Join William Everhart for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating box panels, part of Illustrator: Package Design.
With our new document in place it's time to start creating the package structure. Now for this course we'll be creating both a carton, and a label for our product model. However, you can use the techniques you learned here for any type of package design. So first I'm going to focus my attention on the carton itself. Over here in the Layers panel. I want to make sure that I'm using the die line layer. And then I'm going to switch to the Art Boards panel, and I'm going to click on the Art Board number here. Actually, I'm going to double click on it, and that will focus my screen on that particular art board.
Now I have my product measurements here, I know what size the panels should be. So let me set out to create those panels. I'm going to use the rectangle tool to do this. So I go over here to the tool box, select Rectangle tool. Now your first inclination might be to click and drag with this tool and try to get those information blocks to work out for you. But let me show a little bit easier way to do this. I'm going to delete that. And instead of clicking and dragging with this tool, I'm simply going to start over here on the left edge of the page and just click once.
This brings up the rectangle dialogue, and now I can input the values that I need directly here and know that they will match. So for the width of the panel I know that it was two and five eighths but I want to add a little bit extra to compensate for the material that the package is going to be created from. So in my case I know that's about a 32nd of an inch. If you don't know this its okay not to include it. You can just go with your measurements and let the converter handle the upscale for you.
So I am going to type in 2.625, and this next thing is probably one of my favorite things in Illustrator. I need to add to this measurement a 32nd of an inch. Well, I could get out my calculator and plug in those values, or I can let Illustrator do it for me. So there's my base value, I'm going to type a plus sign, and then the additional mount that I want to add to it, 0.03125. I want to hit the tab key, and you can see that illustrator did the math for me. I'm going to do the same for the height of the box.
This is going to be a 4.25, plus that additional 32nd of an inch. And I'll tell it Okay. So this is my first panel, or the first side of my little carton. I just need to replicate that three more times to represent the other sides of the box. To do that, I'm going to go up to the regular selection tool. And then I'm going to reposition this a little bit, I'm going to move it down just a touch, and then I'm going to hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and grab the left edge of this rectangle.
I'm going to drag it to the right. As I'm dragging, holding that Alt or Option key. And watching the green smartguides pop up here. I can align this panel just next door to that first panel, and they're touching here. I release the mouse, release the Alt key. Now, I need to replicate that same adjustment two more times. To do that, I'll go up to the Object menu, choose Transform, and Transform Again. Notice the shortcut here.
This is going to be your friend when it comes to package design. So there's the third panel, and I'm going to use that shortcut of Cmd+d, Ctrl+d on a PC, to replicate that once more. Alright. So, those are all four sides of our carton. What about the top and bottom? Well, we're going to go about that the same way. First, I'll start with the rectangle tool. This time, I want to put the top and bottom on this second panel. This panel is going to be my face panel, so that's where I want to put the top and bottom.
And I'm actually going to start on the bottom left hand corner here. Once again my Smart Guides are helping me out. I'm going to click, and then I'm going to enter the value for the width and height of this particular panel. So the width, I don't mind that being the same as my panel, but the height, well obviously that has to change. So, that is going to be 2.625. I don't need to add that extra 32nd of an inch here. It will be okay. Tell this Okay, and you can see that Illustrator draws from top left to bottom right.
That's why I started at the bottom of the carton here. Now I'm just going to replicate that panel. I'll have the same panel here on the bottom up here on the top. So, I'm going to grab the bottom of this panel. I'm going to hold down my Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and then just drag this panel straight up. Once again, I'm waiting for my smart guide to kick in here to help me out with the alignment. I release the mouse, and now I've duplicated that panel. I'm going to duplicate that one more time, because typically in these box configurations, there'll be two flaps on the top and the bottom.
And they just fold over each other and actually glue to each other. So I'll select that bottom panel along with the top panel here. So once again I'm going to hold down that Option key, or Alt key on a PC, and I'm going to drag these panels to the right. And I'm going to wait for my smart guides to kick in. If you want you can hold down the Shift key as you drag and that will make sure that they go straight horizontally across. And then release. One last panel, that we need, is a little glue panel out here. And that's what actually wraps this box around to the other side.
So, for this I'm going to go back to the rectangle tool. And over here on the far right hand side, I'm just going to click and drag in this case. This panel is not as critically important, so I'll just use the smart guides here and estimate it about a half of an inch wide. There we go. And there's my little glue tab there. Alright. So that finishes up the carton die line. I want to center this on the page. So I'm going to Select All. I'm going to cut it from the art board. And then I'm going to make sure that this art board is centered in my window.
I'll do this by going to the View menu and choose Fit Artboard in Window. Next, I'll simply Paste that art work. Alright, well that's the carton. What about the label? So over here in the Artboards panel, I'm going to double click on the Artboard number here, and that'll focus my document on that particular art board, and now I want to draw the label die line. Now, label die lines are a little bit different. You're going to want to talk to the printer or converter about this. Because they don't typically use rectangles for the die cuts.
They actually round off the corners. How much of a corner radius you use is up to the individual converter or printer so be sure to find out about that. I know from past experiences about an eighth of an inch to a quarter of an inch. But, in my case here I'm going to use the eighth of an inch value. So I'm going to go over here to my Tool panel. Under my Shape tools, I'm going to locate that Rounded Rectangle Tool. And just like I did for the carton, instead of dragging out a shape here, I'm going to simply click and enter the values that I need.
So for the width, I've determined I need this to be seven and a half inches wide. I also need it to be two and a quarter inches tall with a corner radius of .125 or an eighth of an inch. I'll tell this Okay. Now I want to center this on the page. So once again, I will Cut it from the page. Go up to the View menu, make sure that the Artboard fits in the window. And then Paste. Now, let's zoom out and take a look at our work here. So we have a carton die line and our label die line.
Using product measurements and Illustrator's shape tools, anyone can create a simple die line mockup. Now, this is a very important first step, as your design will be built off of this mock-up. Next, I'll show you how to use this mock-up to confirm that the die line fits the product.
- Choosing a package type
- Determining package size
- Examining design considerations
- Creating a mockup
- Laying out your package design
- Creating your own barcode
- Preparing artwork
- Creating a 3D structure
- Incorporating cutting die CAD
- Creating a print-ready PDF