Requesting prototypes of your packaging plays a crucial role in the success of your products and brand.
While your packaging design may seem dandy on paper, your physical packaging may not meet your expectations.
Samples of your design offer the opportunity to make any last minute changes before sending your packaging design for mass production.
The prototype gives you a good idea of how your customers will interact with your products and brand while also giving you a good idea of the quality you will be offering on the market in comparison to your competitors.
Nothing is worse than investing a lot of time and money in a project and then realizing that it doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor you were hoping for.
Avoid minuscule errors in artwork designs, printing or structure by pointing out problem areas early on with your sample. This can save your business a lot of time, energy and money in the long run.
Let’s take a look at the top reasons for requesting a box sample before mass producing packaging for your business.
Unless you send the product to your supplier for exact measurements, determining the exact dimensions for your box can be a bit tricky, especially for uniquely shaped products.
Getting an unprinted sample would be an excellent option to verify the structural design and make sure the packaging is tailored to fit your product perfectly.
Making sure your packaging is a good fit for your product is crucial as it diminishes any risk of damage during the shipping and distribution stages of your product.
Excess space between your product and packaging leaves a lot of room for your products to be jostled around.
While this risk may seem minuscule, keeping your products intact within the packaging is crucial to building a relationship with your customers and enhancing your brand reputation.
If your customers received products that are damaged, they are less likely to keep your brand in positive sentiments and are more likely to not purchase from your brand again.
If you’re creating custom packaging, you’re creating an experience for your customers, so make sure to not leave out the prototyping stage of your packaging design.
With a prototype you can test the fit of your product early on and get a good idea of changes that need to be made to accommodate your products comfortably.
Furthermore, you can determine whether the structural design is a good fit for not only your product but your brand too. This could include your material options or your box structure.
Take this time to determine what your product needs, rather than what you want and make changes accordingly before mass producing your packaging design for an impactful and lasting customer experience.
In other words, if you don’t convert your artwork from RGB to CMYK on Illustrator, you won’t receive the same printing quality that you would expect from your design when it’s printed.
Converting your artwork’s color mode, however, isn’t the last step. It is one thing to follow the required artwork guidelines, but it is another to miss the nitty-gritty details of the artwork design.
This is why many opt for either a custom digital sample or a production-grade sample to identify flaws that may not be visible on the screen.
Requesting a prototype that is digitally printed may not give you a good idea on the quality. However, it does offer the opportunity to spot minor errors in artwork design and typography.
While all may seem dandy on the screen, minor spelling or grammar mistakes can really take away from your brand reputation and credibility.
Customers will be less likely to trust your brand if they spot spelling mistakes
As previously touched on; another advantage of taking a packaging sample is that you get to analyze the physical sample and are able to identify flaws that were not visible in the online proofs.
It also gives you the opportunity to discuss possible upgrades, tweaks, or modifications that you may want to get implemented in the final production.
As a business you may fall blind to minuscule errors, but your customers most definitely will spot them.
Another great advantage of obtaining a sample box or even a few samples is that you’re able to send out some sample boxes along with your product to a small, loyal customer base for feedback.
After all, the purpose of creating this packaging is for the customer experience and enhancing brand narratives.
With feedback you receive from your customers you can make any last minute tweaks and changes based on real life customer feedback. This gives your business some peace of mind with regards to the unboxing experience of your products.
There are a variety of options for you to request a packaging sample from your supplier.
Depending on your concerns for your packaging, you may want to opt for one or the other to get a clearer sense of any upgrades that need to be made.
One of the common ways you can get a packaging sample is by requesting an existing sample from your manufacturer.
These existing samples are typically produced for a previous client. The existing sample will help you determine whether the stock, thickness, printing, and coating is ideal for your project.
You can also test out the packaging durability with your physical product inside to get a sense of whether your stock thickness or structure is right for your product.
Existing samples are a lot more cost-effective than custom samples.
Existing samples may also give you some innovative ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own design including design elements like coatings, inks, etc.
A custom sample is exactly what it sounds like. These samples are made according to the exact specifications of the project and will be the same quality if made in full production.
The custom sample gives you the exact idea of what the product will look like at full production, and these samples are a great way to analyze the production quality and help you decide whether you want to go ahead with the consignment or not.
You can request two types of custom samples:
Production-Grade Sample: Offset printed sample (longer turnaround time, higher cost).
Offset printed samples can be very expensive due to the set up costs for this printing method.
However, if you’re looking to offset print your final packaging design, it’s a good idea to request a production grade sample to ensure the printing quality is what you’re looking for and the color comparison is up to standard for your design.
Digital Grade Sample: Digital printed sample (faster turnaround time, lower cost)
Even if you are looking to offset print your packaging, you can still request a digital grade sample to get a rough idea of what your end packaging will look like.
While digital printing offers lower quality it still allows you to spot any last minute design changes before moving on with offset printing for your final project.
If you’re looking to use digital printing for your final product; make sure your designs are small and simple for a higher quality print.
Standard White Sample
Standard white samples are plain white boxes that do not carry any graphics or printing and are typically used for quickly validating the quality of the material.
This option is the most cost-effective upon the three and typically the fastest to produce.
If you are running a bit tight on your project timeline and need to make sure your material holds your products perfectly, standard samples are the way to go.
A packaging sample is a convenient and hassle way to get a glimpse of how the final packaging will look like in physical form and is absolutely essential to verify the structural design.
Your structural design plays a crucial role in the protection of your products, so make sure you evaluate and make changes accordingly to ensure a better quality customer experience.
A prototype enables you to make sure that the physical quality of the packaging is up to the standards of the project and is exactly what is required for the entire production.
It effectively rules out any chances of mismatches in the quality and design of the product between what you expected and what you get and offers a tailored brand experience for your customers.
Looking to create custom packaging for your business? Check out PakFactory for all custom packaging services in one destination!