How To Test Your Package Designer Before You Hire Them & Avoid Losing Lots of Time and Money
So, now that I’ve suggested that you Get A Professional Label Designer you’re hopefully more likely to. However, I have an additional tip for you: test drive the designer first!
Back in 2014 when we were formulating the Queen of Kinks product line my formulator said they had a designer on their books who would be “right up my street” – she was supposedly A-MA-ZING and indeed, when I looked at her portfolio she was creative and had done some awesome designs for other people.
Now, the one thing I look for in a designer is “the surprise element” – if I commission a job and the designer produces something I really didn’t imagine they would, they’re the one.
It is extremely difficult to find this calibre of designer.
More often than not I find that designers give me exactly what I ask for and they don’t do anything extra. I am not too often wowed.
I was even more cautious in this case because the said designer was English and as you know the cost of living here in England is high so I knew I’d be paying top dollar.
I needed to test drive the designer on a small job before committing to a big job...
Before hiring the designer for my packaging I asked them to make a simple change to my logo. I wanted my logo to be developed into a personality. The results were simply not to my taste, I felt like she hadn’t tried very hard at all.
Based on my feedback we continued working until the project was done but that experience was enough to let me know she would not be designing my packaging.
This is the work she produced:
DRAFT 3 / FINAL: I went with a variation on 3A below
I know some people might look at the above and think it’s not too bad, however DRAFT 1 for me was particularly poor; it wasn’t what I imagined when I commissioned the work and it didn’t meet (or exceed) my expectations.
I thought, "I've waited 3 weeks for, this?!"
By the time I worked with the above designer I had worked with several designers in the past on a variety of non-packaging related projects from book covers to labels and I’d been wowed a few times.
This time I was looking for an experienced package designer.
In the end, there were a few other issues that put me off: Firstly, it took about 2 to 3 weeks to get each draft, secondly, she didn’t work weekends and public holidays and I will admit, I’m used to designers that just get the job done come weekend or public holiday.
I frequently hire designers via 99designs and they get the job done in under a week from draft to the finished article and the standard is very high, that’s what I’m used to.
In the end, you know what you have in your head and you need to feel as though your designer not only listens to you but understands what you are trying to achieve and converts your vision into an Oscar winning design piece.
If you’re struggling with ideas on how to develop a quality brand and how to commission decent designers go through the branding section of The Money Spot Program.
Details of the package designer that I commissioned for Queen of Kinks are in the details section of module 3, just scroll down.
Have a business or life question you want me to answer? send me a message.
It occurred to me recently that one of the top things, if not the top thing, people bring to me is product labels and logos – they want my opinion…
Now, I’ll warn you: since I was in high school I got a reputation for only being asked for an opinion if and only if the truth was required. If you just want a compliment and some praise, I am definitely not your girl!
I don’t lie. I don’t pretend. I just tell it as I see it.
I’m not a designer myself but it usually takes me a split second to see if a design is good or not, whether or not it’s to my taste.
There are some common errors everyone makes the biggest of which is not using a package designer.
The worst culprits don’t use a designer at all and attempt the work themselves although they have no design skills whatsoever.
Why should you spend money on a designer?
Because the design is the face of the product and people will always judge a book by its cover.
If the colours look all crazy – no one will want that product seen in their house, remember, everyone has a reputation to maintain.
Ask yourself a few questions before you accept a design:
Would your prospective customer be proud to show it off?
If your prospective customer was carrying the product around or had it on display in their house, would people ask about it?
Would your product stand out (for the right reasons) in a top supermarket or would it stick out as not being up to their standard?
Typos and Grammar
If writing isn’t your thing, get someone to help you with the copy for your packaging.
I write rather well but I know someone who writes a lot better than I do so you best believe I asked for help with my Queen of Kinks bottle text.
Luckily my friend didn’t charge me but if you have to pay, so be it. You want the product you take to market to be the best work you could have possibly done.
I speak extensively about branding in The Money Spot Program because without an amazing looking product all marketing will fail even if you have easy access to distribution networks.
Finally, don’t hire a designer before seeing examples of their packaging work. If they’re a book cover designer or design business card graphics or logos or anything else other than packaging, DO NOT HIRE THEM.
Packaging design is an art in its own right. It comes with specialist knowledge that you couldn’t even imagine.
My designer knew everything I didn’t know.
He asked about what material the design would be printed on, that is plastic or metal, when I said plastic he asked for the specific type. He asked me about the printing methodology that would be used and so on.
This is the sort of knowledge that only a packaging designer would know to ask. The reason it’s necessary is that the colour scheme and design work have to be compatible with the material they will be printed on. A book designer won’t know any of that stuff.
Now, where can you find an outstanding packaging designer?
I have traditionally used elance.com now called upwork.com. If you want to save yourself the effort of finding and vetting a designer, I’m happy to give you the details of my designer if you are a member of The Money Spot Program.
Have a business or life question you want me to answer? Please email it to me with the subject “Question”. Note that all such questions will be answered as a blog post and will be sent to my full email list.
Want to start a business? Check out The Money Spot Program.
Heather on Wealth
I enjoy helping people think through their personal finances and blog about that here. Join my personal finance community at The Money Spot™.