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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.
When you're finished designing your carton you've been looking at it in two dimensions on your computer monitor and trying to sort of visualize it in three dimensions to make sure everything's okay. It's a good idea to print it out, fold it up and take a look at it in three dimensions. Hold it in your hand and make sure everything seems right. Generally speaking you're working on a carton that's too big to print out on one piece of paper unless you have a huge format printer. So I'm going to show you how you can tile out a large piece on smaller paper. When I go to File > Print, Illustrator assumes I want to use the letter size paper that my printer takes.
So, first, I'm going to turn off Auto-Rotate and that lets me control how it falls. And then, here's the second part, where it says scaling, do not scale. Click that little pull down and you have two choices that make sense, tile full pages, tile imageable area. The only difference is that imageable area is just where there's occupied space, and full pages would be up to the artboard. In my case, tile full pages works just fine because I have everything so close to the edge of the artboard that it's pretty much the same thing.
There's no overlap at the moment and that means that if I print it out I would tape it together just edge to edge. That's going to get really flimsy, even if I use really heavy stock. A good idea to give yourself some overlap. I recommend at least a half an inch, maybe an inch if you have a larger piece that you're printing out. You'll have to do a test and see what works for you. But half an inch I think is going to work for the size document I have. Now the Placement control, governs how it falls on the number of pages it thinks it needs to occupy. So if I click the upper left, I could almost get away with not using that bottom row.
It would be the last little bit of my little flap here and I might be able to live without that. Depends on, again, the size of your carton an the features that you want to maintain and test. So once you've established this, then you print it out with your overlap, position everything, tape everything together, and then carefully cut it out. It's tedious, but trust me, it's worth doing. Because this is going to let you test for one thing how it looks in three dimensions. Do you have a panel that's upside down? Do you have something that's too close to the edge? And just the general configuration of the carton and also its going to let you test, if you, especially if you created your own dieline, test to make sure those little tabs tuck in the way they ought to.
Make sure they are little flap edges fold where they ought to. Make sure there's nothing where glue ought to be applied, where glue flap needs to be occupied. And finally just get really a more realistic view of this piece that you've been working on so long. Not to mention the fact that it's really kind of satisfying to see it go from two dimensions, finally, into three dimensions. And it starts to seem a little bit more real.
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