What does a packaging designer do?
What does a
packaging designer do?
Besides hide underneath their desk
I love packaging. It's one of the reasons why I go to the grocery store multiple times a week. At RISD, it was one of my favourite classes (taught by the wonderful, hawk-eyed Aki Nurosi) and I love how it is a combination of prototyping, colour-application, material selection, and designing. While job-hunting I treasured it as one of my many possible career routes: Book designer! Trader Joes packaging designer! Film title designer!
I never imagined that I'd be a part of the cosmetic industry and I'm learning a lot about business, the start-up culture, and how cash flow > aesthetics. My designated title is "Junior Marketing Manager," but as our small design & marketing team currently consists just of yours truly, a priority of mine is designing skincare products. Our products can be described as minimal, travel-friendly, and clinical.
Concept, prototype, SKU
Skincare has its staples: sunblock, creams, face wash, etc. But before a product becomes a full-fledged SKU it begins, as most creative projects do, as a concept.
What is it? Face wash or face serum
Who is it for? Teenagers with acne or busy working millennials
What will it be packaged in? Plastic airless bottle or glass dropper bottle
What will the quantity be? 15ml, 30ml, or even larger?
Where will it be sold? Online (e-commerce) or in-store
The conceptual stage is the most fun because you have the most freedom. Cost isn't a factor, yet. Once a draft is ready (this could be as simple as a scanned sketch or a more refined AI file) we send it to printing and manufacturing vendors to get a quote.
Mockups & Mockups & more Mockups
This is my favourite part! I find peace in assembling mockups. It’s repetitive and therapeutic — printing and cutting and taping pieces together. Resources, namely paper and ink, are easily eaten up during this part. I honestly don't see a way around this because you can't gauge distances on screen.
Is it optically balanced?
Is the kerning too tight?
Should I make the logo slightly larger?
Does the barcode sit a little too close to the die line?
Is there enough space for the batch code to be printed?