You’ve put an order in for your corrugated boxes, and they have asked you to provide print-ready graphics. Before you pull your logo from your website to send to the graphic designer, here are five things the graphic designer would like you to know that will make the printing process much smoother. You will be happier with the results, too.
Know Your Resolution
One of the top challenges that graphic designers face is getting artwork with a high enough resolution to print correctly. The resolution controls how much detail is available in the artwork. The higher the resolution, the greater the detail. For printing, the resolution is measured in dots per inch or DPI. The ideal resolution is 300 dpi at 100% of the final output size.
The size of the graphic must be appropriate for the application, as well. If you have a tiny raster image, even if it is 300 dpi, it will not print well blown up for a large display.
Depending on whether your printer uses flexography printed directly on corrugated or litho-laminated that will be mounted to the corrugated, there may be some leeway in dpi requirements. Line screen, which is expressed in lines per inch, will dictate the dpi. For example, flexography printed on corrugated has a lower line screen of about 85, so you may be able to get away with 150 dpi. In contrast to litho-laminated line screen of 150 to 200 and requires 300 dpi graphics.
A lot more goes into the type of printing used beyond the dpi of your graphics, such as quantity, size of the order, and whether it is a high-end product that requires 4-color print. Working closely with your corrugated manufacture will ensure you have the most cost-effective solution that meets your needs.
Understand File Types
There are two types of graphic files: raster and vector. Raster or bitmap files are what you see when you take a digital photograph. They are made up of thousands of tiny pixels. If you enlarge the image, you can start to see all pixels that make up the image. They are saved with file extensions such as .jpg, .png, .gif, .tiff, and .psd.
A vector file is a graphic based on mathematical curves and paths. Because of this, a vector graphic can be scaled and resized without losing resolution. Vector files are usually saved as native files from the program used to create the file, such as ai (Adobe Illustrator), svg, or eps.
The best file types for artwork containing logos or drawings are vector files. It gives the graphic designer more control over scaling it to provide the best outcome. Vector files are needed for printing on corrugated.
Specify Colors Correctly
When you hand off your print-ready files to the graphic designer, they will want to know if your artwork was designed with spot colors and/or CMYK. The type of printing process used will dictate the color process needed.
Spot colors are individual colors and are not mixed with other colors, making them more consistent from run to run. The Pantone matching system (PMS) is the standard spot color system used in the US. You may have heard colors referred to as Pantone colors or PMS colors.
CMYK, an acronym for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), uses a mixture of these colors to create a large variety of colors.
If your brand has a specific blue, for example, you will want to provide the spot color to the graphic designer. Some colors can be recreated with CMYK for litho, but not all, and for color consistency, using a spot color is best. Depending on your project, a combination of Spot and CMYK colors can be used.
When submitting your vector graphics, make sure that your fonts and images are included. Software, like Adobe Illustrator, creates links to fonts and images unless explicitly told to embed them. Your graphic designer may have standard fonts, but they won’t have any unique fonts that you may use. You can also turn your font into artwork that will create an outline of the font, and then the printer does not require the actual font.
Fonts don’t need to be supplied for raster images with fonts embedded when the artwork is being printed litho.
Ask for Specifications
The most important thing you can do when you speak to your corrugated supplier about your project is getting the artwork specifications. They can give you a structure to put the artwork on. When you return it to them, they will do what is called pre-flighting. Pre-flighting ensures that the files are present, formatted correctly, and of the correct type for the print job. They will look at font sizes, reverse out type, image sizes, how close things are to scores and cuts, etc. If there are issues, they will make changes and send them for your approval.
A Guide to Creating the Best E-Commerce Packaging for Your Brand
Custom e-commerce packaging goes above and beyond the constraints of standardized packaging solutions, allowing e-commerce sellers to implement branded packaging that suits the needs of each unique product. Through custom packaging, online sellers ensure that goods remain better protected in transit and present a positive brand image to the consumer upon arrival. Using custom e-commerce packaging solutions helps businesses to set their brand apart from the competition through an improved customer experience.
Building Your Brand: Benefits of Custom E-Commerce Packaging
Implementing custom packaging into your e-commerce operation provides numerous benefits. Some of the primary advantages of custom e-commerce packaging include:
Improved Brand Image
As an extension of your brand, packaging plays an important role in how your customers feel about your business. Substandard packaging may result in damaged goods, which will reflect negatively on your brand. Even standard packaging that sufficiently protects items in transit won’t make a lasting impression on the buyer.
Custom packaging adds value to your brand by creating an impression with your customer, leading them to associate your brand with better quality. Developing this sort of reputation will drive repeat business, which directly contributes to the long-term success of your company.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Customizing your packaging can improve the customer experience in a number of ways. For example, hard-to-open packaging might create a negative experience for the customer that impacts their view of the product overall, whereas easy-open solutions have the opposite effect. Including aesthetically pleasing graphics, designs, and text will leave a lasting impression on the buyer and excite them further about the product inside.
Unique products with stylish packaging also spread by word of mouth and through social media via posts and unboxing videos. Uniquely designed packaging will make your brand easily identifiable and link it with a positive experience for the viewer.
Custom e-commerce packaging goes beyond simple aesthetic value to include custom boxes and inserts that provide better protection to the products within. Standard shipping boxes are not made specifically for your products, and even the closest match often needs excessive and wasteful filler material for proper damage mitigation during transit. Customized packaging is tailored specifically to your product and will reduce the risk of damage due to mishandled packages. Customization also allows you to eliminate any excess packaging material and use the smallest possible container, which offers an additional return on investment in the form of lower shipping costs.
E-Commerce Packaging Trends
While all retailers must contend with various consumer demands, e-commerce sellers have additional challenges to overcome. Based on industry needs and consumer desires, the following trends have greatly influenced e-commerce packaging in recent years:
- Sustainability. Customizing packages to fit your products snugly reduces the need for wasteful filler material.
- Less plastic waste. Consumers want less plastic in their packaging, which has driven demand for easily recyclable packaging and packaging made from renewable materials.
- E-commerce-friendly packaging. Boxes and shipping materials used for e-commerce products must withstand the rigors of shipping.
- Marketing. Since numerous people come in contact with the package before delivery, including marketing on the outside of the box can be considered free advertising.
- Clean and simple. Less is more. Keep your packaging clean and simple can add elegance to a brand.
- Graphics. High-quality graphics create brand appeal for many product types.
- Social media-friendly. Using photos or videos, your customers may share the unboxing of their subscription box or special package with friends and followers. Ensure your packaging looks appealing to increase your customer base via social media shares.
How Progress Container Helps with Your E-Commerce Packaging
At Progress Container, we provide a wide range of e-commerce packaging solutions. With in-house structural and graphic designers, we build quality packaging custom-tailored to your brand and product. Our state-of-the-art equipment and commitment to continuous process improvement ensure that we can produce packaging in accordance with all of the latest trends and technologies.
All e-commerce packaging is not the same, so it is essential to find the right packaging partner. Our packaging solutions are designed to create positive first impressions and lasting brand relationships.
To see how we can help bolster sales in your e-commerce business with quality custom packaging solutions, please contact us today.