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Packaging is where engineering meets design. Learn about the basics of designing packages for everything from foodstuffs to fragrance, in ways that are practical for manufacturing and shipping, and make the products visually appealing. Author Claudia McCue reviews the types of containers real packaging engineers consider, and then concentrates on folding cartons, which can be created with the tools available to most designers: Adobe InDesign and Illustrator. Learn how to create dielines (the flattened view of your product) and add artwork and text. Then find out how to print and cut out a mockup version of your packaging, and prepare the job for professional printing. Claudia also takes you for a quick view of the factory floor, where products are packed into their final containers.
Now that I've roughed in my basic panels I want to start adding the little flaps and then those little areas that tuck in underneath the flaps. So I'm going to start by creating rectangles and then I'm going to combine them and reshape them so that they're the proper size and shape. So I'm going to start with the base of the top flap. I'm going to start, by creating a rectangle and I know that it's bottom and left and right are going to be hinged off this main panel. And I also know that this main part is going to be 1 and 3 16ths inches tall.
I've pinned it down on the bottom edge, on the Transform panel. But I am going to pull out the calculator, so I can figure out how big 3 16th of an inch in decimals. So, here in the calculator, I am just going to divide 3 by 16 and that's 0.1875. Now your calculator may let you copy, but it's a good idea just remember this. I'm going to switch back to Illustrator. And now back in Illustrator, I'm going to click on the H. That highlights, that field and I can type in my new value which is 1.1875, 1 and 3 16th inches.
Okay, so there's that. And then I'm going to work on one of the little flaps, next door that's going to tuck in. I'm just going to rough it in again and then I'm going to clean it up using that Transform panel. And of course the little smart guides give me really good start. I know that this is going to be an inch and a 16th and I've already figured that out. That's going to be 1.0625. Now, if you've looked at the finished piece, remember when we were examining the inside of the cereal box you know that, that's sort of beveled at the top, but at least I have the basic shape.
Now, this panel is actually going to have like a little rounded tab that sticks off it. So, I could draw that with the Pen tool, but again, I'm going to make this easy on myself, and doing that helps me be more precise. I'm going to make a rectangle that starts at the top edge here. That might not be right, left and right, but I can always clean that up. And I need for that to be 7 16ths of an inch tall, where it starts from this edge. I've already done my math. I know that's 0.4375, so I'm going to come down here and type 0.4375.
Now you can tell that it's off left and right, but I can get my Selection tool, Shift+click and select this rectangle, and then I want the larger rectangle, that's the base of the flap to hold still. So I just re-click on it, you don't hold down Shift, you just re-click. And when I click on it, it gets that big bold border and what that tells me is that, that's now my key object. That means it's going to hold still and then it's going to force this little rectangle to move. So I switch to my Align and just Center Align that. There we go. Now, ultimately I'm going to sort of weld these two little pieces together so I need a little bit of overlap.
So, I'm just going to click on my little rectangle that I'm grafting on there. Just pull down a little bit on the bottom edge. I know that this top edge is correct because I did it by the math. And then, when I start to combine this using the Shape Builder tool, then I'll have something to sort of hang onto. So, I'm not going to go ahead and create the rest of the flaps. But, you understand the basics of this. You get your rectangles in the right position, based on your measurements and then you can start refining the shape in order to replicate that original package.
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