Product Packaging Design Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn to critically analyze product packaging. They will then apply their knowledge to a design project of their own.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze product packaging.
  • Discuss the role of packaging in product preservation and marketing.
  • Practically apply the theories of product packaging design.


45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.


  • Printed copies of Packaging Design: Definition & Examples and Lesson Quiz
  • Strips of paper with the names of objects within the classroom (staplers, pencils, etc)
  • Empty boxes of various sizes, painted white or covered in white paper
  • Pens, colored pencils, markers


  • Hold up a box of cereal (or any other packaged item). Ask students to brainstorm all of the steps that had to occur between an idea for this product being formed, and it being purchased at the store. As students come up with ideas, write them on the board, and discuss:
    • When you purchase a product, what goes into that decision? What are you really buying? Is it always just the product itself?
    • How can marketing shape the way we think about products? Can you think of any examples of really effective marketing that have shaped your purchasing decisions?
    • What are all the stages/kinds of marketing a product receives? How does the packaging of a product play into this?
  • Hand out printed copies of Packaging Design: Definition & Examples. Break class into groups of 4-5 students.
  • Ask students to read the lesson aloud as a group using the popcorn method - in which one person is the reader until you tell them to switch, at which point the next person takes over reading. Switching readers at random intervals can keep this amusing and forces students to pay attention.
  • Discuss this lesson as a class:
    • What are all the goals of product packaging? When is packaging functional versus aesthetic? Can it be both?
    • What kind of considerations go into the designing of product packaging? How does this change by target audience/consumer?
    • What specific examples does the lesson give of effective packaging? Can you think of any others from your own experiences?
  • You can test student understanding using the lesson quiz.

Packaging Design Activity

1. Place strips of paper with every day objects in the classroom into a bag or hat, and have each student blindly pick one. Tell students that they will be responsible for designing the packaging for this object.

2. Step one: students must identify the marketing needs of their product. Instruct students to examine their product, and answer the following questions in writing:

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