The great joy of being a designer, architect or other creative jobs that develop physical objects doesn’t fully appear until the project is not finished and enters real life.
Packaging design, even if many people place it in the graphical design category, is a much more complex domain.
Many aspects have to be developed both in the design and engineering/production phases to assure a promising launch on the market.
The design process has to take many details in consideration regarding not only graphics and visual communication, but structural requirements, economic factors, and marketing objectives.
Technical details, like form, structure, dimensions, materials and the economic feasibility of the package has to be well considered from the birth of the first sketches of the packaging design concept. A good communication system has to be established from the beginning between the different specialists that will see through the entire project until launching and sometimes beyond that line.
A well-managed design process leads to a good design proposal and finalizes in a successful packaging on the retail shelf.
Nowadays, designers, engineers, and other specialists have many tools at their disposal to reduce uncertainties in the realization of product packagings like prototyping techniques, renderings, animations and more.
Clear advantages can be gain if the design & graphics develop together with the technical part of the package.
The most successful packaging is the one which manage to mix an innovative design with a structure that complements it. Exactly like a great building, where the structure has to support and elevate the design concept, the structure of the package has to be build to emphasize its visual language and inventive character. The development process requires creativity but must be applied in a physical form.
In order to bridge the gap between the design and production of the packaging, a strong connection has to be created between its form, structure, materials and the visual language given by colors, illustrations, images, typography, information.
The following tools can be used:
a. Cost price estimation based on materials used: plastics, corrugated cardboard, folding boxboard, glass, metal, foil & more.
b. Deciding on the appearance of design proposals: physical aspects like material and shape and graphical aspects like color, typography, images, graphics, brand marks.
A very helpful tool, that minimizes the production costs is seeing the packaging in its 3D form instead of the usual 2D representation.
These renderings and snapshots will give a very real sense of how the product will look once its produced. Considering all the aspects of the package from the start of the project, 3D shape, materials, durability & weight of the product packaging, printing techniques like embossing, hot stamping, UV finish will help to create a successful packaging.
The production phase shouldn’t ever be overlooked. Here is where the project becomes real, not just a great concept. The quality of the packaging, the budget, the materials, the visual language, and the inventive design structure have to be all considered and well balanced for the production phase. The best product you know would have gone unnoticed if it hadn't had adequate packaging.