DESIGNER’S DEN

DESIGNER’S DEN

Don’t have an ‘oscar oops’
Jo Saker says there can be consequences when some of the key points are taken for granted during new packaging creation

We all know how embarrassing it is when things go wrong. No-one wants to be Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announcing the wrong ‘best picture’ Oscar. Many people are involved in such a process, all of whom are accountable, and packaging is no different.
So how do we avoid errors in the world of packaging? There is no short answer to that question other than to use trusted partners and implement a robust process. I do however believe that there are some essential things that both designers and their clients can often lose sight of but which, when carefully adhered to, can ensure we don’t encounter what’s now becoming known as an ‘Oscar Oops’.
Firstly, agencies should never underestimate a good brief. Knowing exactly what the customer wants means fewer rounds of amends, lower costs and fewer misinterpretation errors.
Meanwhile, the producers and manufacturers giving their packaging brief to agencies or in-house teams need to bear in mind that people are not machines. We all make mistakes but, with trusted partners who know their customer and the process, errors will be greatly reduced.
Understanding the customer and understanding the consumer are two different concepts. Consumers don’t always buy the product while customers can include both retailers and purchasers. The packaging must work for all those who interact with it and be fit for purpose. This includes fitting on a retail shelf, with design and branding relevant to the product and consumer and cost appropriate packaging. If any of these are missed, then the product simply won’t sell. One of the most common mistakes is not understanding the limitations of the packaging until it’s too late, which can lead to delays to launch and increased cost. Always know the packaging limitations but work with specialists to push boundaries and achieve beautiful results.
Consider all packaging components. Another common mistake is only concentrating on the printed primary packaging. All components are vital to the success of the product. The correct selection should always complement the brand and its design. Errors ‘cheapen’ the end result
Stringent controls are required for legal compliance but all pack-copy, errors in spelling or incorrect labelling can lead to product recalls and have the potential to be fatal
There should be full visibility and stakeholder engagement throughout. Robust processes and systems are key to a successful product launch, allowing full visibility and engaging with all stakeholders to ensure they are fully aware and prepared for their stage.
Manage brand colours from the start. Brand colour consistency is often considered at the end of the graphics process. This needs to be propelled to the start of the design process. Consideration must be made to the variety of substrates and the printed colour and / or effect. If this is done from the start, there are no nasty surprises when packaging is printed.
We should never forget logistics. It is such a key part of the process and the traditional brown box is just as important. Size, weight and labelling are all vital to efficiency and cost.
Finally, mistakes inevitably happen but we must learn from them, and never forget to celebrate a successful launch.

Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall
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