Packaging: You Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover…

…but the cover is what makes you want to open the book.  Which is why packaging, or more generally, the way a product is presented visually, is so important.  When I’m walking through the grocery store, or any store really, and there are so many different things to choose from, it can be a little bit overwhelming at times.  Granted, I have some items that I always get–I have developed some brand loyalty, you could say–but if I’m looking for something that I don’t usually buy, or that I was not satisfied with the last time I bought it, then I am going to have to make a choice between several different brands.  There are lots of things that go into this decision: price, is a big one, of course, but let’s say the prices were all about the same.  Guess what would probably determine which one I ended up buying?  The packaging.  The way it looks gets me excited enough to want to buy it.

This seems like a no-brainer, but it really never ceases to amaze me.  And the interesting thing is, it doesn’t just apply to physical products in stores.  It also carries over onto internet products and services, such as websites.  If you do a search on Google, and you get many different results, you will most likely click on the top one.  But if you don’t like the way it looks, let’s say because it is too busy-looking and therefore confusing to use, then you’re going to go back to Google and find another website that might provide you with a similar service but looks better to you.

When I started thinking about this, I tried to narrow it down to exactly what kind of look is the one I tend to gravitate towards when making a decision about something to purchase or use.  I realized that I usually go for simple but beautiful things.  There is something so calming and refreshing about a jar that has a plain white label on it with almost no text at all, that just says what it is, like “Raspberry Jam” for example.I would buy that compared with one that has a big pattern of raspberries all over it and lots of text.  Wouldn’t you?  No frills or distractions from what the product actually is, which says to me that the product itself must be really great.

The same is true with websites.  A website that has too much going on is not one that you are going to want to visit again.  But one that is simple, to the point, but still beautiful is one that you will remember and revisit in the future when the need arises.  It does what you need it to do. And it doesn’t make you jump through lots of hoops or sort through too much visual stimuli to get you where you need to go.  It sends lots of positive messages to the visitor (or potential customer) if a website communicates clearly exactly what a business does and offers.  No need to distract or dance around it.

Look at the FreshySites website, for example.  It is very obvious from our website exactly what we do, how to get in touch with us if you are interested, and even how much it would cost to use our services.  Simple, to the point, and yet still beautiful to look at.  It answers the questions that people might have about our business in a clear and concise way.  For some more examples of websites that fit this description, check out our Website Showcase.

There is so much going on around us all the time, so much noise, that these simple and beautiful things really get our attention.  It almost seems counterintuitive to use a less is more approach at times, because companies want to make sure the message of how great a product is gets through to the potential buyer.  But in my experience, simple works.