FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND REPRODUCTION FILES

  • What type of image is it?  Is it a photographic image with continuous tones or is it a graphic design image with solid color, crisp edges, and line art.
  • How is it going to be reproduced? Professional printing, office printing, and screen display have different file requirements.  Some documents may be viewed on screen or printed out.
  • What color space is it needed?  Color information is included in a file and interpret by the output device.  Professional printing techniques use spot color inks (such as Pantone) of four-color process inks, which builds color out of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK).  Color inkjet or laser printers use CMYK toner.
  • Screens display color with red, blue, and green points of light (RGB).  Hex numbers designate RGB colors for HTML code.
  • What program is being used?  It is important to know the program being used to ensure compatibility and to facilitate use of vector artwork whenever possible.
  • I can’t open it!  Unless you are going to modify the artwork in a design program, image files should be inserted or placed, not opened.
  • I can’t find it! Files should be named as concisely and informatively as possible so they can be understood at a glance.  Consistency is imperative for grouping common attributes and distinguishing unique ones.

File format basics:

  • Vector graphics: hard-edged images created in a drawing program.  Because they are based on mathematically defined lines and curves, they can be manipulated and scaled without losing reproduction quality.
  • EPS: Encapsulate PostScript, Vector graphics created in a drawing program are saved or exported as EPS files so that they can be placed into other applications.  The highest-quality output for graphic images with hard edges.  Printers must have Adobe PostScript.  When vector graphics are saved as TIF, JPG, or other bitmap file format, the hard-edged lines and curves are converted to pixels.  EPS files created in Adobe Photoshop are bitmap images and will lose clarity when scale or printed.
  • Raster or bitmap: Read or bitmap images are continuous-tone images that are constructed mapping of pixels.  These images cannot be scaled, rotated, or skewed outside of an image-editing application without the loss of reproduction quality.
  • Tif, Tag Image File Format: Highest-quality output for photographic images.  Best bitmaps version of hard-edged graphics–alternative to EPS when an Adobe PostScript printer is unavailable.  Convenient for exchanging image files between computer platforms.
  • JPG, Joint Photographic Experts Group-Compressed file format for on-screen viewing of continuous-tone photographs.  Compression adds “artifacts” and smears text, lines, and edges.  Not suitable for printing.
  • GIF, Graphics Interchange Format: Compressed file format for on-screen viewing of graphics and images in HTML.  Not suitable for printing.
  • PNG: Portable Network Graphic

Resolution

The resolution of digital imagery is measured in pixels per inch (ppi), the digital equivalent of dots per inch (dpi).  The end use of the image is critical for determining the optimum resolution.  For printing, the higher the resolution the more detail and clarity there is to the image, and the larger the file is in terms of memory.  Offset printing typically requires 300-ppi resolution.  For screen display, the pixels in the image map directly to the pixels on the screen.  Images for screen display should be 72 ppi (Mac) or 96 ppi (PC), but the physical dimensions will be affected by the resolution of the display itself.

File naming conventions

File names should have no more than fifteen characteristics plus a three-letter file extension (.eps, .jpg, .gif, .doc) indicating what type of file it is.  Do not use uppercase, spaces, or special characters, such as “/ : * <>.  Use a period only before the file extension suffix.  Create a system for organizing and identifying those variations of the artwork that are required for different applications, such as signature, color, subrand entity, and file format.

Award Ideas:

Beverage Packaging Global Design Awards

International Brand Packaging Awards

Packaging Design Council International

Paperboard Packaging Council

Color Symbolism by Culture:

Red

  • China: Good luck, celebration, summoning
  • India: Purity
  • Mexico: Religion
  • Egypt: Luck
  • Iran: Good Fortune
  • South Africa: Color of mourning
  • Eastern: Worn by brides
  • Western: Excitement, danger, love, passion, stop, Christmas (with green)

Yellow

  • China: Nourishing, royalty
  • Egypt: Mourning
  • India: Merchants, commerce
  • Japan: Courage
  • Eastern: Proof against evil, for the dead, sacred, imperial
  • Western: Hope, hazards, coward, weakness, taxis
  • Mexico: Mourning
  • Ethiopia: Mourning
  • South Africa: Wealth
  • Saudi Arabia: Strength, reliability

Design tips:

Richer colors and more vibrant imagery on redesigned labels enhance taste appeal and product quality.  A die-cut shape adds depth and draws attention to banners.  A die-cut shape adds depth and draws attention to banners.  Yellow acts as a violator to emphasize the flavor variety.

COLOR: QR Codes are most commonly displayed as a black code on white because it provides the greatest contrast.  This is a best practice because it has the best scan reliability.  A reversed QR Code is not advised as many QR code readers cannot read the code and not all barcode readers will support this without the contrast.  So try to stick with black to reach the largest audience for marketing campaigns.

SIZE: For most smart phones, the relationship between scan distance and minimum QR code size is approximately 10:1 so a 2.5cm (1 inch).  Small, complex QR codes are the biggest mistake currently being made by marketers.  Smartphone cameras with resolution less than 4-megapixels can’t scan a QR code smaller than about 1″x1.”  Moreover, without the auto-focus (AF) camera feature, a complex QR code will have the same scanning issue, even if the code is larger. The iPhone 3GS and Blackberry are popular handset examples that lack both of these camera features. Unscannable codes kill and delay the adoption rate for 2D barcode campaigns.  As small as ¾ inch is smallest recommended for best practices.  Also, the more complex the code, the larger it should be.

Sources:

http://qfuse.com/learning/qr-code-best-practices

http://blog.barcoding.com/2010/10/qr-codes-can-they-be-reversed-out/

http://www.qrstuff.com/blog/2011/01/18/what-size-should-a-qr-code-be

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2066777/Top-14-Things-Marketers-Need-to-Know About-QR-Codes

Bilingual Packaging

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064904.htm#bilingual

THE PACKAGING DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Clair goals and positioning

Establish goals and define the problem  Brand Equity and Competition.  Existing brands in product line.  Price point and target consumer.  Product benefit.

Conduct Audits and Identify Expert team

Competitive (category), Retail (point of sale), Brand (internal, existing product line) Packaging designer, packaging engineer, packaging engineer, packaging manufacturers, industrial designers, regulatory legal department

Conduct research as needed

Understand brand equity, determine brand standards, examine brand architecture, clarify target consumer, confirm need for product–does product benefit resonate?  Confirm language–how should benefit be expressed?

Research legal requirements

Brand and corporate standards: product-specific, net weight, drug facts, nutrition facts, ingredients, warnings, and claims.

Research functional criteria

Product stability, tamper of theft resistance, shelf footprint, durability, usage, packability, fillability

Determine printing specs

Method: flexo, litho, root; Application: direct, label, shrink-wrap label; Other: number of colors, divinyl, UPC code, minimums for knockouts, etc.

Determine structural design

Design new structure or use stock?, Choose forms (i.e., carton, bottle, can, tube, jar, tin, blister packs), Choose possible materials, substrates, or finishes, source stock and get samples

Finalize Copy

Product name, benefit copy, ingredients, nutrition facts/drug facts, net contents, claims, warnings, distributed by, manufactured in, UPC Code

Design and prototype

Start with face panels (2D renderings), get prototypes made, narrow option(s), design rest of packaging, simulate reality: use actual structure/substrate with contents

Evaluate solution and manage production

In a retail/competitive environment, As a member of the product line, consumer testing finalize files, oversee production

Books to read:

The elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane

SEO and Content Strategy for Designers by Mark O’Brien

The Web Designer’s Content Strategy DesignCast series by Mark O’Brien

A Website that Works by Mark O’Brien

A Guide to Business Principles and Practices for Interior Designers by Harry Siegel

Financial Management for Design professionals by Lowell Getz

A good source of information about using language skills in the design field is Creative Communications for a Successful Design Practice by Stephen A. Kliment.

Also read The Art of Plain Talk by Rudolph Flesch

Dale Carnegie course

Graphic Arts Term Guide For Marketers

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