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The Anatomy of Packaging Templates (Including Free Packaging Template Download!)

Packaging Templates

So, you’re curious about packaging templates, but you’re not sure where to start? This article gives a quick summary of everything you’ll need to know to get started making your own beautiful custom packaging. Plus, since we’re so nice, we’ll even throw in a free packaging template download for you to use however you’d like. Just make sure you transfer that goodwill on to someone else ;)  

Anybody can spot good packaging design on a shelf, but not many people know how the myriad shapes, folds, cuts, perforations and special printing techniques in the packaging manufacturing process combine to turn a flat sheet of raw material into a beautiful three-dimensional object that catches consumers’ eyes. Take this wonderful example of a unique packaging form.

Triangle boxes

I know what you’re thinking, how did a flat sheet of paper turn into that?! Well, it starts with something called a dieline that informs the die-cutting machine where and how to perform each specific tasks.

A standard dieline looks something like this.

Packaging Template Design

You’ll notice that this dieline is comprised of various line types; dotted, wavy, solid, red, and yellow. Each line type signifies a different type of task; whether it’s cutting, scoring, perforating, embossing, or glueing.

Linetype Key

Once the dieline has been created in a structural program like ArtiosCad it is first tested as a one-off proof using an ESKO, or Zund cutting table. This process allows manufacturers and structural engineers to immediately test the exact structure of the box. If everything fits together, and the sizing is all correct, a proper cutting die is made using either a flat steel-rule die or a rotary die. If the project is large and the speed of production is a priority, the Rotary Die is the ideal method of die cutting, as it’s much faster and cost-effective than the flat steel-rule die.

Steel-rule dies

Once the cutting die is received by the manufacturing team, they will require artwork from the customer for the job. Packaging artwork graphics are setup using a program like Adobe Illustrator by placing the digital art assets, color, dieline, and annotation on separate layers. This file layering technique helps the packaging manufacturer ensure a quick prepress artwork inspection before the job begins print production.

Illustrator layers

If any issues are found after production is complete, corrections can be made to the original packaging template in order to ensure quality future runs.

That’s that! As promised, here’s a free packaging template download of Pakible’s popular Launchbox. Just download the .ai file, place your graphics, and reach out to our friendly team with any custom packaging related questions!

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