How to Ensure a Successful Custom Packaging Design Process

09.25.18 // Heritage Paper

Customizing anything—from ordering athletic shoes online to the complexities of building your dream home—involves a well-thought-out process to ensure the right outcome.

The same holds true for the custom packaging design which involves a careful process that follows five important steps:

  • Selecting your supplier
  • Understanding all stakeholder needs
  • Communicating well along the way
  • Prototyping and testing
  • Implementing and follow-through

By following this proven process, you’ll certainly avoid unnecessary headaches. And ultimately, you’ll experience a packaging design that not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

Selecting your supplier

Carefully evaluate your prospective supplier’s work by asking for actual project samples. Learn how they solved customers challenges and find out what benefits the customers experienced.  Even ask to meet with both the designer and packaging professional who will manage your project.

Consider too if the supplier has the essential in-house tools—such as a sample table and CAD—that will help to facilitate a speedy and efficient design process. Digital rendering capability, for example, is very effective for team collaboration and can make all the difference between a timely design process and one that’s agonizingly slow.

Determine as well if your supplier can design with and deliver an entire range of packaging materials. Or are they limited to delivering (and therefore designing) only corrugated solutions or chipboard designs? Working with a material neutral supplier ensures a full range of paper and plastic options.

Consider also the supplier’s creative skill set and if they have the project management know-how to smoothly guide your project to a successful conclusion.

Understanding all stakeholder needs

Take the time to ask, “What’s the reason for our design project in the first place?” For example, if you’re redesigning existing packaging, determine why you’re changing the design. The more information you can share with your packaging design team stakeholders, the better.

While working with your marketing team, they might:

  • Specify certain package styles or graphics processes.
  • Have an image in mind that they’re trying to replicate.

Or, operations:

  • May have concerns pertaining to space limitations.
  • Can provide valuable data on shipping failure rates or product returns which will help you understand product fragility issues and how to approach your packaging’s structural design.

Consider also that if the packaging design adds a new SKU to an existing line, evaluate if other products can be considered as part of the design to consolidate SKUs. In addition, confirm whether there is sufficient budget for your packaging project. If you’re embarking on a new product launch, there might be more incentive to seek out premium packaging to help boost initial sales.

Communicating well along the way

Effective communication—from initial design concept through implementation—is paramount.  While some designs only require minimal initial adjustments, others may require several revisions.  Gaining sufficient feedback from both your supplier and stakeholders is imperative during this phase.

Effective communication also includes using digital renderings that help to visualize proposed changes. This makes it easier and faster to collaborate on required design changes. Effective communication (including listening) and interpersonal skills, as well as project management capability, will keep design projects on track.

Prototyping and testing

Prototyping enables you to actually visualize design concepts early on. Prototyping also provides the opportunity to examine how your contents will fit the packaging design.

A great custom package design is only as good as how it stands up to the rigors of shipping and handling.

That’s why your packaging designs should undergo preliminary testing for structural integrity. Dynamic and static testing that simulates handling, along with drop tests should be performed before your team receives designs for review.

In addition, an in-house digital press will allow your supplier to create samples for various needs.  Full-color premium quality printing (without a print or die investment) means faster production times for market tests, promotions and much more.

Implementing and follow-through

And finally, partnering with the right custom packaging solutions supplier means you’ll benefit from the latest leading-edge and competitively sourced materials. You’ll also rely on your supplier to not only implement and manage rolling out your new packaging but ongoing inventory programs as well.

By capitalizing on a custom packaging design supplier with the right skillsets, talent, and reputation for solid customer service, you’ll end up with a resource you can depend on for many years to come.

Let’s talk about custom packaging solutions that will exceed your expectations. Contact our knowledgeable team today.

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