C9 Understanding of packaging design

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge 2

Current working level 2

Having previously studied Packaging Design I would like to, or perhaps hope to think I had a reasonable amount of knowledge on the subject.

First and foremost a packages main aim is to contain a product,  this could be for security purposes on expensive items like an i-pod, or it could be simply for practical purposes such as a bag of apples.  A package can be used to project a products information,  perhaps the first thing a person notices on a package is the brand, this can come in the way of a well-known graphic such as coca-cola or even a colour such as the Cadbury’s purple.  However, the information on the package could be a legal requirement such as the amount of alcoholic units contained within a can of beer, or the weight of a food item.  Of course if you don’t know the brand, the most important information featured on the packet could actually be telling you whats inside!

When constructing a package you need to think about facilitating a products storage.  Is it going to be able to protect and store the product safely?  What will be the most cost-effective way of transporting as many products at one time?  How many of the product can you get onto one shelf at a time?  How many items can a store hold of your product?

This can often have a bearing on a packages design.   Designers may want to produce an innovative package but they will be given strict guidelines as to the maximum cubic centimetre they are allowed to design within.  If we think of how a product lines up on a shop shelf they are usually all in rows.  The shape of the package and therefore the way it can be laid out is aimed at maximizing  the amount that can be transported at any one time for minimal cost.  As well as the amount that can be fitted on a shelf at one time or stored in the least amount of space thus leading to bigger potential profits.

ready for the shelf

When designing the package you need to think of how it is going to be constructed.  What design or shape is going to hold the product effectively yet use the least amount of packaging and therefore be the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly.  You need to think about the materials a package is constructed in.  First of all will it be for practicality or will it be for strength and security.  Will any further wrapping or structure be needed within the outer packaging to contain the product safely?  Health and Safety is a huge issue so things like any sharp edges on the packaging need to be assessed.  Is there any inner items or small things that need to be clearly marked that could be hazardous to an adult or childs health?

Environmentally the government are extremely strict on the type of packaging that can be produced.   You must ensure that the packaging you use complies with environmental regulations. The weight and volume of the packaging must be the minimum necessary, and the packaging must be recoverable by recycling, incineration or composting. There are also limits on the level of heavy metals that can be present. All of these are important things needed to consider when designing your packaging.

So far I have had experience of  developing design drawings and creating net cardboard packages and also plastic vacuum forming.  Also creating prototypes, turning wood and sign foam and creating the labels on Photoshop through briefs given to me by various companies at Sheffield Hallam University.

Whether or not I will get the opportunity to produce my own packaging remains to be seen although there is no harm in considering the way my products can be packaged, especially if they were designed to be mass produced as packaging itself is a key component to housing and advertising with many factors that need to be considered to make the packaging viable.

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