As a packaging copywriter, I’ve always compared copywriting for packaging to copywriting for outdoor. You have to make a big impact without a lot of time or space. That said, billboards and buses are typically more temporary than what goes on the shelves of your local Apple store (like the iHealth packaging I wrote below).
The issue every packaging copywriter faces is that you’re asked not only to write a compelling tagline for the box, you’re also asked to summarize what the product is and does in, at most, a few bullet points. The challenge here, most often, is getting clients to agree to prioritize messages. It’s hard for them. I get it. They’ve been working on these products for a long time and each one offers a lot of important stuff.
Nevertheless, you can’t make a big, bold statement about any product without distilling the messaging. So that’s the first place we go. Messaging priority. After that, it’s copywriting chops. Boil it down in order to amp it up.
Again, not a lot of space on a box. And while you’ve got multiple panels to play with, many times for tech gear, those end up filled with product specs, requirements and legal. You, the packaging copywriter, are left with what amounts to a hearty paragraph’s worth of text.
What’s more, every word counts because of layout. Word choices matter. Because good packaging copywriters know that a few extra characters can mean the difference between nice-looking line breaks and an unsexy bunch of words that the eye doesn’t want to read.
Finally, you’re going to be way better off if you hire a professional packaging copywriter to write your package copy. You’re too close to your own product to be able to create the copy yourself and do it justice. Like every form of copywriting, creating package copywriting is an art all its own. It’s also a very visual thing, so you’re best when you hire a collaborative creative team that includes both a copywriter and an art director or graphic designer too.
If you’ve got a packaging project and need a professional copywriter who can also bring you great designers, contact me.