Basic Elements of Compelling Design

The design process doesn’t need to be difficult. Learn how to think about branding and packaging, and master the aesthetic of your subscription business.

A huge part of building a successful business comes down to compelling design. Sure – it may be tempting to think that having a great product alone can carry your business, but the truth is that nearly 1 in 2 people make purchasing and return purchasing decisions based simply on aesthetic design. That means a well developed, enticing creative process is essential if you’re looking to capture more customers and have those customers feel more invested in your brand.

First off, don’t psych yourself out. While you may feel like this aspect of your business is out of your hands, it doesn’t need to be. It really comes down to using the right tools and having a good understanding of how design works.

A Reminder: Cratejoy is Your Most Powerful Tool

Keep it in mind! With CrateJoy’s intuitive website builder, which includes powerful themes that are easy to customize, you can quickly create great looking websites with just a few clicks. CrateJoy makes it easy to preview designs – from simple designs with just a few core pages to themes with more developed, comprehensive navigation and site structure. Use this tool when crafting your website to quickly apply the lessons below to your brand.

Choosing a Color Palette

One of the main lessons we’ll be touching on in design is the element of consistency. This is about creating an aesthetic or “visual feel” that is easy to identify to your customer.  It’s about creating a look to your company that is clearly your own, helping your product stand out from the crowd and become iconic.

Part of this is choosing a color palette.

A color palette, like the palette of an artist, is a collection of colors that work together in your design. They are referenced as your main color design, and you can use them in different places to create a visually comfortable experience for the customer. Consider these color palette examples:

Red-Colors Green-Colors


These palettes sourced colors directly from the images on the left (corks and rosemary, in these cases). As a designer, you’re now equipped with a set of colors that you can see work together. In other words, these colors won’t be as likely to clash when used in the same design.

When thinking about developing a color palette for your own design, try to find images or examples of palettes that might work with your company’s niche and type of customer. A good start may be to look at similar companies in your space. For example, if you’re working on a craft beer subscription, find some craft beer companies or bars that capture the aesthetic and design that you think is nice. Try to derive inspiration from your favorites, and don’t be afraid to customize your palettes and play around with a multiple examples.

A Strong Brandmark/Logo

Even if you haven’t decided a color palette, you can begin thinking about your brandmark and logo. The logo is the iconic, simple representative of your brand. You can likely think of a few logos that stand out to you – such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola, or Apple.

When thinking about your own logo, consider these few artistic notes:

  • Keep it simple: The best logos are practical, straightforward, and carry a clear message
  • Be Unique: Your logo should be clever and inspiring
  • Consider a Logotype: If you have a unique name, including it in your logo (like Ray-Ban or IBM)
  • Be Flexible: Your logo will be used across platforms (apps, mobile, and on your site). Make sure it’s versatile.

Cohesive Experience Between Brand and Packaging

As you establish your design and coloring, keep your packaging in mind.

With your subscription business, you have a unique opportunity to deliver your iconography and brand to your customers monthly, directly to their doorstep. Consider bringing elements of your logo and website into packaging design. By doing so, you can create a cohesive visual experience that draws connection between your physical box and business as a whole. Think about using your colors and different elements of your ideation process in your packaging, when it makes sense, to craft this connection.

An Extra Tip: Think of Practical Additions to Packaging Design

Remember that branding isn’t the only thing you deliver each month: you are also presented with an opportunity to place “call to actions” to customers. Think about adding contact information and social media URLs or handles on your packaging (for example, or @YourBusiness) to encourage customers to connect with you in more ways.

Remember the Design Process is a Process

One of the most fundamental lessons of design is that it is a process. Designers can spend hours on end choosing colors and fidgeting with small design elements, and it certainly can be a different work flow than an analytical, more structured worker. If you’re feeling flustered, take a step back, revisit your inspirations, and allow your mind to come back fresh and inspired. A great design is always within reach!

Learn More About Cratejoy’s Custom Box Program!

Check out the standard Cratejoy boxes or design your own custom boxes through the Cratejoy box program! We offer high-quality boxes, fast shipping, and special prices, only for Cratejoy sellers

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About Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson is an author, educator and co-founder of several successful subscription businesses. He focuses on building engaging communities and has been described as "insanely customer centric." Find him in the Subscription School group or at his blog.

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