Undertaking a packaging redesign or a design from the ground up can seem daunting. Below is a breakdown of the process.
9 Steps to designing packaging assuming artwork and branding are already handled.
Forethought: PLEASE GIVE YOURSELF AMPLE TIME before a release date to undertake the packaging design process. There can be many redesigns, approval processes, and potential hiccups. WE HAVE FOUND THAT WHEN PROJECTS ARE RUSHED DUE TO A TIGHT TIMELINE, MISTAKES HAPPEN. We ultimately want the customer to be happy with their packaging and will do everything we can to hit a timeline but, a mistake can sour a business relationship from the get-go.
Step 1: GET IN CONTACT WITH A PACKAGING EXPERT, and have a general idea on what type of packaging you need. Examples: Corrugated, folding cartons, poly packaging, ridged box, ect. Understand that the higher the quality of the packaging, the more expensive it will be. Also, the lower the order quantity the more expensive it will be. Having a packaging expert at your disposal will help guide you.
Step 2: HAVE A SAMPLE OF THE PRODUCT BEING PACKAGED. In order to build a box/bag around your product, we will need to borrow a sample. Preferably a finished production ready sample. It needs to be the correct weight and dimensions of the final product. The outer packaging needs to protect the product and thus needs to be produced in the correct material weight that correlates to the product.
Step 3: STRUCTURAL DESIGN APPROVAL. Once an understanding of what is desired is reached, and a sample of the customers product has been provided. A structural design will be created. A sample will then be cut out of the material being used. At that point it fall on the customer to decide if the design is up to their expectation. If not, we will discuss the changes required, and then repeat the process until a structural sample is approved and signed for.
Step 4: TIME TO QUOTE. At this point it is time to build out a quote for the custom packaging. We will need to know the following.
- Do you have Artwork? If not how many colors will it print? Any specialty coatings or finishes? What percentage of the packaging will print?
- Qty desired?
- Delivery location?
** Not Sure? That’s ok, we can quote multiple quantities and multiple print options**
Step 5: ITS PURCHASE ORDER TIME. At this point we will need a purchase order to move forward. And release the die line files. Once we have a PO we will go through an approval process.
Step 6: DIE LINE PROVIDED TO CUSTOMER TO LAY ARTWORK. A die line is a file which shows the cut and or score lines for the approved structural packaging design. Usually, the die line will be sent to an inhouse, or 3rd part graphic designer to super impose the desired artwork on the packaging. It is then sent back in preferable an Ai file.
Die Line Examples:
Step 7: PDF PROOF SENT FOR ARTWORK APPROVAL. A PDF file will be sent for artwork approval, this step can be seen as approval of the artwork text, and graphics, color should be considered but another approval process will follow that will more accurately show colors.
Step 8: PHYSICAL PROOF SENT OR DROPPED OFF FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF APPROVAL. This is another approval process that will more accurately show the colors then the PDF version. Artwork is printed on high quality paper. Coatings will be shown. It will need to be signed as approved. In some instances, an ink draw down will be provided in lieu of a physical proof. This is a swatch of ink on the paper that will be used in the production run to show what the end ink color will look like. Different materials can change the color from what is expected. A Pantone color that is viewed on a computer screen will look much different when printed on a kraft (brown) material, or on sbs.
Step 9: PRESS CHECK SCHEDULE. Once the artwork has been approved. And if a press check is desired, it is scheduled. A press check is an appointment at the manufacturer where the printed sheets, labels, bags, come off the press and need to be approved or revised before the job is run. Revisions usually involve slightly changing the ink mixture to get the desires colors. If for whatever reason the artwork is not as desired we can pull a job from the press and circle back to fix the problem.
HOW LONG DOES THIS PROCESS TAKE? Timeline can vary drastically depending on a variety of factors. Current industry conditions, how detailed a design is, how many redesigns, and the production run lead time all factor in. We would be happy to give you a estimated timeline once we have a full understanding of the job at hand.