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Similar to promotional displays and banners, the packaging is also used as a form of marketing and promotion. However, unlike the promotional displays and banners which require additional manufacturing costs, the packaging does not affect product cost. Research has illustrated that packaging functionality and aesthetics attributes affect the consumers’ behavior and perception of a product’s value (Vladic et al. 2015).
Therefore, considering the expected constant increase in the complexity of competition and consumer behavior, it is essential for businesses to make sufficient changes in product packaging design to maintain positive growth. The need for proper packaging has been reflected across all industries, including the wristwatch case manufacturing industry. This paper aims to investigate and compare two alternative packaging shapes for wristwatches – dodecahedron and icosahedron- that the ABC Packaging is to design for Cool Watches.
Background of Packaging
The watch supplier does not manufacture product packaging, as this function is usually subcontracted to specialized packaging suppliers. Over the years, branding has significantly influenced the sale of wristwatches, thus strengthening the revenue of this sector (Future Market Insights 2020). This has been mainly driven by the impulse purchase of watches due to the presence of sophisticated and styled packaging cases and boxes used.
Traditionally, wristwatch packages were often made from wooden and metal material, however, over time, they have been overtaken by plastic and paper material. Furthermore, technological advancement and product innovation in machinery have boosted the general production cost at minimal cost (Future Market Insights 2020). Similar to case material, the wristwatch package shape has also undergone some changes and modification.
The shapes have evolved from the traditional square and round to triangle, diamond and other geometrical shapes. The availability of a variety of packaging shapes has enable consumers to differentiate manufacturers. Wristwatch manufacturers are concentrating on product development and innovation, as watch manufacturers show a higher preference for elegant box designs (Future Market Insights 2020). This is because wrist watch manufactures usually use retail stores as a platform for displaying watch boxes and cases to further improve the demand of their watches.
Possible Alternative Design Ideas
To remain competitive in the market, Cool Watches decide to create a new wristwatch packaging design that is different from the traditional box and case design. The two different packaging for wristwatches in question include a regular dodecahedron and an icosahedron-shaped package.
Dodecahedron wrist watch packaging shape
- Structure – A dodecahedron comprises of twelve regular pentagonal faces, with three joining at each vertex.
- Aesthetics – The dodecahedron is regarded as a complex shape that is capable of inducing sophistication and high prices in the eyes of the consumers. According to Vladic et al. (2015), consumers often do not remember the actual costs of products, and instead, they express price in a manner that is meaningful to them, which is through the packaging shape.
- Suitability for packaging – When packed for shipping, the shape would result in a lot of space wasted; thus, this would require the use of additional fillers. Moreover, according to Apples’ watch sizing guide, the largest wrist circumference is 215mm, hence, its diameter is 34.21mm (Apple 2020). Assuming that the radius of the circle is equal to e, the edge;
Icosahedron wrist watch packaging shape
- Structure – It is a polyhedron with 20 faces.
- Aesthetics – The icosahedron has a complex geometrical shape; therefore, it has a high capability of attracting consumer attention.
- Suitability for packaging – This complex geometric shape leads to the wastage of space during shipping, and as a result, this shape of packing would require the use of additional fillers. Furthermore, considering the assumption as in the dodecahedron above;
Compared to modern package shapes, the traditional packaging shapes are limited in terms of their ability to attract customer attention. In Garaus and Halkias (2019), it is illustrated that even though brands try to be consistent with the “market standard”, a closer examination of the marketplace suggests that this is not the case. Brands occasionally select odd packaging shapes to attract attention and differentiate themselves from competitors. Therefore, by shifting from the common wristwatch packaging shapes to more complex geometric shapes, such as the dodecahedron and icosahedron, Cool Watches would succeed in deviating the consumers’ attention from the expected and attract more attention, thereby leading to positive responses.
On the other hand, since the dodecahedron and icosahedron shapes are considered as irregular geometric shapes, a lot of space is wasted when packing them in shipping boxes. Therefore, additional packing material is required to cushion them from damage during transportation. However, using additional packing material a will add the cost-per-unit shipped, including manual labour. Therefore, ABC Packaging has to take into account and create a package design suitable for multiple item shipping. For instance, to allow for the use of corrugated inserts.
Based on the type of material, the wristwatch packaging market is categorized into paperboard, wood, fabric, metal (steel and aluminium), and plastic (high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene and polypropylene). Currently, the use of plastic and paperboard as wristwatch packaging materials dominates the market (Future Market Insights 2020). Plastic and paperboard have their strengths and limitations based on the package suitability, costs and eco-friendliness. For instance, plastic is stronger and cheaper than paperboard. Moreover, they are both eco-friendly. Therefore, to develop the most suitable package, ABC Packaging should consider manufacturing a plastic box covered with paper. This model will be eco-friendly and at the same time, resistant to water and transport damage.
Evaluating Design Solutions
From the Future Market Insights (2020), the wristwatch packaging market has been observed to shift from the conventional shapes to more complex geometric shapes that are regarded as stylish and sophisticated. Therefore, this suggests that since the icosahedron is more complicated than the dodecahedron, it can be considered to have better aesthetic features. This was further supported by the popularity of the icosahedron shape among my classmates.
Furthermore, according to Bota et al. (2018), large panels as in the dodecahedron, have weak points of angular prisms, therefore, they have a decreased resistance to compression and stacking. Compared to the icosahedron, which has 20 panels, hence smaller panels, the dodecahedron shape is a poor packaging shape choice. As a result, in terms of being stacked during transportation, the icosahedron shape is the best design solution as it is more resistant to compressional damage. Finally, the dodecahedron has a greater total surface area than the icosahedron. This implies that the total material cost consumed when manufacturing a dodecahedron-shaped wrist watch package will be higher.
The right packaging shape not only attracts consumers but also keeps the product safe during transportation. Cool Watch’s new wristwatch packaging design is unique as it has the potential of manipulating the consumers’ perceived level of product sophistication. Moreover, with regards to several central packaging elements, such as production cost, transportation, and package size, the icosahedron supersedes the dodecahedron. Therefore, it should be selected as the new wristwatch packaging shape for Cool Watches.
Apple 2020, Watch sizing guide. Web.
Bota, J, Hanzer, S, Banic, D & Brozovic, M 2018, ‘Compression resistance of small paperboard packaging shapes’, in The 9th International symposium on graphic engineering and design conference proceedings, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, pp. 237-242.
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Future Market Insights 2020, ‘Wrist watch packaging market: global industry analysis 2012 – 2016 and opportunity assessment; 2017 – 2027’. Web.
Garaus, M & Halkias, G 2019, ‘One color fits all: product category color norms and (a) typical package colors’, Review of Managerial Science, vol. 5, no. 3, pp.1-23.
Vladic, G, Kecman, M, Kašiković, N, Pál, M, & Stančić, M, 2015, ‘Influence of the shape on the consumers perception of packaging attitudes’, Journal of Graphic Engineering and Design, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 27-32.