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Packaging like at information carrying media.

Abstract: In this paper elements of visual information and their importance in the process of transfer to users are described. From the economics and designers stand point, product must be valorized as well as the medium by which the information is transferred. The use of colours, text information and other graphic solutions are in this work. The evaluation of visual information on product packaging is the main factor of motiva-tion for buying certain packaged product. First of all, that rule applies to the selection of colour as the presenter of packaged product. Second, that also applies to the visual information (example: pictures, graphics, symbols, codes etc).

Key words: visual information, product packaging, design, evaluation

1. Introduction

This paper describes the elements of visual information and their importance in the process of transfer to users. From the economic and designing point of view, the product, as well as the medium by which the information is transferred, must be valorized. The use of colours, text information and other graphic solutions for that purpose are studied in this work. Whether the customer will buy a certain packaged product or not, depends mostly on the customers' evaluation of visual information on its packaging. It applies primarily to the selection of colours that represent a packed product. Secondly, that also applies to the visual information (example: pictures, graphics, symbols, codes ect). The basic visual effects in the form of information which can be used in manipulating the user are text, image and colour. The topic of our research is the medium which transfers that information, i.e. packaging. Packaging needs to meet two basic aspects of design; it has to fulfill technical and physical demands (protection of the product, its transport and distribution) and printing demands in the sense of decorating the surface, informing the consumers and motivating the byuers to make the purchase. Before we start developing possible packaging design, it is necessary to take into consideration the product itself. A typical supermarket or selfservice can offer more that ten different variants of a product (such as sweets or cosmetic creams) produced by different manufacturers.

The challenge which a designer needs to meet is how to make the customer notice the aspect of his product, which is the eleventh product on the shelf, and if the customer notices it, how to convince him to buy this very product instead of any of the other ten. The only remaining medium which can influence the customer is the packaging itself. It is thought that, depending on the product type and the source of information on the packaging, 68-80% of decisions on purchasing depend on the decision made by the customer in the shop while looking at the product, i.e. at the graphically equipped packaging on the shelf. Typical consumers most frequently walk through the store and buy what they like. A particular product attracts their attention for only a few seconds.

During such a short period of time the medium (packaging) must send the message to motivate customers to purchase it. In those few seconds, a complicated graphic design cannot send the message "BUY ME" and neither can contradictory and ambiguous messages. A potential buyer does not notice such products, and what is not noticed is not sold.

2. Experimental

The examiners have ranked the image information by giving it marks from 1 to 5. The method is based on the procedure by which each of the experts (m) participating in the examining, i.e. evaluating of the objects (n), gives each object a number as the rank of that parameter. The object of the highest ranking gets the number 1; the next one gets the number 2, etc. The criteria of the technological process optimality appear in such considerations in the role of the object. The degree of the experts' consideration agreement in the observed example has been performed in the variant of M. G. Kendall. The conformity of the experts ideas according to Kendall is determined by the expression (1):

W = 12xs/[n.sup.2]x([n.sup.3] - n - b) (1)

where m is the number of experts, n is the number of objects (questions) presented in table. As the answer to a given question, each of the mentioned m experts (examinees) in the performed poll gives a number uij as a ranking parameter in relation to other questions. It is possible, of course, that the same expert gives the same rank to different questions.

According to the agreement, the best-ranked answer gets the parametric value 1, that is rank 1, followed by the next rank 2 etc. In the observed model k<n, and the objects are given a socalled standardized rank.

The standardized rank is defined as an analytical medium of the total number of places occupied by the objects with the same rank k. In the standardized table, the column Ti has been calculated. The element of that matrix is calculated according to the expression (2):

[T.sub.j] = [summation over ([t.sub.j])]([t.sup.3.sub.j] - [t.sub.j])

where tj is the number expressing how many times the j-ti rank has been repeated in the i- line of the matrix. The expression 0[less than or equal to]W[less than or equal to]1 is valid for Kendall's coefficient W. As this coefficient is probability, it means that if W is nearer to one, the ideas of the experts are in agreement.

3. Results and discussion

Diagram 1 represents the marks of the examinees concerning the visual information as best identifying the packed product. The results show that the image information best identifies the product because it surpasses the colour and the textual information with the average evaluation mark of 3.76.


The examinees evaluated the image information as excellent in 45% of the cases, as very good in 24% of the cases, while the rest of the examinees (30% of them) gave the marks good, sufficient and insufficient. The examinees obviously opted for the image information because customers see them easily and quickly on a printed packaging. Because of that, the outlook of the image information and the success of a packed product presentation can crucially influence the customers' decision to purchase. However, the choice of the image information on the packaging is a very complicated problem for designers.

The simplest and the easiest way of presenting the product by the image information is printing of the packed product image on the packaging. This way of identification is applied when the packed product has a solid form. If the product does not have a solid form, nor a homogeneous structure, the image information on the raw material used for making the product can be presented on the packaging. Such image information have found a good place in marking foods such as different sorts of juice, milk concentrates etc. However, it is possible that the raw material has a homogeneous structure and it is not possible to represent it. In this case, the process of product utilization can be used as the image information. Cosmetic and sanitary products, as well as cleaning agents, are very often represented by such image information. Instead of the product application process, the image information can present the results of it. Such image information are applied on products which cannot be applied on the packaging themselves. The best example for that is the printed packaging for toothpaste.

Taking into consideration that toothpaste is of a homogeneous structure but of an unstable form, the picture of healthy, white and sound teeth as the result of the product application is used as the image information. The image information presenting damages caused by the non-application of the product has a similar impact as the previous one, only its message is more dramatic for the potential customer and, therefore, expected to have a better effect. The second most important element was the colour as an information carrier on the packaging. The examinees gave colours the following marks: 32% of the examinees said the colour was very good as the identification parameter, 18% of them thought it was excellent, 27% opted for good and 23% thought that the colour is a bad identifier (marks sufficient or insufficient). It is obvious that the examinees gave such answers because they know that many companies use one or several colours in combination as steady elements of their packaging. Such colours as information carriers are later continuously used in all advertising materials and they became, with time, a strong identification element with a strong visual effect. The examples are the following products: the hand creme Nivea, the chocolate Toblerone and Coca Cola. Each of those products can be combined with "its" colour: Nivea with blue, Toblerone with yellow and Coca Cola with red. Because of that, the choice for the graphic design of packaging is very demanding. For achieving the maximal effect of one type, one has to use the colours of one kind, for the maximal effect of another type, one has to use the colours of another type. Because of that, in choosing the colours one has to be careful and seek a compromising solution among the functions of the most important colours in the concrete example. The third best identifier of a packed product, in the examinees' opinion, is the textual information. About 50% of the examinees marked this factor as very good, 23% of them marked it as good, while 24% of them said it was excellent or sufficient. Only 5% of them thought the textual information was a bad identifier and marked it as insufficient. The name of the product and its manufacturer, the guidelines on how to use it and preserve it, the data about its weight, quantity, price, and expiry date--all of the information identify the packed product in a concrete way. It can happen that a product packaging contains too many or too little information. For example, if the product is a medicine, it is necessary to give as much information as possible but if it is fruit, the information has to be adapted to a particular product. Tables 1 and 2 show the evaluation marks given by the examiners, on the bases of which the standardized ranks were calculated (Calculation 1).

Calculation 1. Evaluation of the correlation ranks of the visual information which best identify the packed product


4. Conclusions

The examinees' evaluation reached a high percentage of agreement of about 77.5%. The information system on a packaging is a dynamic appearance which is based, in fact, on two different variables that lead to optimization.

These are legal standards (norms) which the manufacturer has to respect in terms of obligatory information, such as information on the harmfullness of smoking, danger of poison, quoting the barcodes etc. A greater area on the packaging is reserved for them. On the remaining area of the packaging one should include graphic, protective and design elements in order to come up with a clear and recognizable solution for representing a packed product. It is necessary that a packaging designer makes the message more attractive in order to attract the attention of the targeted consumers. A graphic designer must make the message readable, clear and understandable for customers and shape it in such a way that it can influence a potential customer in the desired way.

5. References

Bessen, A. H.: Design and Production of Corugated Packaging and Displays, Jelmar Publishing Co., Planview, 1994

Favre, J. P.: Color Sells Your Package, ABC Edition, Zurich, 1969 Jackson, C.: Colorme Beautiful Ballantine Books, Jelmar Publishing Co., New York, 1991

Jurecic, D.: Evaluacija elemenata vizualne informacije na grafickoj opremi ambalaze, magistarski rad, Varazdin, 2004

Keller, G.: Uloga boja u dizajnu ambalaze i prodaji proizvoda, savjetovanje Ambalaza i marketing., Zagreb, 1972

McCaughey, D. G.: Graphic designe for corrugated packaging, Jelmar Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1995

This Publication has to be referred as: Jurecic, D.; Babic, D. & Kropar-Vancina, V. (2006). Packaging Like at Information Carrying Media, Chapter 24 in DAAAM International Scientific Book 2006, B. Katalinic (Ed.), Published by DAAAM International, ISBN 3-901509-47-X, ISSN 1726-9687, Vienna, Austria

DOI: 10.2507/daaam.scibook.2006.24

Authors' data: M. Sc. Jurecic D.[enis], Assoc. Prof. Dr. Babic D.[arko], Professor Kropar-Vancina V.[esna], Faculty of Graphic Arts, University of Zagreb, Getaldiceva 2, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia,,,
Table 1. Evaluation of the visual information
which best identify the packed product


EXPERTS Examinees mark

number Text Image Colour

1. 2 5 5
2. 4 4 5
3. 3 5 3
4. 2 1 3
5. 2 5 2
6. 1 5 4
7. 5 5 5
8. 5 4 3
9. 4 5 3
10. 2 5 5

Table 2. Normed ranks of the evaluated visual information
which best identify the packed product


EXPERTS Normed ranks according to the furmulas 1 i 2

numb. Text Image Colour [SIGMA] T

1 1 2,5 2,5 6 6
2 1,5 1,5 3 6 6
3 2 2 2 6 6
4 1 2 3 6 0
5 2 2 2 6 6
6 1 2 3 6 0
7 2 2 2 6 24
8 1 2 3 6 0
9 1 2 3 6 0
10 1 2,5 2,5 6 6
[SIGMA] 13,50 20,50 26
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Author:Jurecic, Denis; Babic, Darko; Kropar-Vancina, Vesna
Publication:DAAAM International Scientific Book
Geographic Code:4EUAU
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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