffees & Teas Espresso Nior label.