Packaging design is an art and a science that involves a mix of graphic design, marketing, and technical skills. Packaging designers shape the visual identity of a product, as well as make sure it works well and stays safe. If you want to boost your packaging design skills this year, here are five ways to do so:
1. Keep up to date with the packaging market
Staying in the loop about packaging trends involves diving into the market. Exploring while shopping and researching lets me gather heaps of insights. I really enjoy roaming supermarkets, checking out new and delightful foods. It’s a way for me to grasp what’s hot and what folks fancy.
First off, I choose a supermarket that vibes with my potential customers. Imagine, if I’m eyeing to craft packaging for healthful snacks, I’d pick a store known for selling loads of natural and organic stuff. That way, I’m right where the inspiration is.
Once I’ve found the right spot, I jot down questions and stuff to watch. I ponder: Which foods get folks excited? How do the packages look and feel? Colors, pics, words on the packs—I pay attention. I notice how things sit on the shelves and how shoppers go about.
With my list in hand, I explore the store with care. I take notes, snaps, maybe vids to lock in what I see. Could be a notepad, my phone, or a cool camera. All the while, I’m cautious not to disturb others or store staff. I want everyone to have a smooth shopping time.
After I’ve gathered tons of info from various stores and products, I review it all. I search for patterns and standout things. It helps me spot what tweaks I could make to my packaging designs. Like piecing together a puzzle. This way, my future designs have a shot at being super successful.
2. Study dieline templates
Glad to hear you’re back from the store! Find anything cool? It’s amazing what we learn from the packages we bring home. Those everyday boxes? They have dielines, which are like blueprints showing how the packaging’s folded and cut. Designers and makers dig dielines. They’re a goldmine for style and function clues.
Wanna make your own dieline for a cool design? Check out those boxes you got. Study how they’re built. This helps you mimic their sizes and shapes when you make your own stuff.
Ready to dive in? Start by grabbing a box or package like the one you want to create. Say you’re into making a cornflakes box—your Kellogg’s box is a perfect template. Open it up carefully where the glue or tape holds it. Be gentle to keep it whole. Lay it flat on a table or the floor.
Now, the dieline pops up, showing panels, tabs, slots, and flaps. Draw it out on paper or a computer. For the old-school way, grab a pencil, ruler, and scissors. If you’re tech-savvy, try tools like Illustrator. Mark the lines for cutting and folding in different colors or styles. Measure each bit carefully for accuracy.
To tweak it later for your special thing, jot down the sizes on the dieline or another sheet. You might need to make it bigger, smaller, or add/remove parts for your design. Plan for extra space for edges, gluing, and all that. When you’re happy, save it as a fancy file like PDF or AI. For a pic, convert it to a JPG or PNG. To see how it looks, print it on paper and try it out.
3. Surfing packaging design inspiration websites
Staying updated on the ever-changing packaging design scene becomes effortless with online platforms curating a plethora of global design showcases. These digital hubs are like treasure chests, helping you discover new ideas, learn from experts, and get feedback from a lively community.
Various websites cater to different aspects of packaging design—sustainability, branding, function, and style. Among these, The Dieline stands out, a global design community brimming with inspiration. It’s not just about beautiful designs; it’s a place for industry news, updates on eco-friendly packaging, design trends, and it even hosts its own packaging conferences, events, and awards.
Then there’s Packaging of the World, where over 20,000 packaging designers worldwide bring their creativity together. This dynamic site lets you dive in, exploring designs by categories, materials, countries, or keywords. As you browse, let designs that resonate with your style catch your eye. Use filters like categories, dates, views, or ratings, or dive into keywords and hashtags to uncover themes that pique your interest.
Take time to study designs that truly captivate you, dissecting their essence to figure out what makes them shine or fall short. Packaging is a mix of elements—shape, style, materials, size, colors, fonts, images, function, ease of use, originality, and how logos fit in. With this knowledge, dig into the descriptions and reviews alongside the designs. Immerse yourself in the feedback from both designers and the wider community. Some platforms, like Packaging of the World, even let you connect directly with other designers who might share insights.
Think of these design websites as endless sources of reference and inspiration. They’re a place to challenge yourself too. And why not consider showcasing your own designs? Share your work on these platforms to get noticed and celebrated for your creative efforts.
4. Create concept design projects to practice your skills
Looking to boost your packaging design skills? Dive into concept design projects for learning. Craft designs for made-up products, brands, or clients. It’s creative and showcases your work.
Pick a concept project that suits your skill level and interests. Find projects on Behance, Dribbble, or Packaging of the World. Or make your own project, choose a product, brand, or client you like.
Enrich your concept with tools like Google Trends, Statista. Get data for relevant designs. Explore real places too, like stores, websites, or supermarkets. See how similar products are packaged. Keep your project in mind; inspiration can come anytime. Use tools like mind maps, mood boards, Pinterest to organize ideas. For visuals, use tools like Canva, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape. Create digital sketches or mockups.
Embrace the process, challenge yourself, let imagination flow. Each concept project hones skills, shows your abilities. Share your art without limits. Get creative, craft innovative packaging designs that touch hearts and minds.
5. Choosing the right mockups
Ever thought about using packaging mockups to really show off your carefully crafted designs? They’re like the magic touch that takes your packaging game up a notch, making your work look super polished and professional.
But hold on a sec – finding the perfect mockup can be a bit of a puzzle. It’s like putting together a jigsaw, needing some thought and a good eye.
So here’s the scoop: start by picking a mockup that matches what you’ve designed. If you’ve created a sleek bottle, well, go for a mockup that’s all about bottles. It’s a no-brainer, really. For those clean and classy designs, look out for mockups with simple backgrounds and soft lighting that matches your colors. Your choice of mockup should match your presentation vibe. If you’re wowing clients or customers, grab a mockup that makes your design ooze authenticity and charm. If it’s print or web you’re after, go for a high-quality mockup that really makes your design pop. And if you’re diving into online portfolios or digital platforms, scout for mockups that bring out your fun and unique style. Think about angles and views that make people do a double-take. And hey, Packreate’s got you covered – they’ve got loads of mockups to choose from, giving your projects a serious boost.
In the journey of honing your packaging design skills, these five strategies act as guiding lights, illuminating a path of continuous growth and creativity. Embrace these techniques, and watch your designs evolve into captivating works of art that leave a lasting impact.