The packaging design process is a complex one, which consists of two disciplines: packaging(structural) design and graphic(visual) design. The two design practices are generally carried out by different departments, or even by different companies.

While packaging can influence a consumer’s expectations, and designers are often applauded for doing so in an innovative and original way, more often than not clients will want product packaging that fits in with their industry. Good designers make this a part of their research and concept when creating packaging for clients or their company.

Problems in Packaging Design

It’s a challenge maintaining consistent communication between all relevant parties, so that package designs arrive at pre-press with minimal errors or need for revision.

Structural and graphic design are often isolated as two independent workflows when a brand owner is working on a project with his suppliers. But an experienced packaging designer knows that the graphic design and structural design processes should not be performed in isolation, but in unison. Each requires information from the other, and must be harmonized in order to create a practical product packaging design. By thinking in terms of the whole process, designers can create outstanding packaging while avoiding common pitfalls.

Pitfalls to Avoid

The most common pitfall in packaging design is having a graphic designer that doesn’t have the most up-to-date die line. Panels that don’t face the appropriate direction on a die line can occur as a result.

Another pitfall that can hold up a job occurs when designers fail to consider how many colors a press can reproduce. One of the costliest mistakes is forgoing a consultation with the packaging printer in the design process. Countless superbly designed projects are scraped simply because they were not designed with the manufacturer’s tolerances and equipment limitations in mind.

While good packaging makes the product immediately understood by the consumer, bad packaging will make it difficult for the consumer to understand what is inside and how to interact with it. Whether it’s a product’s description, a company’s message, or even just the packaging’s contents, a consumer should be able to pick up the package, look at it, and comprehend everything the creator wants them to know. Logos and branding should be easily recognized and seen; the product shouldn’t be confusing, and all of the information the product’s creators want the consumer to have should be on the product packaging itself.

As with most other design jobs, creativity, organization, dedication, and a desire to design are necessary skills for designers. Projects, clients, and products can vary greatly. Clear and concise product specifications must be developed among the brand owner, designers, and packaging printer at the elementary stages. Continued communication between the various parties is the key to producing a successful product package.

Another way to avoid the common logistical problems between structural and graphic design is by working with The 5th Colour!

We have both graphic and product designers who’ll work in unison to devise the perfect product package that’ll both inform and interest customers!

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