Packaging: Why creative and structural design must be connected, especially when remote working

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Spark considers the benefit of bringing end-to-end packaging process together.

When it comes to packaging, one of the biggest challenges for brands is fragmented agency relationships. Aside from the admin load and multiple handoffs this creates for marketing teams (all amplified in an era of remote working), there are numerous technical and operational stumbling blocks that it creates. A frequently seen example is the disconnect between concept or creative design on the one side, and structural engineering and manufacturing execution on the other. This is often down to how internal departments themselves have historically been segmented; creative design might sit with marketing, while translation of that design into an actual package, and the manufacturing of that package, might lie with operations. At first glance, that might seem sensible. But on closer look, there’s a lot that can drop between the two, especially when they’re not in the same building, let alone sitting next to each other.

Why? Simply put, there’s little point in falling for (and paying for) a stunning design that falters during feasibility analysis because the material chosen cannot do what you’re asking of it. Or passes material feasibility, but the cost per unit turns out to be excessive. Or it accelerates both these tests – but requires you to invest millions in the necessary machinery to manufacture. Of course by now you’re so far down the line, you either bite the bullet on the capex, or face your retailers’ wrath (not to mention upstream internal stakeholders).

Perhaps brands got away with this in the past, back when they could dictate consumers’ choices through product availabilities, and therefore set their own timelines. Mistakes could be revisited and corrected. But today, brands must be faster, leaner and more agile to respond to consumer’s ever-changing demands – and the flux in operating conditions we’re living through now. Any flab in process becomes a critical burden, any disconnect a stumbling block. The answer lies in bringing consideration of the downstream execution into the upstream concept and creative design. It’s a simple concept that yields big results.

Here’s creative project director, Pan Pantelli, to explain more:

Bringing the end-to-end packaging process together, under a single partner with expertise from creative design to structural engineering and supply chain management, means designs can meet your creative objections, deliverable within the given operational, and financial parameters. It enables consideration of everything from the cost per unit, to capex and print locations upfront, optimising timelines and costs, and gives you full visibility in advance. No surprises then.

The result is a faster and more cost-effective end-to-end, without compromising creativity. And having a partner throughout the process who is on your side and without allegiance to any particular printer or manufacturer ensures optimum, market-leading solutions that help you beat the market – even in the most challenging of macro operating conditions.

Sarah Craig, Regional VP - Europe at Spark.

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