The Critical Nature of the Prototype
Even with computer renderings aiding in early packaging
evaluations, it's important not to overlook the sense of touch.
YOU ARE PARTICIPATING in a specifications meeting during the early phase of a new package's lifecycle—its birth, from concept to idea. But do ideas always look better on paper? Change the term "paper" to substrate and add a three-dimensional flavor and Rob Wallace, managing partner of New York-based Wallace Church, would say, "absolutely."
Wallace is on the front lines of taking a package concept to maturity—from the glimmering imagination crafted by zealous marketing professionals, to a carefully designed concept that can stand on its own from a production standpoint. Like many leading package designers, Wallace Church acts as the liaison between concept and reality.
• Will that CMYK and two spot-color concept created via offset meet all of the production specifications and product shelf goals plotted by its creators?
• Will the final textures and surface of a shrink film concept move beyond the prototype stage to supermarket glory—or will shrinkage issues put the freeze on a cool packaging concept?
• How can the right use of holographic substrates, hot stamping, and iridescent inks create a shampoo bottle that has both iridescent presence and be durable enough to hit the shower floor, repeatedly?
You're now entering the world of the prototype—not simply the comp of yesteryear.
Production from assumption
Kevin Williams, a packaging concept design expert with Inwork, which partners frequently with the team at Wallace Church in prototype creation, has witnessed many disconnects between the concept and the final design of a packaged product. Inwork is a 20-year-old, New York-based company that tackles the aggressive design issues of the most diverse and varied of packaging concepts.
"Many times, the concept side knows how much they are going to spend on the packaging, they know what they want it to look like, but they know nothing about production, the printing process, ink densities, calibration of printing machines, even substrate understanding," Williams explains. "Once they see what their concept is really calling for from a production standpoint, they realize their initial spending goals may have been false assumptions."