Packaging Design VS Structural Packaging Design

Does anyone know if one has a lot of experience in Structural Packaging Design and some graphic design for print, could they transition into Packaging Design?

It seems Packaging Design falls under Graphic Design and Structural Packaging Design under ID. A lot of “Branding Houses/Agencies” seem to use Packaging Designers and show that they also contributed to structural design, but yet they do not put the call out for Structural Packaging Designers or ID’ers. Is this because Packaging Design is really mostly a graphically intensive skill and they use off the shelf structures?? Any insights?

Its a strange hybrid. But any good designer ought to be able to do both. I work for a Cosmetics company and design structural packaging, packaging, displays and stores. I have to be able to work across all design platforms. That said, you should totally be able to transition from one to the next.

Hi idguy,

The short answer to all your questions is…Yes. Yes branding houses use Graphic guys to do package design. Yes Structural design is covered by IDers. Yes Packaging design is a weird hybrid of ID and GD. But I would question you what you feel packaging design is.

Packaging design is more than just putting a wrap on a product, or creating a bottle, or a cool graphic. Packaging in most occasions is the first touch point of the product. This means that one really needs to take the consumer in mind while designing it. This is the most important part of packaging design and the thought process is no different than when one would use when designing a consumer product.

I would encourage you to do some research into how major CPG companies like P&G and others go about package design. I think you will see that it is much more than pretty graphics and creating boxes. I think you will see that there is major strategy and traditional ID work that go into it. Try to separate the graphic piece, or if you are going to focus on the graphic part, think about how that brand influences peoples lives. I think you will start to see that packaging is a very emotional and complex part of the product development process.

It has to do with the agency’s relationship with the CPG companies. Most package designs are developed by internal technical packaging groups and the suppliers. Then the design is handed to marketing for review which then interacts with the agencies. It’s not feasible for agencies to staff structural packaging guys because most CPG companies and supplier lines are unique. As a result, a graphic packaging designer is more versitile to service a variety of customers. Not to mention from a CPG perspective, they would not rely on an external source for such large capital projects.

I would say there are much less graphic backgrounds in the packaging industry than you think. They just get more visibility than the other fields. I would even say there’s way more packaging engineers than packaging/ID/graphic guys floating around. From agencies, you’ll see more graphic backgrounds. CPG side will have a mix of packaging engineers/ packaging/ID. Suppliers/Vendors will have a heavy bias to packaging engineers/mechanical engineers and electrical engineers.

thanks all for the replies, clears it up for me.