Haptic Brain / Haptic Brand

Most of us are lucky enough to know the rush of excitement we get from opening a package.  First, there’s the element of surprise.  But then there’s also that smell of new packaging (you know what I’m talking about), and the *swoosh* sound the box makes when you lift off the lid.  Ahhh.

A light blue box wrapped with a pink ribbon.
A light blue box wrapped with a pink ribbon.

This is not a coincidence. Paper quality has been proven to have a significant effect on consumer response. Companies, such as Apple, put as much effort into their packaging as they do into their products.  More than 50% of the human brain is devoted to processing sensory experiences.  Touch, in particular, impacts how we make sense of the world. Therefore, how things feel influences our thoughts and behaviors, our comprehension and retention of information, and our emotional connections.

collection of hand holding paper isolated on white background
collection of hand holding paper isolated on white background

We were lucky enough to attend this year’s UCDA Conference in Orlando, Florida.  There were some extraordinary speakers, including Daniel Dejan, a widely respected, award-winning graphic designer, art/creative director, production manager and print buyer. His topic was “Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand”, which focused on communications through the lens of neuroscience.


Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand

‘Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand looks at communications through the lens of neuroscience, exploring how media shapes the brain and consequently the way a brand is perceived. This book examines haptics — the study of how what we touch shapes what we feel — and explores the science behind why our haptic brains respond so well to haptic brands. Case studies from three of the world’s best-known brands (Apple, BMW and World Wildlife Fund) highlight the communicative power of touch in action.

“Paper matters for brands that matter. The collective power of this research, along with Dr. Eagleman’s expert insights, show why marketing professionals and the publishers of high-end magazines and books continue to rely on paper as a key ingredient of the brand experience. They recognize, as we do, that consumers are wired to interact with paper like no other medium.”
–Jennifer Miller, EVP of Coated Business and Chief Sustainability Officer, Sappi Fine Paper North America.’


[Source – where you can also request a copy for yourself!]

Here are some main points from each of the three case studies presented in ‘Haptic Brain/Haptic Brand”:

Case Study #1 – Apple


Apple’s entire brand has a serene simplicity and elegance about it.  As mentioned in ‘The Communicator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch”, “Critics say Apple’s iPhone seems more like a stone you might find in a stream than a device, similarly, the package it comes in defies traditional notions of what a box can be”.

They also pull a quote from The Gaurdian that makes so much sense, “Apple pays as much attention to its packaging as it does to its products… getting it just right as [an] obsession.”

It’s clear that a brand such as Apple has to be doing something right, and we have a hunch that creating that beautiful experience has something to do with it.

Case Study #2 – BMW


BMW wanted something special for fans if its M6 Coupe, so they had a professional driver take an aggressive, 560 horsepower car and do donuts on paper taped to the road, spraying ink onto the cars rear tires.  They used that paper with the tire marks for their upcoming direct mail campaign.

Manuel Sattig, Manager, Brand Strategy & Communication, said “We said, ‘there’s no way to capture the M performance on paper.’ And then we did it.”

Case Study #3 – World Wildlife Fund


In order to make world’s species and places more tangible, World Wildlife Fund created World Wildlife. This magazine includes thoughtful design, first-class printing, and fine paper to bring images to life. This provides a physical touch point to inspire readers to preserve the planet.


Needless to say, the best communicators incorporate touch into their brand experience.  How are you adding that extra special touch to your brand? To get some ideas, take a look at our packaging options here.

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