Presentation is Just Part of the Story
Integrating packaging design with the realities of process capabilities is key to a project's success.
WHY DO WE reach for one package and not another on the grocer's shelf? What makes a package unique? On the continuum from concept to production, where does innovation live? The answer, in a word, is design.
The transformation of an idea into a dimensional shape with identifiable characteristics begins with a designer's aesthetic and emotional connection to that idea. As the creative cycle builds, additional factors come into play: the requirements of the product engineers, marketers engaged in product development and brand extension, procurement personnel, and printer/converters, whose concerted effort will deliver a package manufactured to specifications, at the lowest practical cost, under optimal conditions, by the right print provider.
According to Dean Lindsay of Dean Lindsay Design, an independent Chicago-based design firm specializing in package design and consumer products development, "What the loop usually is missing is the creative input. Consequently, the design brief I receive directs me to create an innovative package." In doing so, however, a designer has to understand the real-world constraints of the project, including budget and process, to conceive and create a package that will both grab a consumer's attention and fit the required performance specifications.
"We look at the entire supply chain if we are doing our job correctly," Lindsay says.
In fact, the need for a roadmap that details mutual understandings and process details up front is so important that it is largely responsible for a trend among packaging suppliers to control more of the process by bringing their design agencies in-house. This value-added trend is also reflected in the growing menu of services provided by mega trade shops like Schawk and Matthews International, as well as in the proliferation of design-specific enhancements to popular packaging workflows.