If you are in the market for packaging for a new product, you might think that finding a designer and designing the package is the obvious first step. And while it is, it is also very important that you ensure that the designer you select is well versed in designing packaging AND understands the related printing and packaging processes.
A packaging designer is very different from a graphic artist who works on printed marketing collateral or a digital ad. A good packaging designer knows the ins and outs of designing for the printing process, they understand how to maintain your brand across many different substrate types, and they understand the various kinds of packaging processes. They have to take in consideration things like “Will this graphic element be hidden when the package goes from 1D to 3D? Will the seal fold to the left or right? Can the printer reproduce my design on the selected substrate?”
For example, you want a bright neon color on a brown kraft paper substrate for your wrapper for your new energy bar. Remember, what may look great on the screen or in a PDF does not always translate to a final printed product. If you and your designer have discussed this ahead of time with the printer you will probably learn that the neon color will wash out on a kraft substrate and you will not get the effect you were looking for. Involving the printer early in the design process allows you and your designer to decide on something that can be reproduced on press.
Designing a package is not a linear process, with lots of questions and considerations that must be taken into account by everyone involved. If you do not want to be disappointed in your package, take the time to develop relationships within the complete manufacturing process before you fall in love with a design. In the end this kind of collaboration will deliver a spectacular result.