We can't say it enough. Packaging design is a team sport. Draft your MVPs early and meet often.
With some many inherent complexities to packaging design from aesthetics to functionality and legalities, we recommend establishing a project team with representatives from across the supply chain. Know what you don’t know, draft the right position players and develop the playbook together…before you even step on the field. Include all packaging material suppliers (primary, secondary, printers, etc.), operations (production, logistics, engineering, procurement, QA, etc.), sales, marketing, and the brand/graphics design agency.
Every team needs a captain, so assign a leader - someone who knows how to get the job done, is unafraid to ask questions, can drive for results but is open to suggestions and can inspire engagement. The same leader should span the project from end-to-end, ensuring continuity of vision and execution.
The selection of your design partner is critical. For excellent design, you need excellent creative talent. Fully vet two or three resources by preparing a formal RFP, having them present their portfolio, asking about their experience in relevant categories, probing their engagement with operations as well as their understanding of executional considerations vs. design-only, understanding their design process, fee structure, and timeline, and check references.
Unless you have a professional designer on staff, don't be tempted to design it in-house with on-line tools and stock images. Strategic, breakthrough design requires distinctive skills, training, and experience. Find the right partner, manage the design intent, and leverage and trust their expertise from concept through final production and delivery.
Utilize your team to flesh out any additional factors that need to be considered in the design and execution of the program and to help assess alternatives as they are developed. Use them to complete and refine a creative brief. Meet regularly and keep everyone up-to-date on all aspects of the project. Not only will you get a much better design to market more quickly, team members will benefit professionally from the inherent cross-functional and design thinking skill development.
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