Package Design


You are a graphic designer working for a graphic design company that specializes in package design. A national corporation needs a package design developed. The client is looking for a creative solution which communicates the mood, spirit and personality of the product / company. The copy specifications and logo will be supplied by the client. The client would like to see 3 completely different creative approaches. The Art Director will then sign off on one of the roughs for final production.

You will work with your art director on research, idea exploration, and concept development. You will submit thumbnails to the art director, who will then choose 3 concepts to develop into 3 tight roughs. Once the roughs have been approved by the art director, the client will select one for the final comp.

The client would also like to present the prototype design to the board of directors and has asked that a photograph be taken to distribute at the meeting. You will be working with your production manager to shoot the package design prototype in an on-site studio. You will need to:

1. Meet with your production manager, discuss job parameters, and set up studio time.

2. Provide industry examples to your production manager of potential lighting situations.

3. After a rough has been chosen, provide sketches to indicate the following to your production manager...

- depth of field

- photographic crop

- props used

- camera angle

- lighting

4. Be prepared for the studio by having... a) sketches, b) well crafted prototype, and c) props at the agreed upon studio time in order to shoot and art direct the photography.

In order to make sure that the job is scheduled appropriately, prints correctly and all electronic files are configured correctly you will be in close contact with the Production Manager. The final comprehensive design of the package will need to simulate the final printed package as closely as possible. The client has asked that all of the digital files be delivered at the completion of the project.

Student Examples: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Design Process:

  1. Choose a specific product to re-design. Fill out and submit a creative brief.
  2. Think critically and problem solve.
  3. Research and collect examples of well designed package designs to clarify conclusions in design thinking by choosing examples that clearly indicates...
    • creative usage of materials
    • harmony when displayed in multiples
    • unique typography
    • tangible / textural qualities
    • interactivity and creates an experience | 1 | 2 |
    • a perceived value

      Create folders on the server for the following examples:
      Materials, Typography, Interactivity, and Visual Analogy
  4. Communicate concept / composition using thumbnail sketches that ...
    • are fast and undetached
    • drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • conveys an entirely separate or different creative concept
    • shows emphasis, balance, rhythm, unity
    • shows use of Gestalt principles: similarity, proximity, continuation, closure, figure/ground
    • conveys composition, sizing and position
    • shows that you can come up with more then one good idea
    • shows the relationship between graphic elements
    • shows general shapes of graphic elements
    • indicates photographic or illustrative imagery
  5. Submit a style board for each of your rough designs that...
    • shows thinking as it relates to the design principles
    • states the objective and your creative strategy
    • clearly shows quality and award winning industry examples
    • clearly shows creative usage of typography
    • clearly shows usage of a minimum of 3 design elements (ie: color, line, shape, texture, value, spatial depth)
    • has a visual hierarchy and is organized on a grid structure
  6. Develop creative design solutions that demonstrate effective use of the elements and principles of design by incorporating the elements into three rough designs.
  7. Create a package design that expresses the personality or spirit of the event through the creative concept, imagery, typography and materials used.
  8. Communicate refined concept, detailed composition and typographic formatting of designs using tight roughs that...
    • work off of one of the previous thumbnail sketches
    • are drawn in proportion or actual size
    • convey type choice
    • convey type size, spacing and leading
    • indicate usage of color
    • convey photographic or illustrative imagery
    • are each an entirely different creative concept
    • are computer generated
    • indicates interactivity of packaged design by user
    • is harmonious when displayed in multiples
    • indicates 3D dimensional shape of package
  9. Create sketches of a product still life that communicate...
    • various lighting situations
    • various / different photographic crops of product
    • various perspective angles (birds eye view, worms eye view, etc)
    • product with various props
    • supplying your production managere with 3 tight sketches prior to studio time
  10. Develop / research copyright free illustrative or photographic images to incorporate into the rough designs.
  11. Deliver a digital comprehensive design that...
    • is printed out in color (flat) to be marked up.
      Note: For production purposes... The design must fit a 13"x19" sheet of paper.
    • is well crafted and presentable (glued, taped or spray mounted)
    • is in prototype form (can be sized down)
    • shows visual hierarchy within the body text (usage of book, italics, bold, line / implied line, or shape for type reversal)
    • indicates usage of the design elements: line, shape, texture, value, spatial depth
    • indicates usage of manual tracking, kerning and leading
    • includes logo
    • has been spell checked
    • is as close to the finished printed piece as possible
    • includes the actual physical container (Note: digital comp may or may not be included on container. Final mock-up will be shot in studio.)
  12. Art direct photo shoot in a professional manner by...
    • listening to your production manager
    • speaking politely
    • being prepared during studio time by bringing sketches, props and final product design
    • showing up on-time at the scheduled studio time
    • making sure the photographic composition is cropped for the final 8"x10" photo
    • being prepared and providing all necessary props for photo
  13. Be productive and use studio (class) time effectively by...
    • attending all class sessions
    • showing up with research materials
    • participating in concept development
    • using class time as an opportunity to get the job done
  14. Assess your work and make appropriate revisions by...
    • gaining peer feedback at the rough stage
    • gaining peer feedback at the digital comp stage
  15. Produce a package design that indicates entry level graphic design by completing the list of items above.

Design Technology

  1. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  2. Create typographic, Illustrative and/or photographic imagery on the package design that is...
    • visually kerned and leaded
    • Bezier curves are smooth and precise
    • photographic imagery is cropped, in proper resolution and non-distorted
    • set in the correct resolution to print (300ppi)
  3. Produce key lines and digital artwork for pre-press operations that are correct in order for the package design to reproduce well by...
    • indicating die cuts on artwork to create irregular shapes in paper or paperboard for production of a die
    • indicating die cut on artwork in red
    • indicating die cut layer does not print
    • separate die cut layer, indicating die cuts as red lines on artwork, named die cut does not print
  4. Save all image files in an image folder within the job folder before placing them to ensure proper links.
  5. Determine technical issues for mock-up and final printed product by thinking ahead in terms of materials, printing and physically creating the final comprehensive package design.
  6. Create and package final files correctly using a print preparation checklist.
  7. Save files for a printer by...
    • packaging all page layout files, graphics, and fonts
    • using logical naming conventions
    • putting files on the server in the appropriate location as specified by your instructor
    • Prepare PDF versions for archiving (smallest file size).
  8. Photoshoot requirements...
    • single
    • multiple
    • multiple with box
    • single with box
  9. Work directly with a professional photo lab service (R&R Printing) and order two 8"x10" luster prints (one for mounting & one for your portfolio).
  10. Mount your work to a black presentation board centered to fit 12"x14" and hand into your instructor.
  11. Submit final photo as .jpg file for archive.




  1. Mind maps


  1. Key line : Die lines :

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