Over the years one of braincells key point of difference has been our experience in the design and production of packaging and more specifically paper packaging (cartons) – particularly for clients in the FMCG sector.

Because of this experience, we have been able to identify some key consideration that should be thought about when starting a project.

Time Frames

Realistic deadlines are crucial when beginning the quoting and design process. Factors that can affect a job that has unrealistic time frames include:

  • Missing elements of the design process – When a job is rushed through there’s often not enough time allowed for a creative to spend as much time as they would need on concepts for the project. There also may not be enough time to go through a lot of revisions. Clients would also be rushed through the approval cycle which means errors could be missed.
  • Quality may be impacted: With less time and more pressure there is always a high chance of a mistake occurring. This can mean that the finished product wouldn’t be as high quality as otherwise would have been.
  • Financial costs: If a job has to be rushed through, you could loose the ability to negotiate on costs. Just to meet a deadline a supplier may not be able to be chosen on quality and cost; but only on their ability to be able to deliver in time.


Quality / Costs

The 3 main printing methods when it comes to packaging are listed below. When developing concepts it is important that the finished method is thought about. Creating a design that needs tight registration wouldn’t be recommended for a job being printed post-print. While designing a job to be printed lithographically might not be idea for a more budget conscious client.

  • Post-Print – This is the process of printing onto the outer lining of a corrugated board after the actual carton has been constructed. This process is mostly used for corrugated packaging. It is very cost effective; but the product would have a coarse dot of around 70-line screen. There is also more opportunity for movement while printing, which can cause registration issues.
  • Pre-Print – This is the process of printing onto the outer lining of a corrugated board before the actual carton has been constructed. This produces a good finish and can be printed at a higher line screen (around 133), therefore producing a much better result. It is however more expensive.
  • Lithographic – This is the process of printing directly onto paper, which can then be laminated onto corrugated board if required. This produces a much better finish and can be printed at a higher line screen, therefore producing a much better result. This would be the most expensive printing method.


Print Finishes Considerations

For packaging to really stand out there are various types of finishes that can be used. Finishes like laminates and varnishes can make a job look better without costing a lot extra. However other finishes like UV coatings; foils and embossing can add (and also time) to a print job.

Similarly the type of stock chosen to print a job on can affect the cost significantly. Having a budget in mind before quoting on the project can help in saving time on quoting on print finishes that will be too expensive to achieve.

Perth’s Isolation

Perth’s isolation from the rest of Australia can be an issue when producing packaging.

Certain printing methods can’t be achieved in WA and must be completed on the east coast. If a job then needs to be delivered back to WA additional costs and time will be added to the project.

Another issue can be stock availability in Perth. If a stock is not available in Perth it can take between 1 – 2 weeks to get delivered to a local printer.


When commencing a packaging project it is important for everyone to communicate all factors of the job. Ensuring deadlines; print processes; finishes and availability is crucial to ensure the job is delivered on time. And lastly be realistic with your expectations – this starts at the rough concept stage but really matters at the production end of the packaging process.


Sarah Parsons

Production Manager