Imagemme on Neuropackaging

Gabriel and I had the fortunate experience of being invited to speak at the Dieline Forum out in LA last Friday.  As neuromarketing is one of my big passions, we decided to put together a presentation on neuropackaging and how we leverage neurological insights to better target consumers.  One of the biggest parts of targeting the subconscious brain is by employing the 5 senses.  Here is a glimpse into targeting consumers multisensorially through your packaging.


As much as we think we are in control of our decision making process and purchasing behavior, much of it actually takes place in the subconscious.


The old brain, also known as the reptilian brain, is largely responsible for the decision making process.  But since it’s been developing for 450 million years, long before language, it is very influenced by design and symbols.  Thus, targeting the senses is a huge part of communicating to the decision making subconscious part of the brain.


When designing packaging we have to keep these 9 scientifically proven variables in check to attract the most attention possible.


Some of these elements are self-explanatory such as color, intensity, etc.  But lets take a closer look at the less obvious ones.  The brain compartmentalizes and classifies experiences based on patterns.  The goal for design is to tap into those records to provide stimuli with known or familiar imagery and leverage the reaction in our favor.

  1. Attraction – We are emotional and social beings and we are naturally attracted to familiar objects such as a friendly face or a happy dog. Pictures of human beings and objects we can connect with to increase empathy resonate with the subconscious.
  2. Text- The old brain cannot understand words but they still effect the design. It has been proven that the complexity of the font used can actually alter the perception of how complicated your product or service is.
  3. Intersection – Our eyes constantly search for patterns.  When anything breaks those patterns it becomes the center of attention.
  4. Density – Our eyes scan packages to search for blocks of information.  These can be images, text or textures.  In order to help the brain understand good packaging, designers order information into logical groups. Additionally, research shows that focus is maximized when there are 3 groups of information and no more than 5.  So keep that in mind.


Sound is strongly tied to our experience of a product and in turn, the perceived efficacy and satiation. Our ears can perceive around 300,000 different sounds that number decreases with age. The brain builds association with these sounds that can be invaluable to packaging.


So how do we make tasty packaging? We don’t need to; the brain takes care of that for us. When the brain processes images of melted rich chocolate or a gourmet sounding flavor, the descriptive text instantly triggers the memories of what it is like to consume that particular food. Yet 80% of taste is smell, When we experience taste, we are more often than not, experiencing smell.


Scent is one of our strongest ties to memory and therefore integral in the brand experience.  Studies have shown that people can recall a scent with 65 percent accuracy after one year; visual memory sinks to just 50 percent after a few months. Brands use scent in 3 ways, to actually smell the product (in the case of fragrance or candles), to develop an identity around a scent like Axe, or to trigger the idea of smell.


Studies have shown that the tactile qualities of packaging are key factors in cuing to the brain the quality and value of the product inside, weight being the major factor.  Rough textures have been linked to rejection as smooth ones have been linked to appeal. So choose wisely!

For more information on Neuropackaging design and how we can help you, call 212.738.9229 or email us at

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