Does your printed packaging ever fail to meet the brand vision? Do colours not come out as expected? Does your packaging look lacklustre on the shelf? Unfortunately, these scenarios all too familiar to many marketing and brand managers today.
Another common issue is inconsistencies in packaging colour across a product range - especially when multiple printers and suppliers are used. Unfortunately, these small variations in colour or design are amplified on the supermarket shelf, and in turn, negatively impact sales.
These quality problems are often the result of mistakes made during the packaging design to print process, such as moving forward with concept designs that are not achievable on the press, using artwork files that are set up incorrectly, or receiving inaccurate proofs. Unfortunately, the result is disappointing packaging.
Lucky for you, these mistakes are easily avoidable. Packaging perfection is possible if you follow our top 3 tips:
Top tip #1 – Find out if your master packaging design can be printed
The easiest way to improve print quality is to involve your production partners early in the master design stage.
They should be able to work with your brand agency to identify any potential problem areas for printing and suggest alternatives before designs are finalised. Remember, not all designs will work across different pack sizes or packaging materials, and designs may print differently on each printing press used.
Your production partner should also recommend the right colour strategy and most suitable printing method for a high-quality print.
Top tip #2 – Demand designers with the right technical skills and print expertise
Creating finished artwork is more than just applying the master design to different packaging formats.
Mistakes made during the artwork stage can result in visual inconsistencies across the product range. It’s a very technical process that needs to be done correctly to ensure you get high quality packaging.
The truth is every printing press prints differently. Therefore the only way to ensure consistency across a product range is to customise each artwork file to the press it will be printed on.
For the best result, it’s critical to use a technical designer with an eye for detail and in-depth knowledge of the printing process. They will collect the unique printing press specifications from each printer and build every artwork file accordingly. They’ll also lay out all the design elements correctly within the dielines to get maximum printing and brand consistency.
Top tip #3 – Get the proofing right
Colour can look one way when viewed on screen, and entirely different when printed at full size on the final packaging material.
Proofing is an essential step in ensuring you get a high-quality print. Proofing allows you to see how the colours in your design will look printed, and gives you the opportunity to make modifications to ensure that the final printed result meets your brand vision. It’s far better to make any alterations at this stage than chance it, leaving the press operator to try to fix issues.
The proof is also necessary because it becomes the colour target that the printer uses to match the colours on press.
But unfortunately, not all proofs are created equal. If your current proofing supplier is using non-certified proofing, then it is very likely that the colours can’t be matched precisely by the printer. And the result is colours that don't come out right and disappointing final packaging.
Ask your proofer to provide ISO certified proofs, because they guarantee colour consistency no matter which printer is used. All your printer has to do is use them as a colour target.