I'm using InDesign to design a packaging that has different large sides, flaps, bleed, etc. and artwork all over these.

Which is the smartest way to build this kind of document with InDesign?

  • Is it right to make a document as large as the whole packaging and create manually the single parts with a special color?
  • Or is it possible to create single sites with different measures?
  • Or something completely different?


  • BTW, this kind of production work is usually done in Illustrator, not InDesign. None of the features of InDesign -- pagination, text flow, linking, TOC, Indexing, styles -- are at all necessary or even helpful in preparing print production files for packaging.
    – user8356
    Dec 20, 2017 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


This is something you'd better discuss with the printing company, but i'd say you need to do a single document with the entire artwork showing all sides of the packaging on a single page.

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  • I use to work with companies that have adopted this process indeed.
    – Loic
    Dec 20, 2017 at 8:41
  • My question is more concerned with the technique to build this kind of document inside of InDesign. Like setting up one document for the whole packaging (how to mark bleed for areas not at the margins) or is there a better way with maybe multiple documents…?
    – Malte
    Dec 20, 2017 at 9:24
  • You don't do that. The printing company WILL SUPPLY a template for you which will include the actual shape, bleeds, everything. You just need to add a new layer on top of that with the actual artwork.
    – Lucian
    Dec 20, 2017 at 9:27

The printing company should be able to supply you with a template of the packaging net for you to work from, which you would then supply as a single piece of artwork.

Working with packaging straight on the net can get tricky though as you can (depending on the packaging) have all the different faces at different orientations, so you end up having to do half your artwork upside down and some at 90 degrees. It's more trouble than it's worth...

So what I normally do is create a page for each face (usually tabs and the like would be kept as part of the face they are attached too), at the correct size with full bleed. Then you export those pages and place them correctly in the template (masking any bleed that isn't needed). Doing this at the beginning and placing them as linked files means you can carry on working on your single pages and see the whole net update as you re-export the pages.


Depend on your production process.

If the whole finished package is made from one sheet of paper then you should provide one artwork that, when printed and cut out, can be folded into final product.

If your final product will be made from different pieces then you should provide template with every other filename written in the place it should be placed on the outcome.

And of course you should provide two maquettes. One with full color and second with each side numbered where numbers reflects certain artworks.

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