In our prior article, How to Work with a Packaging and Graphics Designer, we covered the first step of great food packaging design, Developing the RFP. We need a great designer so how do you do this?
Once your RFP is complete you'll either pass it along to your In-house Designer, Agency Designer or Freelance Designer. If you are selecting a new Designer you'll want to get Proposals from at least 3 prospects. Whether you choose to work with a large agency, small agency or independent designer, take some time to do the necessary research.
A few things to consider:
1. EXPERIENCE. Be sure your Designer is experienced in the areas you are working in. Ask for references and follow up on them. Ask the references about professionalism, punctuality and their overall experience with the Designer. You will need to be able to rely on your Designer to have experience where you don't in the design process. Style is great but you also need someone who knows what to do at a press check and how to set up files so the printing goes smoothly.
2. STYLE. Do you need a contemporary feel, a traditional homey look or something kid-friendly? Your Designer should have pieces in her portfolio that parallel your needs.
3. EXPERTISE. Your first impulse may be to find one designer or firm that can handle all your needs from packaging to web to tradeshows. You may be able to do this with a larger agency with lots of staff, but it's less likely with a freelancer. For example, Package Design and Web Design are very different animals and you'd do yourself and your product a disservice by asking one person to be expert at both. There are many legal requirements involved in designing for food packaging that if not taken into account will slow down your approvals with the USDA at the end of your schedule, when you have the least time available.
4. BUDGET. Select a Designer that can work within your budget. And don't skimp in this area. Packaging has a lot of work do to on shelf. Choosing the cheapest Designer available will show in the work and your company's image will ultimately suffer. You'll pay more in the end to have the work redone.