How to find a good package designer
Updated: Aug 31
Finding a good package designer isn’t as easy as just google searching “graphic designer”. Package design requires good design skills, a creative mind, a knowledge of government regulations, and a thorough understanding of the various print processes. It’s a bit like putting a puzzle together—you have size limitations, information requirements, and you have to make the package stand out on the shelf against its competition.
First, look for someone with experience in package design. They may not have to have experience in your niche, but they need to have package design experience and be comfortable working with packaging suppliers. Package designers have to be able to get in the heads of your target audience to understand what will appeal to them while understanding your brand and then be able to work and be creative within your packaging parameters. If you need help sourcing suppliers then look for someone that can also help you do that—the more experience the more contacts they will have.
Look at their portfolio. Do you like what you see? If so, schedule a call to discuss your project and see if you will be a good fit. See if you like their personality and get a feel for their enthusiasm for the project—and most importantly, do they “get” you and your product/brand?
Have a budget in mind—many website contact forms will ask this question. Packaging is not where you should pinch pennies. Packaging sells the product—at least the first time. There’s a saying “Good work ain’t cheap, cheap work ain’t good.” That doesn’t mean that the most expensive designer is always the best for the job. You are paying for expertise so find someone that you trust and who has the experience to guide you through the process.
Know what your deadline is. When do you need the finished product in hand? You’ll have to work backward from there, allowing for production time, any sampling you might need to be done, government approval (if necessary), and design time. Many design firms and designers book out in advance so make sure you allow for plenty of time or you might be paying a big upcharge—if they will even take on your project.
Now that you know what you are looking for, you might be wondering where to look for them. If you have a print supplier lined up already you can start by asking them for some referrals. Printers see all kinds of files come through their facility and they know the designers who know what they are doing. You can try a google search either in general or for someone near you. You can also look through some contests to see past winners—graphis, gdusa, the dieline—are a few good places to start. You can search social media hashtags like #packagedesigner on Instagram and also check out the packaging of the world website where you can filter your search by all kinds of things. Ask your friends—you never know whom they might know!
If you have any questions or would like to talk with us about your packaging project, feel free to drop us a line.