Join William Everhart for an in-depth discussion in this video Special panels, part of Illustrator: Package Design.
Folding cartons will have panels that are initially hidden from the consumer. Now these may include tuck flaps that fold and tuck into the carton, to help hold its shape. Dust flaps are panels that are added to help protect the product from the environment. Still, other panels add rigidity to the package for increased structural integrity. And of course there are the panels that are glued to other panels to form this shape of the package. While the consumer might not see these panels as the product sits on the shelf, you do have to include them in your design considerations.
Now once the product is purchased, the consumer will open the package and thus reveal many of these special panels. So let's take a look first at some of these panels and put names to the shapes themselves. And then we'll go in and adjust how our artwork fits to these panels. So here I have a completely different structure than what we were previously working on, but it has a great example of the various panels that you may come in contact with. So, the first panel that is in most every carton is a glue tab.
Now, this is where the carton is glued to another part of the carton, and it holds its shape. You don't really want to put artwork this area. Now, there are some exceptions. We may bleed some of our artwork from an adjacent panel into the glue tab, but it doesn't go very far. Dust flaps are another area where you want to avoid putting artwork. Now, if you have a background photograph or a pattern or even just a solid color, feel free to extend those items into the dust flaps.
But any copy or logo elements, don't put in the dust flaps because they will not be seen by the consumer. Tuck flaps are very much like the dust flaps in concerns to your artwork. If you have background elements or colors, feel free to extend them into the tuck flap area, but avoid putting text or graphics that are important to the layout in these areas. Then you have internal supports. These are elements that are added to the carton to add rigidity or security to the product inside.
Obviously, you don't want any graphics in this area. There's multiple surfaces here and we're not sure where glue will be applied in these areas, and glue does not adhere well to ink. So no graphics in the internal support area. Another type of carton is a auto lock bottom. And in this case we have some additional panels that we don't have on other cartons, and these two come with their own Special areas where you cannot put artwork.
These areas of these panels will be covered up by other panels or will have glue applied to them, so avoid any graphics and artwork in these areas. So now let's take a look at how this translates into our package design. So in an earlier video, I showed you how to crop out your images to fit the panels. Now, another way to do this and I see it happen a lot is to use what I call electronic white out. Over here on the right side of my package, there is a leaf graphic.
And as we can see that there are vector shapes that extend out beyond the package, but we don't see them. Well, that's because there is a white box here. Now this is a very common technique, but let me suggest that you avoid it in an instance like this. Instead I'm going to remove that. And I want to actually crop this image out. So let's zoom in. And this time what I would do is actually take and create a mask that is the same size of this last panel here.
I'll use the rectangle tool to do that since it's a rectangular shape. And I'm just going to mimic that panel. I'll take this shape and right now it has the default fill of white, that's fine. I'm going to cut it from the display, and then I'm going to select the graphic that I want it to mask. Next, I'm going to go to the Edit menu. From the Edit menu, I'm going to choose the Paste In Front command. And that will put that white box immediately on top of my artwork. Now, this artwork is extending into the glue tab area, and I said we don't want any artwork there.
Well, we can extend the artwork just a little bit. The red line here represents my bleed area. So I'm going to extend this mask into that bleed area. I'm also going to extend this mask up just a little bit into my glue flap area here. I have another glue flap on top. So I'm going to extend it just a little bit there. And at the bottom, as well. Well, now that the mask is properly sized, I'm going to hold down my shift key and select the shape that I want to clip.
So, I have both the clipping mask selected and the shape that I want to clip. I'm going to go to my Object menu. Go down to clipping mask and make my clipping mask. So now my leaf pattern here, my little shape, it shows up in the panel area but it is clipped here when it gets into the glue area. Perfect. Now while electronic white out as I call is a terrible thing to use on the edge of a package, there are times when you will want to use it.
And just above this nutritional fax panel, is another little panel and it has green ink in it. Now, this particular area will receive glue as well, and the top panel over here with these graphics, it's going to lay right on top of that so that they are going to glue these two panels together. Well, the ink here will keep the glue from sticking so well, so generally printers prefer that you remove ink from this area.
So, does it cover the entire panel? Absolutely not. But just give them a wide margin in here for no ink. So, I'm going to to use the rectangle tool. I'm going to draw a rather large size rectangle right in the center of that panel, and leave it as as white color, so I'm going to use the electronic white here if you will. And that's just going to prevent this green ink from being printed in that area. Now, if the printer needs to, they can adjust this size.
So, they can just select it, and modify it to suit their particular needs. All right. So I want to deselect that. I'm going to zoom out. And I would also replicate that on this bottom panel as well, so once again I can just select it with a normal selection tool. Hold down my Alt, or Option key on a Mac, and drag this down. And now I have another gluing area there with no ink. Cartons come in a wide array of shapes and sizes here. And they're going to have different panel configurations. Now what you've learned here, you can apply to most any type of carton.
But if there's any doubt in your mind as to what panels you can apply artwork to, and what you cannot, where you can apply ink, where you cannot. Please, contact the printer or the converter and find out for sure which panels you actually can put artwork on.
- 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