What Your Design Agency Doesn’t Know About Packaging

Published On: October 16, 2018

Brands across markets rely on design agencies to conceptualize and deliver unique packaging artwork and/or structural designs that drive sales and market recognition. A good packaging design goes way beyond a pretty box. It tells a story of a brand and helps establish a relationship with the consumer. Great agencies can develop out-of-the-box designs that make products stand out in saturated markets.

However, most design agencies work with print brokers or vendors to execute final packaging concepts. This can prove to be a challenge since both work in isolation and even the best artwork may not translate well into print. Here are three reasons your design agency should partner with a packaging partner for any of your product packaging projects.

Latest Technical Expertise

While design agencies may be very knowledgeable in the print process and requirements, they may not always be up-to-date with the latest advances in print and packaging technology. Print vendors are constantly updating not only equipment but print techniques that can produce a multitude of effects and finishes that can be used to differentiate your product’s packaging. Whether it’s a brand new piece of equipment or a technique that create a subtle effect or minimizes steps in the print process, a print vendor will have access to this industry knowledge.

Packaging Expert Insight

JohnsByrne has provided countless clients with knowledgeable alternative packaging insights. Oftentimes, these are cost-savings insights. For example, many customers ask for packaging made from chipboard, an expensive substrate used in high-end packaging such as Apple’s iPhone. However, rigid set up boxes like these carry a high price tag. In some of these cases, the structural team’s ingenuity has allowed us to offer a very similar solution at an affordable cost. The solution? A thicker paperboard with fold over double walls with clean folded edges that still conveyed the brand’s premium value!

Thousands of Packaging Designs

Just like an agency has expertise designing and conceptualizing designs, a reputable print partner will have seen thousands of packaging designs. The benefit? A print vendor will have seen the good and the bad in packaging designs and provide useful insight when it comes to your own packaging design. Whether it’s a question of cost or feasibility, chances are they’ve printed something very similar before. This means that they’ve learned how to achieve the best effects without using your own packaging design as a test. Design agencies can also leverage this experience to develop even more sophisticated packaging designs.

Know-How that Improves Efficiency (and Saves Money)

Oftentimes, great packaging designs can be passed on by design directors or brands because of a perceived cost barrier. While very unique print effects or structural designs are expected to come at a higher cost, there are situations where the knowledge of a print vendor can help achieve a specific look and feel without the associated costs. Whether it’s providing an alternative substrate, an alternate technique that creates a similar effect, or altering the print process to be more efficient, a print vendor can help identify opportunities to achieve a desired effect by using non-traditional methods – a win-win for everyone involved.

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Packaging Expert Insight

A common request that we receive from clients is the use of unique patterns or effects using offset-printable paper. This is very common with a desire to incorporate an overall pearl treatment. Creating this look is oftentimes expensive as a special “pre-pearlized” sheet can be 5 to 6 times more costly than standard board stock and takes weeks of manufacturing. This creates a two-fold savings challenge: cost and time. The JohnsByrne packaging team has expertly met the challenge by applying a pearl coating on standard stock to create a more affordable “pearlized sheet”. Moreover, the extra few weeks of manufacturing were saved through this ingenious process. Packaging challenges like these prove that achieving a premium doesn’t always have to come at a premium price.

The Key to the Best Packaging Design – A Collaboration Between Your Design Agency and Print Vendor

Regardless of the market you serve or the type of packaging your brand is going after, early collaboration between your design agency and print vendor is key to helping you create the packaging design you envisioned while giving you the benefits of reliability, cost effectiveness and invaluable expertise.

At JohnsByrne, we firmly believe that early collaboration is essential for maximizing the success of any product. That’s why we work with hundreds of design agencies to turn packaging visions into reality. Contact one of our packaging specialists to learn how we partner with design agencies.

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