The packaging design process – make sure you get it right.

The beginning.

Developing a structure

Before we can start looking at the imagery and branding for your product packaging we need to develop and finalise the right structure for the product. This will take a little research. We will need the product itself in order to consider what material will work best to contain the product and to protect it while packaged. We will explore the most cost effective, but necessary, options for the structure to achieve the balance between packaging the product correctly and the needs of the budget.

There are many, many options of cardboard out there to use for your product packaging. Here we list a few:

On shelf boxes

On shelf boxes are everywhere in every retail store. They are designed to look appealing to attract consumers but also to be strong enough to withstand being transported and packed and finally displayed on shelf in store. The options are endless and we will work with you to create the best options for your product that will entice and clinch the sale with your future consumers.

Cardboard types.

If you’re interested in cardboard this may be the chance to get the knowledge!

Did you know? The term cardboard was first used by Anna Bronte in her novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It was first used by Kellogg’s – who else – to package their flaked corn cereal, which was the beginning of the familiar cereal box we know so well today.

The term cardboard is used for a number of different types of board. The technical term is corrugated fibreboard, but clearly ‘cardboard’ is a lot easier to say. The boards under this umbrella consist of most heavy duty paper and corrugated board though the most familiar type of board associated with it is the classic brown corrugated stuff we see most products packed in.

Corrugated cardboard types:

Single face board

This is the lightest type. It doesn’t have the strength of the heavier and stronger constructed types but it is cost effective and will provide a basic level of protection.

Standard single wall board

This is Mr Common of the cardboard world. It is cost effective and it offers a good level of strength and protection. It comes in five flute variations depending on how strong it has to be to hold and protect a product. They vary in thickness and have different names to help with identification.

Heavy duty box

This is a very strong box for most uses. It is an environmental choice to the heavy duty double wall and will protect good and products up to 2 kg.

Heavy duty double wall

This box will protect most items up to 2kg so is ideal for fragile things like ornaments or heavy things like books.

Extra heavy duty double wall

This strong fella will protect pretty much anything you want to pack. It is sturdy, robust and is the ultimate packaging material.

Cardboard thickness

E-flute – 2mm

This is a nice lightweight cardboard for smaller and lighter products. It is great for folding and printing so very versatile for designing cool packaging.

R-flute – 2.3mm

This is a small step up from E-flute if a product needs just a little more strength.

B-flute – 3mm

This represents a very strong box but with a lighter feel still. This is ideal for most small items that need to be reasonably well protected. It is great for POS packaging.

C-flute – 4mm

This is again Mr Common. It is a great mid range box strong enough for most items but still at the lighter range of cardboard.

A-flute – 5mm

Now we get into the heavy boys. This cardboard is very strong and is especially suitable for items that need lots of protection

Clearly there are several options here. And working out which cardboard suits your needs is going to be quite a challenge. For this reason we have suggested some key questions you can ask yourself regarding which cardboard to use.

What is your budget? Obviously this is a major contributor to the choice of structure you can choose. It would be wise to discuss this and agree it early in the process.

How durable does the box need to be? This is a crucial factor also as this will dictate the strength of the box and have a direct affect on the cost.

We can discuss all options with you at the outset so the most appropriate choice is made. Clearly we want to design the most attractive and eye catching on the shelf packaging for you to appeal to your market so this is a prime consideration also.

So now we have the cardboard selected we can start looking at the design of the box itself and the visual graphics that will be created for it.

Time to design.

First we will create some sketches.

This is where the fun starts. We will create some ideas in rough form and may produce some visuals of what we have in mind so you can see clearly the creative direction we are going in. There may be several options at this point as once the creative juices begin to flow there can be some very interesting concepts and thoughts that need to be put to paper. The ideas will be talked through with you to get your thoughts and to ensure you are happy at this early stage of development. Once we have a clearer direction for the creative we can assess the practical consideration for the product and how it needs to be packaged within the design options.

We will address the objectives within the designs in order to satisfy both structural elements and visual appeal for the total packaging experience of the consumer. There is always a fine balance between budget constraints and design options. Our objective is always to hit a budget and never go in an unnecessary direction with creativity that is wasteful of time and money. Money which would be better spent on other aspects of the process. This is our goal and we like to think we achieve this with every client.

Consideration must be given to the type of product. A luxury item must be packaged well but also offer the consumer an experience befitting a luxury item. Simply opening a box and seeing your product is not going to create that experience. We would need to look at an unveiling experience: a sense of unwrapping and delay to build the moment up in order to create excitement and anticipation for the expectant consumer. This can be done in many ways and we will discuss these with you. Clearly, if you are selling luxury goods the packaging needs to reflect this. We need to create an experience to remember for the consumer.

The process will take several turns and will be developed from your feedback and our discussions. This is as it should be. It is very rare to meet a client’s dream with the first concept, though it can happen. The design process allows the ideas to evolve and take visual shape as we explore each direction and option.

At the point where we have a tangible packaging solution we can look at creating a mock up. We create visual mock-ups, which help to visualise the final pack, but a true 3D mock up goes one large step further.

At this point we move from paper representations to actual physical form. This is ideal for clients to see ‘in the flesh’ exactly what the packaging will look and feel like. Now we can test the structure, test the opening mechanism, how the strength of the pack will hold and protect the product, and how we envisage the branding and imagery will work on the packaging itself. Again this is a very exciting stage as the pack is now becoming a reality.

If any tweaks are needed at this point they are made and a revised mock-up created. This process continues until we arrive at a final packaging design that enhances the product, offers it the protection it needs both on shelf and in transit, and allows the brand to bring the pack to life.

We will then liaise with the printer of choice and work with them to produce your easily assembled packaging to the location you need it all ready for you to pack your product and get them off to retailers.

Wasn’t difficult at all now was it!