How to Redesign Product Packaging

Packaging design to me is the most vibrant and energetic division of the design industry. Seeing your creation in stores is very rewarding. Creating a redesign of an existing product packaging can be a big task and over the years I’ve had the privilege of working on a variety of redesigns and gained a lot of insight.

So what does the redesign of a product packaging entail?

The Client Brief

It all starts with a client brief. What is a creative brief? Simply put, it’s a document that explains the ins and outs of a project. A client brief should be able to answer questions such as:

  1. What is the project?
  2. Who is it for?
  3. When does it need to be done?

A proper client brief is necessary in packaging redesign in order to avoid designer mistakes and client disappointments.

Research and Design

This is the design phase before diving into any programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. In the research and design stage, you will begin collecting ideas and developing concepts. You might want to create everything right away with the computer, but out of my experience over the years, working first with paper and pencil will save you tons of time, and as we all know, time is money. So go and get that notepad or sketchbook and start doodling and writing down ideas. Mind mapping and storyboarding are fantastic tools to get the creative juices flowing.

Design Concepts

Once you have discovered a few ideas through mind maps and thumbnail sketching, you can move on to developing design concepts. Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop can help create quick design concepts for the redesign of a product packaging. Explore color and shape combinations. Adobe Illustrator’s Color Tools like “Recolor Artwork” or the “Color Guide”can help you find combinations in no time.

Deconstruct Existing Packaging

Since the redesign of a product packaging often reuses the same shape and size as the original one, you’ll need to deconstruct the existing packaging. Deconstructing a packaging is a great way to understand every aspect of the products packaging, which helps you with your redesign process.

Working with the Dieline

All packaging has a dieline and they can be confusing at first with all the cut and fold lines. Sometimes is helpful to create a simplified dieline that can help with furthering the development of your design concepts. It’s not necessary to create a simplified dieline, since in the end the printer’s dieline will be used, but it can help with placing design elements and creating mockups for a client presentation.

Test Print Your Packaging design

This is an important step in the redesigning a product packaging! You want to make sure that all elements are in the correct spot, that measurements are proper and that nothing has been forgotten. Test prints can be done in-house or by using a print service. Make sure to double-check everything before moving on to creating a client presentation.

The Client Presentation

When pitching a redesign of a product packaging to the client, a convincing presentation is crucial. You want to impress the client and show how well the design will work on the product packaging. It can be hard to understand looking at a flat artwork how the actual packaging will look like. 3D Digital mockups are super useful to present a design that hasn’t been produced. It can make all the difference for a convincing packaging redesign presentation.

Prepare Files for Print

The client has approved the redesign of the product packaging and now it’s time to prepare everything for print. This is the most technical part of packaging design and needs a lot of attention. It all needs to be gathered together and made print-ready. Once you’ve prepared it all it gets sent off to the printer. The printer sends a proof and once approved the design goes into production and then we wait for it to appear in the stores!


A lot of blood sweat and tears go into the redesign of a product packaging and many people are often involved, but none more important than the packaging designer.

If you want to get an insight into a real world redesign of a product packaging, I created a course called “Packaging Redesign in Adobe CC” over at Pluralsight.com. Read more about the course below.


Packaging Redesign in Adobe CC

Advanced Course about Real Word Packaging Redesign

In this course we’ll be redesigning the current version of the Pops six-pack soda carrier to a newer updated version.

Together we’ll go from the initial redesign request to design ideas and take the chosen concept straight into final production. This is a real life work project! We’ll use the actual dielines and briefs and together with client feedback create a pleasing and engaging final product.

You’ll have all the files necessary to work along with me and see firsthand how we handle the real life hiccups and challenges that can come up with a packaging redesign. You’ll also be able to feel the satisfaction of working on a project and seeing it appear in stores and online and know that you followed along and know exactly how to make it.

This is a unique online learning opportunity that you can do from start to finish at your own pace. Best of all, you’ll be able to see the final packaging design in the Pops stores!

To learn more about the Packaging Redesign in Adobe CC course:

PREVIEW THE COURSE

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