Bad Packaging Designs

The Impact of Bad Packaging Designs & Why Some of Them Failed?

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In the competitive world of retail, packaging design plays a crucial role in a product’s success or failure. A well-designed package can attract customers, protect the product, and enhance the overall brand experience. On the other hand, bad packaging design can lead to confusion, frustration, and even a decline in sales. While some of the brands are working hard to implement sustainable packaging designs, others are still struggling with their declining mainstream status to showcase their products. 

What Contributes to a Bad Packaging Design?

Bad packaging design refers to any packaging that fails to meet its primary objectives, which are protecting the product, attracting customers, and providing necessary information. Several factors contribute to poor packaging, including:

  • Misleading packaging that confuses or deceives customers.
  • Overly complex packaging that is difficult to open or use.
  • Limited protection that fails to safeguard the product during shipping.
  • Insufficient design that is difficult to understand or use.
  • Excessive packaging that uses more material than necessary.
  • Unsustainable packaging that is not environmentally friendly.

Examples of Bad Packaging Designs 

Not every brand places emphasis on the importance of packaging design and how it can impact consumer behavior. However, we have some of the popular failures that are the best bad packaging examples;

1. Excessive Packaging for a Minimal Product

Excessive Packaging for a Minimal Product

The use of extra stuffing just to protect a small item is the most frustrating example of bad package design. When companies use oversized boxes or layers of unnecessary materials for a minimal item, it leads to waste and inefficiency. 

Customers often find this frustrating, as it feels wasteful and can be difficult to dispose of. Moreover, excessive packaging can harm the environment, contributing to more waste in landfills. It’s important for businesses to match their packaging size to the product, using just enough material to protect it during transit without going overboard.

2. Misleading or Deceptive Packaging Designs 

Misleading or Deceptive Packaging Designs

This type of packaging gives a false impression of the product inside, often leading to disappointment and frustration. One common example is oversized packaging, where the box or container is much larger than the actual product. 

This tactic can make consumers believe they are getting more than they actually are. Another example is packaging with images or descriptions that exaggerate the product’s quality or features, causing unmet expectations.

Misleading packaging not only damages the trust between consumers and brands but can also lead to negative publicity. Customers feel cheated when the product doesn’t match the packaging, which can result in a loss of loyalty and sales.

3. Misuse of Obvious Containers

Misuse of Obvious Containers

Sometimes, we overlook the obvious purpose of certain containers. We all know that a can with a pop lid is typically used for beverages. You will instantly grab that can and think to drink it when you see it. 

But no! Wait! 

You read the label and it says ‘radiator coolant’. Now you think to yourself, why would they put that in a can for drinking?

It wouldn’t make sense to use this type of container for something like radiator coolant. It’s important to consider the intended use of containers and avoid using them in ways that could lead to confusion or misuse.

4. Individual Wrappers for Each Product


Using individual wrappers for each product might seem like a good idea to protect them, but it can backfire, especially when dealing with items like any fruit or vegetable.

It’s like putting each fruit in its own little house. Sure, it might seem like it’s keeping them safe from harm, but in reality, it’s just a waste of resources and creates unnecessary trash. Plus, it takes forever to unwrap everything when you just want to grab a snack!

Imagine buying a bunch of bananas, and each one is wrapped in its own plastic sleeve. Not only does it make no sense, but it’s also bad for the environment. All those wrappers add up to a lot of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or polluting our oceans.

5. Inappropriate Typography with Dull Color Scheme

Inappropriate Typography with Dull Color Scheme

Sometimes, when it comes to typography and color schemes, less isn’t more—it’s just less appealing. Imagine opening a product package only to find the words inside are hard to read because of a strange font choice. 

And to add salt to a wound, the colors are so dull they make you want to take a nap. That’s the frustration of incorporating strange typography paired with a boring color scheme.

6. Confusing and Misleading Imagery

Sometimes, the images used on packaging can be puzzling or deceptive, leading to misunderstandings or false expectations about the product inside. It means the images on the packaging labels are exaggerated in a way that leads people to think they are getting more than they actually are. 

Or, in other words, this can happen when the images don’t accurately represent what’s actually contained in the package. For example, a product might be shown in a larger size or in a different context than what’s in reality. This can create confusion for consumers, who may not get what they were expecting when they make a purchase based on these misleading images. 

7. Weird Shaped Containers 

Weird Shaped Containers

Weird shaped containers can create a lot of problems for both consumers and businesses. While unique shapes might catch the eye on a store shelf, they often come with practical drawbacks. These containers can be difficult to store, making them inconvenient for customers who need to fit them in cupboards or refrigerators. 

For businesses, these unusual shapes can increase manufacturing costs and complicate shipping, as they may not fit efficiently into standard boxes or pallets.

8. Unusual or Impractical Packaging 

Unusual or Impractical Packaging

The unusual containers are also another blunder when it comes to packaging design. This means there is an uncertainty or, in other words, we can say the product type is totally different from the way it has been packaged. For example, you might have seen milk packets from which it ultimately spills out or is not practical enough to use as a container. Another example would be eggs packaged in paper cartons or plastic wrap, where there is a chance of the eggs getting cracked easily during handling or transportation. Additionally, the plastic bottles for storing acids or other hazardous chemicals are another example of disastrous packaging. 

The Consequences of Bad Packaging Design

Bad packaging design can lead to numerous negative outcomes for both consumers and businesses. One major issue is unsustainable packaging. When products are wrapped in materials that are not eco-friendly, it can harm the environment and damage a company’s reputation among eco-conscious customers.

Another problem arises with bad designed products. If the packaging is confusing, hard to open, or doesn’t protect the product properly, customers will be frustrated and less likely to buy from that brand again.

Lastly, poor packaging design can directly cause packaging issues during shipping and handling. Products may arrive damaged if the packaging isn’t sturdy or appropriately sized, leading to returns, increased costs, and unhappy customers.

How to Avoid Bad Packaging Design

Just by implementing best practices in packaging designs, you can avoid many of these problems and create a positive experience for your customers. For this, you should have to:

Understand Your Audience

To avoid major pitfalls in your packaging design, you should research your audience and their preferences. It also includes identifying their pain points and how your product can solve them. Keep yourself in the customer’s shoes to understand what they would expect. After gathering relevant feedback, convert it into something actionable to improve your packaging design. 

Prioritize Functionality

Make sure that your wrapping has nothing that is even near dirty packaging or anything that can cause damage. Here, one of the most important things to consider is the correct dimension of your box according to the shape of your product. 

 If it is easy to open and reseal, providing maximum protection to the product, then you are on the right track. People are least interested in something that is difficult to open and includes a whole puzzle to solve for resealing it. 

Maintain Brand Consistency

Keep key brand elements like logos, colors, and fonts consistent to ensure brand recognition. Avoid mismatched details that cause confusion and misguidance for the customer. Instead, ensure the packaging design aligns with the brand’s overall image and message. When opting for premium or high-end boxes for your product, you can also consider design ideas to make them luxurious.

Focus on Sustainability

Incorporate sustainable practices like recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable materials in your packaging. Avoid excessive packaging to reduce waste and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.


Packaging design is a critical aspect of product marketing that can significantly influence consumer behavior and brand perception. When designing packaging for your product, it is crucial to consider what features to include and what to exclude in the first place. Every detail should be considered thoughtfully to avoid disastrous masterpieces that will be hard to forget for a long time. 


About Stephen Fowler

About Stephen Fowler

Meet Stephen, our skilled writer at IBEX. With a degree in Packaging Sciences, Stephen brings expertise in simplifying every industry detail more efficiently. His years of experience in R&D and technical expertise have always been helpful for our audience. The best part about Stephen is that he has always provided consistent and valuable insights into the packaging industry, ensuring that our reader is always up to date with the latest practices.

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