Design Preparation Tips for Awesome Results

Every packaging designer sets out to create a package or display work with all the best intentions, artistry and creativity in the world.  Those of us who do not possess an ounce of artistic creativity beyond drawing stick figures hold these individuals in very high regard, and that is not just flattery to get their attention.

Without talented creative artists and designers our jobs as packaging dream realizers would be darned boring.  We are talking to you designers right now.

There are a few tips that we want to share in the interest of giving your projects the best possible impact, with the fewest problems or pitfalls.

If we get all the details out of the way early and get out of your way, we know from experience that things will go smoother with less back and forth and less disappointment on either part when you discover that something can’t be done quite the way you dreamed of it in that early design stage meeting.

Display Points

  1. Know where your product will be displayed (which store or location in the store) If possible, visit the location yourself, or have someone take lots of pictures of the exact spot, with dimensions and details about any quirky aspect that you might not be prepared for.
  2. Know how much space the retailer will allow you to have. Perhaps the retailer will share their store specs with you. This will impact the size and style of your display.
  3. Design the package to reflect the value/ brand of our product. For example:  If you are trying to convey an overall look and feel of luxury, make sure all the components of the project reflect that.  If the brand plays in the eco-conscious space, make sure the materials are consistent with that concept.
  4. Make sure the structural design will allow you to place the graphics you want on it in the most impactful way. We’ve talked about this in previous blogs, but we’ll repeat ourselves just this once.  It is crucial to think about your project from the point of view of the consumer.  Do all the graphics appeal to the products target customer?  Does it all make sense to someone who is not intimately acquainted with the process?  You may even invite a friend or colleague to give you some feedback on your project to make sure.  Even better, an informal focus group if you can swing it.


Shipping Point


  1. Consider that the package needs to be designed to withstand the delivery process (UPS and FED-EX can be brutal on shipments) Mailing a full prototype is a great way to test out your packaging materials and make sure the package arrives looking great. You can even mail it to yourself!
  2. Be sure to choose the proper board grade for your products size, weight, and shipping options. Any vendor you work with should be able to help you with this selection process. We always advocate for getting your trusted vendors involved in the process as early as possible to make sure that all the details are within retail or shipping spec.
  3. Be sure the design allows for the proper orientation/ presentation of your product. Nothing is worse than opening a package and the contents are strewn all about. Be sure the product is secured properly inside the carton, logo facing up, bottle not twisted, etc.

If you are looking for great quotes about preparation, there is certainly no shortage of them out there on the interwebs.  Our favorite one, though? We’ll just leave it right here.