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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.
Of course there are many different kinds of folding cartons, but let's take a look at some of the basic box types. One size doesn't fit all, but one of the most commonly used formats is something called a straight tuck. You'll notice that the flap on the top and the clap on the bottom are on the same side of the box. And one of the advantages of that is that it gives a smooth edge on one side, because the flaps are on the other side. There's a little bit of a limitation. This format tends to not work very well with really heavy products. It would be appropriate for lighter products, such as cosmetics, and that might be a limitation depending on the product you're trying to package.
And one other limitation. Because of this format, fewer boxes can be printed on a sheet. The boxes have to be positioned economically to make the most out of a sheet. You want to minimize waste. And so while you might sacrifice some space with the straight tuck, if it's the format you want you know that going in. Very similar to the straight tuck, but a little bit different, is the reverse tuck. And so you can see, in this illustration, the tabs are on different sides, so as they fold in, this makes it more efficient to print and to cut.
It means that you can get more boxes on a sheet of paper, but again, you're limited to somewhat lightweight contents. But for example, health and beauty, pharmaceuticals, very commonly used. And so that's one of the disadvantages. You can't really put very heavy stuff in this and one tiny disadvantage, each side is going to show that little tucked flat edge so you are not going to have that uniform one side that you would have with the straight tuck. Another common format, the flat glued flap and so one of the advantages of this Is that it's much easier setup and assembly.
It's really a simple format for a box. And it can hold heavier contents. It does give the disadvantage that you can put fewer pieces on a sheet. And then, we have something called the snap lock bottom. So, you can see in this succession of illustrations, it starts out with the four flaps. The two flaps fold inward, and then that last flap tucks in and makes sort of a self lock, and it doesn't require glue usually. This can hold heavier content. It will also sit flat when it's displayed. It makes a nice stable bottom for a carton.
It's a little more expensive. And because it's a little bit more complex to set up, it can require more time for set up and assembly, So you have to decide at the beginning of the project what's going to be the appropriate format for the box you're going to create. And then of course once you decide that, then you can start working on your design.
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