First, the function of the graph is analyzed
Graphic design plays an important role in packaging throughout the iron box packaging range, but it also has a set of constraints that must always be considered before any project is executed. Mastering key concepts early will save time and ultimately money. The first design element in all packages is related to the purpose of the packaging-to-box product.
A common myth surrounding packaging is that everything sucks and ends up in a landfill. This is another day of debate with another article. Instead, let's focus on what the package is: the carrier of the product. It obtains products from A to Z through its entire distribution network, protects them and informs every stakeholder in the process.
The design work is determined by the packaging itself - whether flexible packaging, rigid containers or folded cartons - called mold production lines. This can vary from simple labels defining its boundaries to folding cartons with many panels to three-dimensional structures, such as bottles decorated with shrink sleeves. The designer's task is to decorate and inform the mold production line within the parameters of the package itself. It was at this moment that packaging design came into being. Packaging must contain some information that follows strict regulatory guidelines, and aesthetic design must be built around this.
An extreme example is tobacco packaging, in which health regulatory copies must legally occupy 70% of the panel, with the rest used for branding, quantitative information and aesthetic design. New regulations specifying this space as plain packaging limit design elements to a single color and a single font.
Most packaging in the consumer market is for groceries. Similarly, before aesthetics were developed, regulatory copies such as ingredient lists, nutritional data, residence copies and weight statements claimed real estate. These regulations are so strict that non-compliance can lead to a product recall - hence the importance of awareness at the design stage.
The design must also include another set of tags and mechanisms to help the packaging along the distribution route. These include control marks for colour and registration, for cutting and/or aligning packaging modules as the packaging passes through the filling line, identification codes (not just UPC - generic product codes) for identifying products in the supply chain, such as batch codes and date codes.
All of these have to be incorporated into the design, and they occupy real estate on the packaging. The challenge for graphic designers is to incorporate these requirements into their designs. There are techniques where some of the code can be hidden in the image itself, such as a QR code that directs a smartphone to a website for more product information.
At this stage, we've built everything that needs to be part of the packaging design, but it's not really the design itself. The design needs to describe the product, brand it and decorate it to make it attractive to consumers in order to get off the shelf quickly. We must also remember that packaging is the carrier of the product and is designed first to protect the goods inside. This usually means that material quality and material performance requirements still exceed its decoration.
In the second part, we will review the structure of the package, the materials used, the printing process required, and how all this affects the packaging design process.