Over the final three months of 2021, we looked at some of the design trends we envision for 2022, the movement back to maximalism and some ideas on how to boldly take your next package design where it has never gone before. With the new year upon us, now’s the perfect time to turn our attention back to the real world and the quality-control processes we follow to ensure your package or product label meets expectations. After all, you could have the most incredible package design concept of all time, but if the colours are off or if the container is not structurally sound, that award-winning potential ultimately means nothing.
We’ve all seen or experienced some of the big package design “no-nos” in the past: typos and spelling mistakes, product contents that are too heavy for the grade of carrier selected, incorrect dimensions or folds and illegible printing are just a few of the nightmare events that happen when quality-control processes aren’t followed to the letter. Perfection is the only bar that matters in this industry, and perfection is consistently achievable when we take the human “everyone makes mistakes” factor out of the equation and work collectively to identify potential issues before they go to press.
Here are some of the steps we at Bellwyck follow to ensure what we produce meets our highest expectations:
Show your true colours – We’re meticulous about getting the colours on your printed cartons looking exactly the way they should. For specialty colours, we start by referring to the globally recognized Pantone Matching System (PMS), but because even PMS books are inconsistent in colour appearance, we prefer to do custom ink drawdowns to ensure we’re all seeing each colour the same way. This extra step also allows designers to reinterpret or modify PMS colours and add their own creative flair, which we can then consistently reproduce on press. Given these times of uncertainty and each individual’s comfort level regarding in-person contacts, we gladly offer your choice of live or virtual press approvals. For virtual press approvals, we have implemented a number of steps to eliminate ambiguity in the colours viewed via computer. Contact us to learn more about our virtual press approval standards.
Ensure structural soundness – The structural integrity of the packaging is just as important as the visual integrity. After all, every package performs two basic functions: (1) to inform the product purchaser and (2) to protect the contents inside. We go to great lengths to verify the package is sealed completely using the appropriate method to protect product integrity and prevent tampering. We also frequently perform a carton drop test, which involves holding a carton up at a specific height (determined by weight) and dropping it multiple times from different angles to ensure the retail packaging and contents survive the drop. This simulates potential rough handling during shipping and protects against product spoilage.
Accuracy, bar none – The product’s barcode may not be pretty but it is pretty important. We consistently test, double-check and test again to ensure the barcodes and labelling are clear, legible and accurate. We verify all barcodes against the purchase order, test them to ensure they scan correctly, and ensure they are placed properly so they won’t get creased or damaged during transportation.
Think outside your box – There are actually several layers involved in product packaging. The plain, old outer carton performs an important function in maintaining product quality and shipping integrity. If the shipping marks are hard to read or simply incorrect, the product might get mishandled or even not get delivered to the correct location. We consistently ensure that all handling marks, consignee marks, carton numbers, size and weight markings, and country of origin all match the information supplied on our client’s purchase order. If the product is being shipped in pallets, we also check to ensure everything matches the supplied pallet specifications.
Naturally, our quality control processes are adapted and customized to satisfy each product’s unique requirements. And much like workplace safety practices, no quality control system is completely air-tight and accident-proof, which is why we continually evolve our processes in anticipation of future problems and issues.
Do you have a product you’re planning to introduce in the new year? Ask us what steps we are prepared to take to ensure your product’s packaging is printed to perfection.