In the first article Packaging for Artists : Spice Up Your Brand and Your Profits – Part I we took a look at some packaging basics and how they affect your brand image and the price you can charge for your artwork. We took a look at how Apple packages its iPad and how each element reinforces their brand and adds value to the product. In this second part we will look at some ideas and examples of how you can package your art to make it more appealing to your customers and help you stand out from the competition. But first, a recap of packaging basics is in order.
- Protects the art during handling and shipping
- Identifies the art as to model, type and price
- For products that are sold in larger retailers there may be a UPC or bar code.
- Provides contact information about the artist and/or distributor(phone, web address, email…)
- Packaging gives you the opportunity to tell your story and possibly promote other products
- Provides more information about the product such as benefits and features, use and care
- Quality and unique packaging may be saved and possibly used to keep the work (in the case of jewelry)
- Packaging IS a part of your brand experience
- Packaging can add value to your art and affect the price you can charge
- Packaging will help your art stand out from your competition
- Packaging can help increase your arts value long after the sale
- Packaging can be an effective form of advertising
For Whom and Where People Buy Your Art Affects Your Packaging Strategy
For Whom People Buy
People may buy your art for themselves (or their company) or as a gift. If your art is purchased as a gift then packaging may make it more convenient for the purchaser – think of packaging as a way to make your buyer’s life easier (wrapping the gift) and make them more likely to buy. Good packaging will add to the gift receiver’s experience as well!
Even when people buy for themselves they like to show off their purchase to their friends, family or co-workers. Good packaging will add to their experience of your brand and may lead to future purchases and referrals.
Where People Buy
Art is bought and sold in a variety of venues. You may sell your art out of your studio, at an art fair or show, in a retailer, in a mall or on the internet just to name a few venues. If you sell your art in a setting with a large amount of foot traffic (an art fair for example) then your packaging can serve the important purpose of advertising your brand – think of people in malls with bags advertising where they just made a purchase.
Even if people buy your art online, your packaging is important. When they receive a cardboard box in which you ship your art, make sure they have a good experience when they open the “plain brown” wrapper!
Some Packaging Ideas for Artists
Flat or Two Dimensional Art
- Flat art includes paintings, drawings prints, photographs and even some “thin” three dimensional art.
- Think of the frame and mat as a form of packaging. Many customers don’t want to go through the trouble of getting art matted and framed – make it easy for them to hang and enjoy your art. If they are giving your art as a gift, this may mean the difference between purchasing and not purchasing.
- For higher end works you may want to consider a box for your flat art. Many boxes can serve as a shipping package but think of ways how you can step up your game and your brand.
- Include information in your packaging about you and the work.
- Brand your packaging with your logo and great graphics
Here is a link to a company that makes high end packaging for flat artwork. If you receive one of these you will immediately know it is something special! They add a few dollars to your cost but you should be more than able to recover your costs. Check out a company who provides packaging for flat artwork – Masterpak
- How you could enhance your brand image through graphics on the outside of this packaging
- What printed materials you could add to the inside of this packaging to enhance your brand image (don’t forget you invoice or receipt!)
Peter Lik – Peter Lik is an awesome photographer who is also a master of brand/marketing. His works are known all over the world and by some estimates he has sold $100’s of Millions of his photographic prints. His prints are quite expensive but he has come up with a way to introduce people to his works or as in his words “For a taste of the Peter Lik experience without going ‘full size’” with his Elements line of prints. Check out how he uses packaging – Peter Lik Elements
It seems that everywhere I go I see jewelry made by local artisans and artists being sold. You can see this jewelry is stores, museum shops, art shows and fairs and even on the street. What strikes me the most is that almost none of these artists use any form of packaging for display or for the sale. Typically they offer their jewelry laying flat on a piece of cloth. Jewelry artist can easily benefit from packaging – usually in the form of a box.
- Get a box for your jewelry – they don’t have to be expensive.
- Include your logo/name/graphics on the box
- Insert a small informational piece in the box on you, your art, contact information and possibly care.
- Packaging will make it easy to purchase as a gift
- Packaging will keep the jewelry from getting buried in a pocket or purse
- Packaging may be used to store the jewelry by the purchaser and packaging will make it easier to find.
Here is a company that sells packaging for jewelry. As you can see, jewelry packaging does not have to be expensive – Nashville Wraps
For many types of art a box may not work well for packaging. Think Bags! When you go to a mall you see bags everywhere. These bags are touting the latest brand with great designed logos and graphics – not only do these bags hold the purchase but they also serve as advertising that screams “Look where I went!”
See if bags will work for your art business. If you sell your art at shows or festivals bags may really help increase your brand awareness and sales. There are many suppliers of bags of all sizes, colors and materials, do a quick search to find a supplier.
- Use bags as a main packaging vehicle or use them in conjunction with other packaging
- Use great designs and imagery on your bags – this is your brand!
- Bags provide a great way to tell your story and provide contact information
- Bags can also provide a “quick” gift wrap for customers shopping for gifts
The Bottom Line
- Packaging is a part of your art brand experience – use it to entertain, surprise and inform
- Packaging is a great form of advertising and may have a lasting effect
- Packaging can add value to your art and allow you to charge higher prices
- It is hard standing out among the competition and packaging can help
- Packaging doesn’t have to be expensive – only good!
- Creating great packaging is another chance to use your creative skills – go for it!
Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business. He has developed and teaches the course Artrepreneurship at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver teaching Marketing for the Arts. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations and is a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy. He is also the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Neil also consults with artists and arts organizations on business planning and marketing. Neil can be reached at http://creativesandbusiness.com/contact/