I'm wondering what the general process is for packaging design? I've got a few years of graphic/web design under my belt, but in discussing a re-brand, a client has requested that I also pitch new packaging designs. I'm sure the overall process can't differ much from what I'm accustomed to, but what are the keys to success here?
If you understand the packaging process from an engineering and production perspective, then not much else is different. That part can be a big deal, depending on the type of package you're producing.
One obvious difference that bears repeating: Physical mockups are critical. Don't even bother presenting flat mockups to the client unless they are unusually good at visualizing. Factoring this construction time at each review into your estimate is important. It's also important to build with something as close the final material as possible. More cost.
If you don't follow the packaging industry, The Dieline is a good site for inspiration and trends.