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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.
Let's take a look at how a dieline becomes a die, and then that die creates a carton. So here's a fairly simple dieline. It's something called a Reverse Tuck, and that's because the top flap and the bottom flap are on opposite sides of the Carton. And the solid lines indicate the cuts. And the dash lines indicate the folds. And then there's also a window cutout. There's going to be a hole cut in the Carton, and then clear plastic will be glued to the back of that. And that'll let the consumer see the product inside the package. This is the die that's created based on that dieline.
Now, these are creasing rules, and what they'll do is press into the paperboard they don't cut it, but they press it so that it will fold neatly. And then this is the cutting edge. You can see where it's cutting that top tab, and there's the other side of that cutting edge. And here's the little cutout that's going to provide a little opening in the Carton. The glass scene is going to be glued on the back. And then the customer can see the product inside. And here's a closeup look at that cutout. And this gives you a little better look at, that cutting edge. You see how it sort of looks like a razor.
It is, it's very sharp. It's got to cut through very heavy paper board. And those pieces of foam and cork that you see around that. They're to keep the paper underneat from sort of squirming as it's cut. So it keeps everything in place and sort of buffers that cut, as it happens under high pressure. And then, this is the glue flap. And so that the provider's going to be able to put a little bit of a coating on that surface, but not interfere with the glue. These little serrations will actually dig into that paperboard and create little thin openings.
And that's going to provide a surface that that glue can stick to. And this is what it looks like when it's finished and folded up, before the product is put inside. So now maybe you have a better idea of how that original dieline translates into a physical die, and how that die creates a folding carton. Now there's dedicated package design software. It's very expensive because it really is incorporating some engineering components. It's really complex to create a carton, and then engineer its construction and it's combination into an actual package.
Esko creates a product called ArtiosCAD. And the CAD in there gives you an idea of what involves in it, the fact that it has these engineering components. And that provides you both 2D design, you know, the flat carton. And also some 3D visualization, which is really kind of neat. You can see that carton take place on screen, and sort of roll it around and make sure that the flaps are where they ought to be, that you don't have something upside-down. And then it also generates dielines and helps die builders create those actual physical dies, and combine them on one sheet.
For example, if you're going to print several cartons, it can also help them optimize the positioning of that cutting die, so they make the most out of that printed sheet. And then there's Arden Software, they provide a similar suite of tools. Theirs is called Impact. There are also other providers, these are just some of the main providers of this kind of software. Now you can use Adobe Illustrator for fairly simple cartons as long as you know what you're doing and you plan carefully. After all, it's capable of high precision, and it also provides you creative design tools right there in the program.
There are some professional plug-ins for Illustrator from Esko. And from a company called FFEI, and these extend the capabilities of Illustrator for people who are building cartons and want to start their work in a program that they're familiar with.
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