Packaging a Start-up, Part 1: Budgets

A checklist for start-ups of all sizes considering packaging their product.

Ready to launch a start-up? Learn why to consider your packaging earlier, and collaborate with experts to cross the finish line on time. Start-ups must consider every investment’s impact on your launch date as well as your finances both short term and long. The earlier you consider packaging, the more time you’ll have for R&D (research and development), and to revise, learn from failed tests, and redirect goals—all of which are par for the course with every start-up. Here are 5 considerations to make when defining your start-up packaging budget.

What is automated machine-made packaging and why should I care?

Machine-made packaging is produced 100% on high speed equipment that will yield predetermined default structures. This may be the least customizable packaging, but it may also be the most cost effective to get you started. Today there are many automated machines able to produce beautiful bags, folding boxes, semi-rigid boxes, in either 1- or 2-piece constructions. By using default or pre-existing box designs you save on the high costs of tooling, and may be able to reduce your initial MOQ (minimum order quantities).

Using default packaging reduces costs for both you and your competitors alike, making brand differentiation possible through visual design.

Batch Olive Oil

The benefits of hand-assembled packaging

Hand-assembled packaging requires skilled labor to hand wrap, fold, glue, and complete each package via an assembly line. The higher cost of manual labor will increase your packaging costs, require higher MOQs, and deliver completely custom structures. To ensure there are no delays in production, make sure your structural package design team is experienced in mass production methods of all materials.

Combine hand-assembled custom packaging with machine-made components such as inserts to get the best of both worlds and stretch your start-up dollars.

Build a foundation with structural package design first

Because each printing process from offset CMYK, to foil stamped embossed details, incur its own set of charges, it is critical to design your product packaging structures prior to visual design. Structural design will determine the end-user’s experience, materials, size and proportions, and the order in which the product is revealed. By starting with structure first, you can establish baseline costs of materials and tooling, timeline to manufacture, as well as maximize the user experience by creating a layered reveal to be supported by visual design. Note; that if your product requires inserts, you will incur additional costs for sample molds, and mass production molds, as well as increase your lead times.

By outlining 80% of your packaging costs, structural design provides the data to manage your budget.




Twist Light Bulbs

How will your product get put into your package?

Fulfillment is a critical detail to address early in the design process. Efficiently designed packaging can reduce fulfillment costs and allow you to repurpose those savings into the actual package design for a more memorable user experience. On the flip-side, packaging designed without consideration for the fulfillment process can incur extra costs to pack your product due to an overly complex user experience at the fulfillment center. Always connect your fulfillment center with your structural packaging designers so that process efficiencies may be developed from inception.

Fulfillment doesn’t just happen, it must be designed for.

Why you should leave visual design til the end

Understanding everything involved in determining a packaging budget allows you to speak intelligently to the packaging requirements in order to clearly guide your visual design team. Packaging design is broken into two phases: structural design and graphic design. Structural design is responsible for mapping out the user experience, product protection, and manufacturing details including materials, processes, and assembly. The final deliverable from a structural design firm will be dielines, samples, and baseline production costs. Structural prototype samples can be used to test fitment, product protection, fulfillment, and user experience. Graphic design is responsible for communicating the brand promise, guiding the consumer, visual artistry, and differentiation. By defining the key cost drivers in your packaging and establishing a budget early on, you maximize visual design’s ability to create a memorable unveiling experience by providing well informed parameters.

Once your budgets and processes are in place, visual design can create a more meaningful experience for the user by exploiting the unveiling process outlined by structure. Never leave your packaging to the bitter end, the earlier you consider it the more successful your launch will be.

Evelio Mattos
Evelio Mattos is the Creative Director of both Design Packaging Inc., and FORMA Structural Packaging. His reputation as one of the leading structural and visual packaging designers for international retail brands has led to collaborative partnerships spanning industries from tech, fashion & beauty, to include wine & spirits.

His team of directors, graphic artists, industrial designers, and Creative Production artists, are involved in the development of powerful user-centric branded retail experiences. Together they strategically identify packaging users to include distribution centers, fulfillment staff, retail associates, and the ultimate user…the consumer.

Evelio’s experience in streamlining and retooling manufacturing processes has led to launching the first ever “Creative Production” team. The team’s focus is twofold: Structural Functionality, and Print Optimization. By applying these two principles, his team is able to deliver the designer’s on-screen expectation to an in-hand experience.

“Good design creates opportunity, the parameters we set define the space in which we design.”

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

SPRICE Is the Refreshing Ice Treat You Need For Summer

Amsterdam-based agency MAS designed the packaging for SPRICE, a new line of natural ice treats that bring a fun and fresh approach to popsicle packaging.

“Ice and vegetables? A downright feast! This summer, &samhoud will be introducing 100% natural ice, brimming with organic fruit and greens and topped off with a whiff of honey. There are two variants: orange & carrot and cucumber & lime with fresh-wrapping by branding & packaging agency MAS. 
Named SPRICE, these new ice products can be found in the refrigerated section of supermarkets. SPRICE packings were given a fresh & cheerful ring by providing elements that convey the characteristic &samhoud food style. For the to-go packing it was opted for a rectangular box instead of a plastic flowpack, making it surprising as well as distinctive – just like the ice inside. The box moreover allows sufficient room to indicate the product details in a fresh, inviting way in the form of illustrations. The ice portrayed on the lid is a true-to-life picture. In short: What you see is what you get.”

“A multipack was developed especially for retail purposes. The 4-pack depicts the &samhoud philosophy in a welcoming and persuasive way. Also, it is crammed with fun did-you-knows and good-to-knows. 
&samhoud food has a vision: together we build a brighter future. Through its product line – ranging from meat substitutes to fresh meals – the brand aims to seduce consumers towards eating more vegetables and making sounder choices that are more sustainable on top. 
MAS developed this project in cooperation with freelance design artist Bart Nagel of Now Even Better.”


Designed By: MAS

Location: Amsterdam

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

Save The Date! SVA Masters In Branding Thesis Repositioning The American Dream

The MPSB thesis is focused on investigating societal constructs around government and public policy, innate belief systems, behavioral norms, human rights and culture. It is organized around repositioning and rebranding selected significant brands. On July 11th, the Class of 2017 will present the repositioning of the American Dream through the lenses of Capitalism, Immigration, Technology, Commerce and The Pursuit of Happiness. The MPSB thesis should add meaningful discourse to a cultural and global conversation and consider the following: What (if anything) does the American Dream stand for now? What is the brand promise of the American Dream, Is the American Dream possible? Is any American Dream possible?

Does the American Dream have any sustainable model?


from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

MER is Channeling Sweden With Adorable Packaging

Garbergs_Project designed the packaging for MER, a traditional Swedish soft drink.

“When Coca-Cola changed the recipe of the beloved MER soft drink in order to make it more natural, with Swedish spring water and 30% less sugar, we were given the task to redesign the packaging.” 





“The design was inspired by classic Swedish children books to dramatize the naturalness and the Swedish heritage. Something playful that appeals to both the adults who trade and their children. 
Each flavor was given a personalized handwritten illustration against carton-colored backgrounds that reinforce the feel of fruit boxes, nostalgia, and humanity. Two unique fonts were also designed and produced. 
MER’s new packaging was launched April 2017 and just within a few weeks the supplier ran out of stock.”


Agency: Garbergs_Project
Client: Anna Brolin
Senior Designer: Peter Herrmann
Illustration and Final Art: Kelly Lansman
Account Director: Peter Carstens
Account Manager: Maria Backström
Copywriter: Jöns Hellsing
Design Strategist: Åsa Berg
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

Check Out This Adorable Packaging For Dried Fruits

VDA BANGKOK designed the adorable packaging for TASTE&Co, a new dried fruit product line.

“TASTE&Co is an in-house brand that VDA BANGKOK created in order to help small grassroots producers in Thailand to expand their business through our in-house brands. In this dried fruit product line we created a series of packaging which are fun, full of character and charming, with each package reflecting the character of the fruits within. The products are sold at various lifestyle multi-brand stores throughout Thailand.”


Chief Creative Officer: Vorapreut Tejapaibul
Graphic Director: Pradya Kanla
Graphic Designer: Chalindhra Bodhicharoen
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

These Wine Label Concepts Are Full of Fun

Spanish Agency Fammilia designed these fun and clever conceptual wine labels.

“Getxophoto is a great photography festival celebrated every September in the coastal town of Getxo (Basque Country). Every year, Bodegas Casa Primicia makes a special wine with special labels for the event. 
Begi-haundi in euskera (basque language) means big eyes but also means squid. So through this concept we played around the act of seeing and the place of the event (the basque coast).”


Agency: Fammilia
Client: Getxophoto – Bodegas Casa Primicia
Creative Director: Mikel Uribetxeberria and Mikel Telleria
Art Director: Mikel Uribetxeberria
Photography: Iñigo Ibañez
Location: Spain

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

Pooch Made Was Made With Your Beloved Pets in Mind

Made Somewhere designed the fun and bright packaging for Pooch Made, an online pet merchandise retailer.

“Made Somewhere created a friendly and playful brand for ‘Pooch Made’, an online retailer of pooch bandanas and a lifestyle influencer in the pet industry. The brand was brought to life with minimal yet light-hearted iconography, illustrations and animation to engage with its audience and demonstrate the brands playful character and demographic. Made Somewhere used this character across the brands packaging, print, digital and social media. The packaging for Pooch Made was a crucial element for showcasing the brand own line of Pooch Bandanas. Made Somewhere curated playful packaging, which utilised a first person tone of voice, to give the brand a pooch persona and promote key features and benefits of the product. This, paired with friendly illustrations and colour palettes added to brands loyalty, positive vibe and fun loving character. There a 3 sku’s in the Pooch Made Bandana series, all with a unique colour and pooch character for easy identification. 
These products are in production – Launching soon.”



Agency: Made Somewhere

Client: Pooch Made

Location: Sydney, Australia

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

Get Refreshed With BIG BOSS PALM Soda

Ayesha Sherriffs designed the identity and packaging for BIG BOSS PALM, a new line of natural coconut flavored soda.

“Brand identity and packaging design for BIG BOSS PALM, (probs) the world’s first coconut water based soda – a coconut + vanilla fizzy pop made from young Thai coconut water and all-natural ingredients.”



“The design philosophy was very much about being fun and chilled, whilst invoking nostalgia – BIG BOSS PALM is essentially a fizzy pop (albeit a better-for-you version with a unique and complex flavour) and fizzy pop reminds us of carefree, good times. Also, the coconut and vanilla flavour has that summertime, holiday vibe down to a t – so we wanted to ensure the brand said all of that, whilst also looking gorgeous enough to make you want to hold it, buy it and guzzle it. BIG BOSS PALM himself is a little 8-bit character that embodies the brand – he’s got shades of early NES games as well as Minecraft references to bring back good memories and nurture a connection for a large age range. Overall, the brand is clean, yet unique and detailed – a good representation of how BBP tastes!”

Designed By: Ayesha Sherriffs
Art Direction: Ayesha Sherriffs
Photography: Thomas Baker
Location: London, UK

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

How Fitzroy Utilized Activism to Design this Outstanding Sustainable Rum

One man’s trash. Fitzroy Premium Navy Rum is more than just stunning packaging design—it’s also about sustainability and creating a product that doesn’t just end up in the landfill. We spoke with Marnix Tiggeloven at Fitzroy to learn more about the process of creating this delightful rum, crafting the story behind it, making it sustainable, and more. 

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

Fitzroy: It started with the rum and the angle to address the serious issue of pollution in the oceans.Our link with the naval symbolism is fairly strong. So it all felt pretty natural and the process of designing was super fun.

We began with the most important ‘asset’—The Rum. Located in the center of Amsterdam is a company called E&A Scheer. They are renowned rum blenders since the 18th century. Together with their master blender we explored numerous different navy style blends. The most important success criteria was that we would want to buy and drink it ourselves. Pure… and mixed with Ginger Beer (as a Dark and Stormy). So after we selected 3 different blends that we liked, we checked with some well known cocktail shakers and bar men from our network to choose the perfect blend. So now we have a typical Navy Style Rum: dark and heavy originated from only anglophone Caribbean islands. A blend of unlayered pot still rum from Jamaica, 3 year old rum from Barbados and unlayered Trinidad rum.

After the rum, we started working on the design of the bottle. We wanted to use plastic from the North Sea to create a special marble like cap. We had seen some samples before for another project and we immediately fell in love with the idea that plastic waste could look like expensive marble. We found a company that could help us with sourcing the plastic waste. They went to the beaches of Texel to look for plastic waste that washed ashore. We heard that at some of the beaches Coca Cola labels were found and we immediately focused on getting those labels to be used in our product. A big brand, losing a big batch of plastic labels during transport, washed ashore. Most of the time a perfect match with rum (rum and coke). And now even better!

For the label design we wanted to keep things simple and to invite people to peel the labels off after the bottle is finished and start using this as a beautiful water bottle. But because we also had a story to tell we used wrappers to address our mission. With old navy style illustrations we created scenes that looked like old marine icons yet always with a link to over consumption. A sea mermaid with obesitas. The famous Kraken monster all wrapped up in plastic…etc.




What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with this rum packaging and how did you accomplish it?

Fitzroy: As an ad agency we previously worked for big brands like Bacardi & Jack Daniels, so we got to know the market for hard liquors quite well. We were always wondering why there were no brands or products addressing environmental issues. I mean, it feels logical that these big brands are more focussed on fuelling the hedonistic lifestyle of their consumers, but you would expect that at least a few of them would address some more serious issues. But no—and we felt that it’s about time. So our main goal was to raise awareness and invite people to join in this modest form of ‘activism.’

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Fitzroy: We had a few challenges to overcome. Most important one was the ‘clash of styles’ between the naval illustrations and the classy, chic marble look of the cap. We like them both. And to be honest now… after some weeks looking at the bottle it doesn’t bother me anymore, but at the time we were struggling. The cap was obviously the most important element of our design so we didn’t wanted to change that. So after a lot of different label designs we decided to use the illustrations—that are important to our story—and print them on the inside of the wrapper. But in a such a way that you could see from the outside that there was something printed on the inside of the wrapper. This way we could use all our important design features. And if you look at the bottle from a distance it still has an intriguing clean style. But also a full story to tell if you buy it. 😉

How did you balance the sustainability aspect of Fitzroy Premium Navy Rum while also incorporating unique, standout details?

Fitzroy: This was actually not that difficult because we didn’t start with a business case. We were following our stream of ideas of creating something sustainable first. We didn’t need to do any concessions, we just picked everything we liked from a choice of sustainable solutions. Although we now have learned that we can get glass/bottles that are even more sustainable but aren’t that transparent…so that will definitely raise some eyebrows when we develop a new batch.




If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Fitzroy: The ‘marble’ cap. This is the heart and soul of the design and the idea. This piece of unique plastic has done a fair bit of travelling and has a intriguing story. First created as a label for Coca Cola, ended up in the North Sea, got washed up ashore in Texel, found by a team of environmental protectionists, transported, washed, heated and then getting served as a piece of marble on a bottle of rum.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Fitzroy: It is more fun when you design it for yourself and your friends haha!

We had some time pressure because we had a specific launch date. I would definitely have worked longer on the product if we didn’t had that deadline. But in the end I believe that was a good thing. It is a process that you have to cut off at a certain moment. Create your own deadline. Just go. Now I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

What advice do you have for other designers who want to create more sustainable products?

Fitzroy: Work together. We for instance didn’t know a lot about the different techniques to recycle plastic. And there were so many different people helping us. Pointing us in new directions and coming up with ideas we wouldn’t have had without their input.

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

Prototyping: Does it Really Make a Difference?

By: Trish Galvez-Tuel

Have you ever walked down the aisle of a grocery store, looked at all of the packages sitting on the shelf, and think (in the words of Talking Heads), “How did [they] get here?” Well, what you are seeing is the end product of a company’s 1-2 year (or sometimes longer) multi-departmental effort to make its package stand out to get you to buy. Prototyping was most likely a part of that effort.

Everyday, companies new and old employ prototype packaging as a means to decide how a final package will look on shelf. Prototype packaging, also known as a mock-up or comp, can be a crucial piece of bringing to life a package that will generate a personal connection between a brand and its consumer.

“Prototyping is the part of the commercialization process where items such as color, shape and form factors, brand identity and overall aesthetic impressions are tested, reviewed and proved out.”

Why prototype?

Prototype packaging provides companies, manufacturers, brand and marketing professionals, innovation and design departments, packaging engineers, inventors and just about everyone involved the ability to communicate ideas and concepts in real terms. Prototyping is the part of the commercialization process where items such as color, shape and form factors, brand identity and overall aesthetic impressions are tested, reviewed and proved out. The benefit of prototypes to the overall idea of reviewing, testing and proving out is important from several perspectives: manufacturing feasibility conversations, consumer research stimulus, retailer and executive review meetings as well as providing a final target for a printer or manufacturer. We know that very few people visualize an idea the same way or have the ability to understand the final intent of a concept. The prototype is a visual aid on which to base discussion and decisions.

More than one approach, many benefits

The actual prototyping process for packaging can take on many forms. The most common that comes to mind for many are physical mock-ups of things like bags, bottles or boxes; the kind that does not always immediately come to mind are the virtual prototypes. Things like simple 3D renders of an early product or idea or a detailed rendering based on CAD mechanicals can help further the life of a concept or idea, so that it can be properly visualized and evaluated. Companies can use prototyping to reduce time to market as they help to identify potential manufacturing issues earlier in the design process—issues that, if not caught early enough, could become timely and costly. Prototyping can further reduce potential cost overruns, as it will magnify errors in dieline construction or print production.

Finally, prototyping will help to increase the final quality of the package as it allows for design alternatives to be considered in context. As an example: a client had been considering a metallic, pressure-sensitive label to elevate the overall perception of the package. If a prototype of the package had not been created, the metallic substrate would have went to market. However, a prototype was made and evaluated in context. Between the dark-colored shelf and poor lighting, the package became extremely recessive. The decision was made to change direction. Potential confusion from consumers who would not be able to find their products as well as disappointing sales were avoided.

So, does prototyping really make a difference in packaging development? Absolutely. It facilitates conversation and decision-making, drives efficiency into the process and helps avoid potential speed bumps that could end up costing time and money. We’d consider it a necessity.

Trish Galvez-Tuel
Senior Business Development Manager, Realization, Kaleidoscope

With over 15 years of sales and executive account management experience, Trish is dedicated to converting technical packaging, prototyping, print and design solutions into rewarding business opportunities. Throughout her career, she has cultivated long-term strategic relationships with leading CPG’s to develop innovative packaging, new product development and prototyping solutions—from sketch to shelf.

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

Kamiki Carries the Spirit of Japan

Erhan Özden designed the packaging for Kamiki Whisky, a spirit that takes inspiration from Japanese tradition.

“Kamiki’s story takes place in a truly ancient land—one of spiritual and carnal harmony—in the temples of Nara in Japan.” 



“The ancient capital of Japan’s Nara Prefecture, Nara holds many temples from the 8th century that imperturbably give the holy capital its power. Ōmiwa Shrine in Nara is one of Japan’s oldest extant Shinto shrines. It is a tutelary shrine of the Japanese alcohol producers. Most well-known alcohol producer families are in Nara and these families have a centuries-old tradition of producing alcohol for Ōmiwa.”

The alcohol produced by these families is served as blessings at Shinto temples. One of the families that produce alcohol for Kamiki is one of the last Samurai families. Because of this our Logotype has a Samurai’s ‘Katana’ sword. The sword looks like a cut-out of our logotype like KA-MI-KI. Our name was Inspired by beautiful breezes coming from the ‘Mountain of the God’, so we named our whisky KAMIKI whereby ‘KAMI’ means ‘GOD’ and ‘IKI’ means ‘BREATH’. Swords cut the logotype and because of this our logotype is not in a horizontal or vertical form. This is the first logotype usage in the whisky category.”


Designer: Erhan Özden
Photographer: Bengü Akman Aynur
Brand: Kamiki Whisky
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster With This Cognac

LINEA designed this exquisite cognac packaging in celebration for the Year of the Rooster.

“Especially designed for the Year of the Rooster, Maison Hardy is unveiling its new special bottle called NOCES D’OR SUBLIME. This original creation, presented by LINEA – the packaging design agency from the Spirits Valley – takes up the emblem of the Hardy family. All along its history the cognac company has always worked with top glass and crystal makers to present real master pieces. NOCES D’OR SUBLIME keeps up with this tradition. The ‘Noces d’Or’ historic bottle has been accessorized with a unique finishing touch in pressed glass. In the Art Nouveau style, a bas relief representing the Hardy rooster has been shaped in 3 dimensions using an innovating technique (presented by Martineau workshop). Then, a fully personalized glass mould has been created (thanks to Waltersperger glass makers). Each pressed glass plate is thus hand-cut, embossed and polished in order to assure its uniqueness for this ultra-limited edition. Eventually, this unique bottle is presented in a fully open box so that you can appreciate better the lighting effects obtained by the opalescence of pressed glass.”


Designed By: LINEA

Location: France

from Blog – The Dieline | Packaging & Branding Design & Innovation News