Sustainability, personalization, automation: the packaging is facing new stakes

Sustainability, personalization, automation: the packaging is facing new stakes

In this post, we'll see how 3D is changing the way brands and agencies are thinking, designing, and showing their packaged products.

Sustainability, personalization, automation: the packaging is facing new stakes
Nicolas Jacques
Operations Director

The need of storing things in an appropriate box was born 8000 years ago, when humanity started to settle and accumulate things. Then, we started to exchange goods and the boxes needed to be easily movable in growing quantities, and became a strategic marketing asset, the last chance to convince a buyer in a shop.

Since the global market has become huge and its impact on our world grow bigger, even a tiny enhancement can have a great impact: when Apple decided to remove the charger from the iPhone packaging, it reduced by 50% their size and by 10% their weight. You can imagine how huge the economical and ecological benefit are.


Apple new packaging for iPhone VS the old one


In this article, we’ll try to analyze the impact of using 3D technologies for packaging throughout all the steps, from prototyping to eCommerce, from an ecological and an economical point of view. I will combine some of our customers experience with a fictional company. Do you like candy? So, let’s imagine I’m a candy company. Are you ready?


1 – 3D simulation for faster prototyping


As a brand, developing my packaging feels almost as important as my product. Of course, I want it to be practical and adapted to my logistics, but also sexy and ecological.

For our candies, we conducted a lot of design and taste studies to near perfection, but we never invested too much on the packaging: simple shapes, standard materials and average sales. So, as a modern brand, we want a modern approach for packaging and here starts the complexity: prototyping.

Prototyping the design is a lot of logistics and a lot of costs. We source the materials from countries far away and it takes a lot of time and of money to create each sample. And believe me, perfectionist as we are, we iterate a lot, and it’s almost impossible to collaborate with all the different offices around the world.


3D prototyping for packaging

It's our design agency who told us first about the advantages of 3D simulation for prototyping, and it changes everything for us. Being able to visualize the design in 3D allows us to only create samples whenever we’re sure. We’re able to project ourselves in a lot of different situations, logistics (like how many products we can have on each pallet) or the way it looks in a store, without asking anything to our factories or marketing to test the design on our customers. Building our products with our customers that’s a dream every retailer in the world has already had…

 On average, we saved 40% of our prototyping budget, were able to be 3 times faster and increased drastically collaboration between the different services around the world. (average calculation compared to non-3D process – Naker study)


2 – Virtual photography: validate faster and content automation


Prototyping the packaging in 3D started a process that will bring us towards eCommerce. Once 3D assets are created for prototyping, these 3D assets will be re-used multiple times with minimum effort.

Once the design is set (and sometimes even throughout the validation process), it’s crucial to be able to show the packaging from multiple angles with all different variations / labels and languages. 

What we used to do is to hire a photographer and take a lot of different packshots with all the different designs. How many times we had to call back the photographer because the design finally changed?


For the labels, it’s another story: we used to shoot the packaging without the labels on very standardized angles to be able to add the labels after on photoshop. Indeed, we have a lot of different labels applied on the same packaging, it could be different tastes but also different languages.

 But Photoshop always felt like patch-up jobs, super time-consuming and at the end, we were not free to generate the content we want, only the angles we thought about during the shooting. A nightmare

These packaging do not exist in real life!



Virtual photography is a process where the 3D version of the product / packaging is shot digitally to generate packshots, images or videos. What is particularly handy with this process, as any digital one, it can be automated. We can generate all the packshots we need for all the variations of taste, languages etc. in a single click and send them internally to our partners in-time. We’re never under the pressure of receiving the marketing assets a few weeks or even days before a release.  


In average, we saved 85% of our shooting budget, were able to be 6 times faster and never delay a release because of content anymore. (Average calculation compared to non-3D process – Naker study)


3 – Interactive experiences: eCommerce and personalization

Everything is set for the release of our new candies: we have the best packaging design; all the marketing assets are ready… but the market has changed, our customer is now buying a lot online. If the eCommerce is already ready with all the images and video we’ve generated with virtual photography, but what if I wanted to go one step further?

 In the FMCG sector, the new eCommerce trend has been a clear consequence of the COVID and is still tenacious now. We must change the way we think our product presentation because our packaging is thought for retail, for people just reading the labels. Even if we try to put those product details in the product page, most of our chat questions are about what was simple to read before.

 To enhance the eCommerce experience, 3D helped us on two main things that changed everything. First, we were able to create a fake digital version of the packaging were everything looks bigger and more readable, without all non-essential details. This eCommerce version of the packaging is a great way to inform better the customers and hence increase online conversion.


The eCommerce version of packaging is easier to read and with less details



Then, 3D models allowed us to embed an interactive eCommerce experience where the user can see our product from every angle and can read by himself the labels. It reproduces the natural gesture to take the product in a shop and discover all the information on it, we even like to hide great jokes on our products! For very special occasions, we were able to also create a personalization experience: for Christmas, our customers were able to customize their packaging to add a name and a photo for a unique and personalized experience!


In average, we increase our online conversion rate by 20% and divided by 2 the amounts of questions on our chat. (Average calculation compared to non-3D process – Naker study)


For many retailers, the packaging is almost as important as the product itself. The impact of implementing a 3D content factory is huge and combined economical practical and ecological aspects for both the brands and the agencies throughout the entire process. This little story was written based on our customer experiences, and we can’t wait to see what other stories we can write together. If you want to evaluate a 3D content factory, as a brand or as an agency, do not hesitate to contact us!