Whether I’m designing a brand identity, packaging, or print materials, I am always thinking ahead. How will this be used in the future? What if they expand the line? I ask these questions, and more, of the client, and then I keep the answers in my mind as I’m sketching out concepts and working on the computer. Thinking this way ensures that the final design is adaptable which can save the client money in the long run.
Another part of big-picture thinking is knowing where the client is in their business journey. Are they just starting up with tight budgets for production or are they well established? This is particularly true in the case of wine labels. New wineries with lower label quantities may not want to spring for embossing and foil stamp dies on their first print run or custom capsules. I always have a conversation with the client and the suppliers about what our options are now and in the future. The first print run may not include an embossed and foil-stamped logo but that can easily be changed on the second, third, or fourth run if you've planned ahead in the design phase. Likewise, they may use stock capsules until they reach the production quantities that make doing custom ones possible.
Say you are working on a line of ice cream packaging or a set of brochures for a company. How many different varieties are there? How long is the longest varietal name you have to incorporate? How are you going to fit that into the design so that you can easily change out the name? Does color or imagery (or both) change with each different varietal? These are the questions that I ask myself and then I start with the longest varietal text to make sure it fits in the design. There is nothing worse than getting several SKUs done only to discover that one of the varieties has a much longer name and doesn’t fit in the design and you have to go back and re-work things.
A little forethought and planning can go a long way in making things easier in the future—and building confidence in your process with the client.