Why Is Print Management Crucial In A Packaging Design?

Vineeth A Viswanathan, Business Director, SgscoVineeth is a senior management executive in delivering and sustaining revenue and profit in B2B market

Packaging design is creating not only the graphics but also to retain the consumers' attention and it should help relate to the existing brand colors. Packaging design is crucial to not only the product itself but to the entire company because it becomes a memorable representation of a brand.

The packaging design to print process starts with a design concept and ends with a finished printed package. Unfortunately, the entire process can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming to wrap your head around. It's hard to make the right decisions when a lot of it seems so technical especially with multiple print process and substrates. The end result for many marketers is poor packaging quality, disappointing colors, high costs or missed deadlines.

Anyone can throw a product into a cardboard box and call it a package. But if you saw a shelf full of cardboard boxes, what factors would help you decide which box to choose? Packaging design makes it easy to differentiate between products and the brands that they deviate from.

Color is a way to differentiate and identify your company and products in a crowded marketplace. From the black-and-orange combination of the Amazon logo to the green of the Starbucks emblem. Given how color radically increases brand identification (which will boost sales and customer engagement), it's crucial that color remain consistent across all touch points of the brand either be Packaging, POSM etc, Imagine spending a sizable portion of your budget only to find the right brand color is not reproduced.
With lots of Design agencies around the corner across all cities who are ready to make POSM, KV, Packaging design and brochure what the brand needs to evaluate over costs is the skill set. Agencies typically comes up with a design and presents it on a computer and brand manager tends to be happy and excited with the design and once the artwork is released to the printer the output doesn't seem to be the same color they agreed.

Color is a way to differentiate and identify your company and products in a crowded marketplace

Anything that emits light (such as a computer screen, mobile screen) uses additive color, while anything that reflects light uses subtractive color. The basis of additive color is RGB (red, green, blue). Screens (and the light they produce) render color differently than ink on paper. Screens continually improve in resolution; which is why the design that looks great on a MacBook's Retina screen may not effectively be as attractive on a PC and wouldn't ever translate that well into print via the CMYK printing process (which may look dull). Hence a Preflight, Print Production evaluation of the Design and color locking phase is very important in the complete process.

A lot of time agencies lock the design without considering the print challenges, substrates, print process and converters machine capabilities. Imagine printing on a TIN using dry offset, not all designs can be reproduced well on a TIN substrate vs a poly for a pouch.

A print Production meeting in the beginning bridges the gaps and highlights the challenges that can be dealt in the initial part of the designs than regretting after being printed.

The second important part would be locking the colors.
What makes it more crucial in packaging color locking phase would be substrate and printing process. The designer who is creating your brand has to deal with all of these factors to create acceptable consistency in a less-than-perfect world. If there are multiple converters involved the quest for consistency necessarily becomes more complex; but under no circumstances should they print anything before a review.

Printing is not a Science; it is an Art and you need an Artist to guide you to attain the right expectation. Hence it's also ideal to have Print Management expert visit your Printer during the first print to approve the output, it's a common practice for the brand manager to visit the printer but remember they are not the artist!

While it's a lot of work to build color consistency into a brand, the results are well worth it, especially if a company wants to extend its presence into new mediums and markets.