You've reviewed the proposals and have chosen your Designer. It's time for your first meeting - The Launch Meeting. Your Launch Meeting could take place in your office, a design agency office, coffee shop or over the phone. It could take a couple of hours or it could be a ten minute review. Either way, it's important to have this meeting even if you think it's not necessary.
Who attends Launch Meeting? Anyone with influence over the project should be at the meeting. If you find yourself thinking - "That's too many people to organize into one meeting," then you have too many people involved in the process.
Limit the people involved, but make sure all essential team members are present. If a person's opinion is going to influence the design, get their opinion incorporated as early as possible so the design is on track from the start.
Talk about your expectations with your Designer, and convey some of the soft information that was not communicated in the RFP. For example: You're introducing a line of microwaveable pizzas. There are many ways this design could go. Do you want your package to appeal to Mom's wanting to make an easy, wholesome dinner for the family or college students looking for an affordable party food? Find examples of other products that convey the feel you want. If there are colors you want to avoid (because your competitor is using them) let your Designer know.
DETAILS. Send the Designer the dieline, hi-res logo and photography. If you have a sample from your line from a previous print run, provide those files or samples. Give your Designer the contact info for the Printer if you know it. This allows them to communicate about file types and delivery.
TIMELINE. If you have not worked out a Timeline yet, do this now. It is critical to establish a good Timeline as soon as possible. Take into account the time the Printer needs for printing (ask the printer, do not make assumptions), and time needed to deliver the final printed packages for legal approval. Don't be caught off guard and expect your Designer or your Printer to make up the time by rushing at the end. This could lead to costly mistakes.
CONTRACTS AND CONFIDENTIALITY FORMS. This is also the time to sign the contract and confidentiality forms.
In future articles we'll cover work in progress including best practices for communicating with your designer, critiquing work and finalizing art for production.
Feel free to reach out to me with any of your packaging design questions!
As a reminder, consider following the Business Pitch Outline on the site in order to get your building blocks in place for great package design. Spend time searching for your Customer Segments and consider using Nielsen Prizm for this. Finally your packaging is your most important marketing tool so work on your product positioning so your designer knows exactly what to do for a package that gets customers to stop and then buy your product.