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.

  • I do follow the Dieline, it's one of my favorite design blogs. Am I correct in assuming the physical mockup would be constructed by myself then(I can't imagine a production facility making one-off runs..)? It seems my client has opted to by standard packaging and go with adhesive labels, but this is still certainly I'd like to add to my skillset. Thank you for your input.
    – AMC
    Aug 10 '13 at 19:30
  • In my retail days, I typically built my own mock-ups. I always tried to get the final material from my printer and run a test at a service bureau to trim and construct myself. It really helps you get a feel for the final piece when you build one with your own hands. Aug 12 '13 at 2:55

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