How to make product packaging look truly local for foreign markets



It is important to consider packaging when selling products in foreign markets. A product's packaging can significantly influence a consumer's purchasing decision, and making it look "truly local" can help a product stand out and appeal to its target market.


This article will discuss five strategies for creating packaging that appears genuinely local for foreign markets. From incorporating traditional imagery to using native languages, we will show how brands can make their products look like they were made specifically for their target markets.


Whether you're a small business just starting out, or a large corporation looking to expand your international reach, this article will provide valuable insights on how to make your packaging truly local for foreign markets.


  1. Use local languages

Besides mandatory legal requirements, using the language of the target country in your packaging design enables more authentic, effective communication with customers.

Let's take a look at five local expressions that could be used in food packaging for global markets:

  • "Köstlichkeiten" in German means "delicacies", and is commonly used on packaging for food products.
  • "Muy rico" in Spanish  means "very delicious", and is often used in packaging for food and beverage products.
  • "Savourez" in French means "enjoy", and is commonly used on packaging for gourmet food and wine products.
  • "美味しい" in Japanese, which means "delicious", is often used on packaging for food and beverage products.
  • "Sapore unico" in Italian means "unique taste", and is often used on packaging for specialty food products.


       2. Use local imagery

Images of local landmarks, landscapes or people familiar to the target market will create a sense of connection and familiarity. By doing so, consumers will quickly identify known references and be more likely to pick a product off the shelf. Even something that may seem a bit kitsch works perfectly:

  • The Eiffel Tower for the French market
  • The Great Wall of China for the Chinese market
  • The Statue of Liberty for the American market
  • The Sydney Opera House for the Australian market
  • The Taj Mahal for the Indian market


      3. Incorporate local colours

Use colours commonly associated with the target country or region for a greater sense of authenticity and cultural relevance. For example, you can:

  • Use the target country’s national colours in the packaging design, e.g. red, white and blue in packaging for the United States, or green and yellow in packaging for Brazil.
  • Use colours commonly associated with the target market’s region or culture, e.g. orange and black in packaging for the Netherlands, or red and gold in packaging for China.
  • Use colours found in the target market’s natural environment, e.g. earth tones like brown, green and blue in Australia.
  • Use colours commonly found in the target market’s traditional arts and crafts, e.g. bold, vibrant colours in packaging for African markets.
  • Use colours typically associated with specific seasons or holidays in the target market, e.g. warm colours such as orange and red in packaging for the autumn season in the North American market, or bright colours such as pink and purple in holiday packaging for the Chinese New Year.


      4. Include traditional patterns or symbols

A sense of authenticity and cultural relevance can be achieved by showing patterns or symbols commonly associated with the target market's culture.

  • The Chinese dragon symbol represents power, strength and good luck in the Chinese culture.
  • The Mexican skull is a symbol of the Day of the Dead, and is commonly used in Mexican art and culture.
  • The kente cloth pattern from Ghana is a colourful geometric pattern commonly used in traditional clothing and textiles.
  • The Henna pattern from India and Pakistan is a decorative, intricate pattern commonly used in henna tattoos and other decorative art forms.
  • The Maori koru symbol from New Zealand represents new beginnings and growth, and is commonly used in Maori art and culture.


      5. Use local materials

Using materials found in the target market can enhance the sense of authenticity and cultural relevance.

  • Bamboo is a material commonly found in many Asian countries, and can be used to create eco-friendly, sustainable packaging.
  • Using woven cotton, a material commonly found in many African countries, can create a traditional, rustic packaging aesthetic.
  • In many South American countries, hessian is a popular packaging material. It can create a rustic and earthy look, making it an excellent choice for packaging products to appeal to local consumers.
  • Recycled paper is a popular choice in countries that strongly emphasize environmental sustainability.


Partnering with local designers in each market can be a good alternative; they can make product packaging look truly local by incorporating the above aspects commonly associated with the target market's culture. In this way, your packing can be tailored to target markets in an authentic and culturally relevant manner.

In conclusion, crafting local packaging for foreign markets is the key to standing out and attracting customers in a crowded marketplace.

If you want to leverage the buying decision at the point of sale, implement these strategies to give your products the edge they need to succeed in any foreign market.

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