Graphic Designers: How to Prepare Your Design Files for Production in Packaging

Graphic Designers: How to Prepare Your Design Files for Production in Packaging


As we receive and prepare hundreds of design files from graphic designers, we thought we would point out a few places where we can save designers time on fixing their files for production. Preparing your files for packaging manufacturers can be a little different than the local print shop. Here are a few key tips for getting it ready for packaging manufacturers.


Adobe Illustrator is our Number 1 Choice for Files

Why? There are two main components of a packaging file, the artwork and the die line. Adobe Illustrator gives the designer the ability to easily separate important components into separate layers (example: Layer 1: the die line; Layer 2: artwork; Layer 3: Varnishes/Spot UV’s). Yes, you can do this in Photoshop and InDesign, but illustrator makes it a lot easier on the manufacturer side to pre-flight your file.


Pantones vs. CMYK vs. RGB

We can’t stress this enough: Don’t send files in RGB if you want the colours to reflect anything close to what you were planning. RGB is purely used for digital. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to confuse this. As a designer, you may be working on a website and then switch over to your retail packaging project. We get it!

Before sending you files over, check to see that you have used either CMYK or Pantones. Most printers and packaging manufacturers will automatically convert RGB to CMYK which can result in colour shifts.

Another thing to note about colour… If you are working in anything other than CMYK (such as Pantones), it is important that you select the proper pantones or spot colours and delete all other colours from your pallets in the file. This will eliminate any confusion between the designer and the manufacturer.

Type Size below 6pts

Working within a die line can be tricky. Sometimes your clients will provide you with a ton of content and you only have a small space to fit it all in. Remember to always aim to have your type 6pts or larger. It is possible to print below 6pt when you aren’t reversing your type out of a background, but that doesn’t account for readability. We suggest either having the client comb over the content to ‘trim-the-fat’ or consider increasing the size of the packaging if possible.

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