Male Packaging Design: Creating ‘Man’ Appeal


We have worked with male-focused FMCG brands across a variety of markets and have built up a unique understanding and methodology to create male packaging that appeals to men. Now we want to share some of our insights…

Understanding gender differences can have a real impact for brands when it comes to engaging target consumers with their packaging. The current trend for ‘gender neutral’ design undeniably has its place, but in our experience working with male-focused brands we have seen that there is still a significant proportion of men who are looking for brands specifically designed for them – brands that recognise and celebrate what it means to be a man!

This has been demonstrated recently in the male skincare market, where in 2017, all but two brands experienced a decline in sales. The two brands going against this trend, Bulldog and Rockface have strong, overtly masculine brands designed to reassure men that they won’t have to part with any man points when buying a moisturiser! (Source: The Grocer Oct 2017)

Here are 4 key insights when it comes to engaging men who are choosing a product, package or brand to purchase for themselves:

1. Modern Masculinity

Research has shown that today’s men have an understated confidence, which comes from being happy in themselves – they are looking to make the most of what they already have and are not as attracted to brands selling unachievable aspirations as they once were. (The Grocer: Male Grooming Report, July 2017).

Successful brands are the ones who understand this and reflect the same values through their packaging and authenticity is a key part of this. Men want reassurance that the brands they buy genuinely understand their needs. As the ‘face’ of a brand in-store it’s important that the packaging becomes an outward vision of this authenticity.

2. Male-Centric

Men want brands that demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a man by creating products specifically for them. They are not fooled by re-packaging of a female product.

This is particularly key in the male grooming category where modern masculinity means having the ability to change your look easily – “will I be shaven today, have some stubble or a beard?” Brands have adapted to this, offering a much wider range of bespoke products for men to have on-hand in their bathrooms – all packaged in a way that makes them feel proud to have it on display.

3. On-Shelf Appeal

Men tend to shop the fixture a lot quicker than women and so ensuring packaging captures their attention instantly is key. Both structure and colour play important roles here.

The overall shape of packaging can send a clear message regarding whether it’s targeted at men and can also help create disruption on shelf. Research has demonstrated that more geometric and straight-lined shapes have wide appeal to men. When it comes to colour, it’s been shown that men respond better to cool tones and darker colours such as black, blue and grey. These colours work well as a base for interjecting brighter colours to create dynamic effects and eye-catching on-shelf appeal.

4. Straightforward Communication

Men really do want their products to “do what it says on the tin!”
Product naming, features and benefits need to be prominent on pack, and descriptions should be uncomplicated and no-nonsense. Too much in the way of frills or fluff and the audience will be lost. This uncomplicated style of messaging also helps convey confidence in the product inside which adds to the brands’ authenticity.

These 4 insights form just part of the strategic approach we use when working with male-focused brands.

Every client and project is different, so we tailor our approach accordingly, overlaying our insights and methodology with in-depth market research and findings from our client immersion sessions.

More about our approach