Just one more challenge that stands between you and that elusive finish line is designing the packaging that you want your product to come in. This needs to serve several purposes – it not only protects your item, but it also helps catch the eye of the consumer.
Don’t worry though… designing graphics for your packaging isn’t as hard as it might at first seem. There are just a few considerations you need to bear in mind. Read on for a quick crash course that will get you started…
Before you jump in and start designing, you first need to be aware of a couple of specific requirements that apply to packaging design. For instance, you will want to make sure that you save your files as ‘.ai’ files. This file format will work with the majority of printers making it easy for you to get your designs onto your packaging. Another important requirement is to remember you need to include dielines. These lines are placeholders which show where the graphics will need to be diecut. This will usually be included in the file as a separate layer and will guide the sizing and orientation.
.AI files are files created by Adobe Illustrator (makes sense right?) which is also considered an industry standard when it comes to designing packaging. This is a nice piece of software (called a ‘vector program’) that can take some getting used to at first if you’re used to MSPaint, but which will enable you to create graphics that are high definition and that are incredibly precise. Illustrator also makes itself useful in other ways, for instance by making it simple to stick with precise PMS colours (consistent colours used across all branding material). If you’re having a hard time getting started with Illustrator, check out YouTube for more tutorials than you can shake a stick at. If you’re having a hard time affording Illustrator, then you can always try Inkscape as a free alternative vector program. It’s not as compatible though which can make things tricky later on.
Now you just need to think about your design and how you’re going to make it pop. Make sure that you use colours that will stand out first and foremost, but also that they complement your branding and the item itself. Using photos of the item inside is often a good idea if the name doesn’t speak for itself, and you should also think hard about where you’re going to include the item name and your company logo. Large branding can be a smart business move to help you increase awareness and build your identity, but note that smaller and more discrete branding will make your product feel more ‘premium’.
You won’t get this right first try, so make sure to take time on it, to show it around to your friends and get feedback, and to come up with a few different designs that you can choose from. Or you can always just outsource the process…