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Blister Packaging

Wed, Dec 21, 2005

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One of the best things about working in an advertising agency is the variation of work available. I was able to work on blister packaging for Wattmaster tools as part of a product-launching campaign.

Questions I asked myself before starting the job included:

1. Was there any corporate branding or style manual I was to use?
2. What materials was the packaging to be printed on?
3. Were there any specifications/cost limitations regarding printing?
4. What size and shape were the items to be packaged?
5. Were there any other requirements for the packaging?

1. Style Manual

In this case, decease I was furnished with a style manual which provided me with CMYK corporate colours, the logo typeface and examples of how to implement the corporate banding (see image). Formulae were created to help adjust the corporate banding to the size of the package.

2. Materials

Printing was to be in Asia on a four-colour printing press as it was cost-competitive. The CMYK printing was on a card backing and the transparent plastic blister would seal the item to the backing.

3. Printing Limitations

I felt that by printing in the least amount of colours possible (ie, the corporate colours on the front and black on the back) would help cut additional plate costs, hence by converting all CMYK to spot colours, were were able to use two inks and two plates instead of four of each. This process can help with most printing jobs except digital ones. It is also handy to use spot colours to get the exact hue and shade of colour that is required.

4. Item Shape & Size

The client provided the actual items to be packaged, so it was easy enough to measure the items and create mockups to sit the items on. The main problem was fitting the subheadings aroung the blister packs, so we made some backing larger or text smaller and maintained the rest of the corporate style for all packs.

5. Other Requirements

The packaging was destinied for a retail environment and required barcodes, product line numbers and hooks. I used a simple program like Barcode Pro to create the barcodes (the client supplied the number) and designed the rest in Adobe Illustrator CS as it helped to have vector images available for resizing. I designed the hooks in white on the front and black on the back to help them stand out in mockups. The client provided the product numbers, which I typed in on the bottom of the packaging. For the final version, I removed the hooks after printing a draft for the printer, and also added bleed on all edges. The files were sent as Illustrator .ai and .eps files, along with a hard copy to the printers.

Packaging was a fun experience for me as it was the result of months of cumulative work for the same client and it was great to get mockups organised quickly by using formula and specifications for a change instead of free art. There was always an oddly shaped item which made everyone rack their brains for packaging ideas, but we got there in the end!

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