Five Potential Monkey Wrenches in Packaging Design Work
Imagine a team’s recent disappointment when instead of successfully completing the much-anticipated delivery of a deodorant carton design to the printer, they discovered that the package structure was not the approved size or style. This oversight prompted costly and time-consuming revision to the artwork to better fit the form.
I enjoy surprises as much as the next guy; just not those unexpected twists that delay my product’s speed-to-market or its total delivered cost.
Ensure prompt project completion by avoiding these five common pitfalls:
1. No qualified die line—The official packaging ‘blueprint’ is vital to establish accurate decoration real estate. Start from approved engineering drawings so that principle display panels, glue flaps, lot and expiration date code areas, eye marks, and eye tracks are properly located and considered.
2. Not enough color stations on press—Design to the limitations of the press. Specialty coatings, cold foil adhesives, and printed white often count as colors on the press. Make sure that colors built from process inks are vibrant enough for your intent. Select spot colors for those that aren’t.
3. Don’t own the image rights—Always purchase the images and fonts used in your designs prior to artwork release.
4. Unproven technique—Make sure the supply chain supports your design intent. Can you print over foil? Can you hold a 1 percent dot? Can you shrink metallic ink? Allow time for feasibility reviews, print trials, or testing. Share designs with printers and separators as early as possible. Use proven printer capability examples to inspire design. Find willing converters early in the project.
5. Insufficient proofing—Manage expectations with accurate proofs or prototypes. Provide mock-ups during project planning. Transparent and metallic areas should be represented on the proof. Areas backed in opaque white should be clearly communicated. Does the bottle or substrate color affect the decoration? Proofs should reflect the final result.
Scott Hosa started his career in the graphic arts at 14 years old as a printer’s helper at a local newspaper, and has been in printing and packaging ever since. He studied graphic design at Youngstown State University, industrial design at The Ohio State University and has worked on all aspects of global branding for clients including Bayer, GSK, Hershey Company, Kraft Foods Inc., PepsiCo., Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson and Unilever. Hosa is currently helping clients build agile brands that thrive in today’s dynamic, disruptive marketplace as associate director of technical graphics at Landor, a global leader in brand consulting and design.