5 Packaging Design Feasibility Challenges
Procter & Gamble asked Landor to update the brand and create new packaging for the Eukanuba pet food line. The product uses select ingredients and the packaging needed to reflect the premium nature of the product. New players in the channel and the growing influence of store brands demanded action. However, the supply chain was not changing. Manufacturing limitations narrowed the possible converting techniques and effects.
We explored the perceived-value standby decoration techniques of foil stamping and spot varnish to differentiate the brand. Unfortunately, alternative varnish treatments on printed bags were not yet approved to run smoothly on the filling line and metallic foil would fail metal detection in final product inspection.
Packaging design poses many challenges of capability and standards. Here are a few other common feasibility risks:
Too many colors in the design
Our branding strategies often involves numerous bright, vibrant colors or soft, subtle differentiation and variation. This requires a robust color palette which may be limited by printing capabilities. Quantify these limitations in advance and stay within the available number of colors.
Large fields of color and very small design features should be a spot color. Use a Pantone Bridge to forecast colors that are possible to build from process inks. Designate hard to build colors and critical equity or flavor elements as spot colors.
The design is not suitable for the print process.
Know and understand how the package is printed and decorated. Avoid tonal values that vignette to zero on a flexo-printed label to avoid a hard drop-off of color. Flexography has come a long way. Digital plates, stochastic printing, and high-performance presses yield impressive results but it never hurts to design smart to ensure success. Small lines or copy, intricate vector shapes, and especially knockout (reverse) text may be a challenge to register with multiple colors on gravure-printed film. The strategic use of key-lines, chokes, and spreads improve success.
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.