Making a box is expensive. A package design project can take anywhere from months to even years worth of research, design and execution to accomplish. We know that the design of the product is important to draw the consumer in to purchase. But, what about manufacturing the product? How does the total cost of a package impact the design? Sometimes we wish it didn’t, but of course budget plays a role in what we can ultimately produce. What’s great as a creative is that gives us the opportunity to explore alternative methods and materials to produce a box.
As an example, lets look into the cost of building an MDF (Multi-Density Fiberboard), hinge top style box (I know, but stick with me). Say our creative team has designed a genuine leather-wrapped, metal-hinged box with a foil paper interior. The client loves the design and wants to produce 25,000. It turns out, that’s about $20/box, leaving the client to invest $500,000 to produce and ship. Knowing this client doesn’t want to spend no more than $250k of their investment, but also doesn’t want to sacrifice design to the packaging, this raises several problems with the original design materials. Now we get thinking. Instead of using MDF, use cardboard as your base. Genuine leather is expensive! Try heavy paper with a leather pattern press. Exploring alternative ideas has the potential to dramatically drop the cost per box, while maintaining a luxury aesthetic. With these switches in materials and production methods the cost of the box was dropped from $20 to $10/box – cutting the investment in half!
This is pretty much how we work over in the creative department. And as a designer this process teaches you how to effectively collaborate with the client, sales teams and manufacturers to produce a profit-making product ready for distribution. What it comes down to for me is that budget is an important factor in how we creatively concept and execute any project.
-Kreyton Polka, Senior Designer