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Creating stunning pack designs - 10 Top Tips

1. Positioning – spend a lot of time and brain power deciding how you want your product to be positioned in the market in which it is to compete. Conduct a brand positioning exercise to help define the product. The more time spent at this stage getting the right positioning, the less time you will spend later on in the process

2. Market – as part of the positioning exercise, you will need to decide which market your product will compete in. Define the market and the key, direct competitors in the market

3. Target audience – also, as part of the positioning exercise, you will need to decide who your product is to be aimed at. The classic A, B, C demographic classifications are not very helpful today. A better way is to describe the typical person who you intend will purchase your product

4. Product personality – the description of the typical purchaser will help you to define the product personality. Is it fun or serious, irreverent or respectful, quirky or straight, sophisticated or unrefined?

5. Design brief – the four stages above form the basis of the design brief. The brief should include relevant background to the product, positioning, market, target audience, personality, product name, description, varieties, possible line extensions, timings. Brief the design agency in person. Talk through the brief and let the agency ask as many questions as they want

6. Timings – be realistic. Graphic design is a considered process that needs time to perfect. The initial concept stage, in particular, requires time - at least three weeks. It is important not to rush the process. Agree timescales with the agency at the outset of the project

7. Be open-minded – we can’t help having ideas of what we think the pack design should look like but often these won’t be right. Graphic designers are the experts – they know what design is right for the given brief. When I was a client, my policy was that if the agency came back with a design that matched my own idea it probably wasn’t right and the brief had not been explored sufficiently. When pushed the agency all delivered a better design

8. Assess against brief – assess all concept designs, and later developments to the chosen concept, against the brief. On numerous occasions we have had comments back on designs that bear no resemblance to the brief. These are meaningless because the concepts have been designed to the brief

9. One point of contact – involve all key decision makers from the outset, including approval of the brief. One person, the project lead, should collate feedback at each stage from all parties to pass on to the agency. Direct contact by more than one person can be very confusing and result in unnecessary work

10.Keep momentum – a sure fire way of not achieving the optimum design is by not maintaining project momentum. Take time to ponder and review designs but do not leave too long a time between stages

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