Recently I went to the Los Angeles Auto Show. I was admiring the technology and beautiful lines of the new cars and the futuristic curves of the concept cars when something has occurred to me. These fantastic machines all work the way they do because of precision. Every cog, every nut & bolt, every small piece of the wonder we call automobile is in sync to create a precision machinery that runs smoothly and without hiccups.
That made me think of all the components that have to come together in perfect harmony to create this marvel of technology we drive around every day. You may ask what that has to do with packaging? More than people would think! So many things have to line up and be absolutely precise for that packaging to do what it suppose to do, just like pieces of a car so it runs smoothly.
This is true not only for the technical part of the process, where even a millimeter can make a difference for the machine not being able to apply a label or fold a box, but also to the precision of the design where we have to zero in on the target demographic or the needs of the consumer, just to mention a few.
HOW PACKAGE DESIGN STARTS
Every package design starts with a concept, just like cars. First we think of all the ways we can wrap and package a product. Then we start sketching our ideas on paper, (at least the more traditional folks like myself), just like a car designer would create beautiful drawings of the dream car in their minds eye. Next we start making digital designs on the computer using various tools in our arsenals, which I’m sure to a certain degree has lots of similarities to that of a car designer’s.
PACKAGE DESIGN AND PRODUCTION
Once your design gets put into action and produced is when the real precision has to happen. The “dieline” or “diecut” gets created, and it has to be absolutely precise to the last millimeter for the product to fit inside or a label to wrap around it perfectly. This is the technical aspect of it and it usually involves more than just one person; it involves the designer, the manufacturing company, printing company and in a lot of cases even the distribution company to get the product precisely where it needs to go.
A GRAPHIC DESIGNER HAS TO BE PRECISE
The other part of precision that defines if the package design we created is precise enough is the design itself. We have to zero in on so many things when we design packaging. From the perfect name to an eye catching logo, or the tagline that will reverberate in people’s mind for a long time – “Just do it!” – and you know who I’m talking about. This takes time and research and effort to get right. You can’t just throw something together in a couple of hours and hope it will be the next Coca Cola. Due diligence is required to achieve that perfect precision and create package design that will last and does its job: sell the product.
Anna Kernbaum is the founder/owner and chief creative of Pixellent Design. You can contact Anna directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (310) 896-5071