Rethinking Packaging Design Methodology
(originally written for the Biondo Group)
In this read we begin to take a look at the manner in which packaging design firms work.
Important considerations for a Client company looking for a packaging design firm are work style and process.
Design for business is a creative pursuit; it’s an iterative, process driven activity. One of the challenges every Design firm faces is in parsing its services into neat, clear, billable units. Design for business can be by its very “collaborative” nature – messy, with design and production activities, decisions, strategy, budget and thinking, all bleeding into one another.
The traditional, manner in which a design program has been broken down in proposal form, and managed in billing has been the Phase methodology. The standard, universally accepted Phase methodology is fine and well, neat and tidy.
Other ways in which a Design firm can work from a fiscal perspective include retainerships, hourly rates or “per project” fees, but the process itself is still Phase based.
The proliferation of digital technology laid waste to the neat and clean design development of the Phase work style. Creative review meetings were events that took days to prepare for: making prints, mounting prints, printing leave-behinds, travel for one party or another. Now reviews happen on the fly, using cell phones and Skype. Meetings and reviews were events, pricey time-consuming billable events at that – not so much anymore.
Back then, at the end of each review meeting, clear direction was given to the design team to push the work to the next phase of development. These phase closing review meetings provided a clear conclusion to a Phase of development and allowed the official initiation of a new Phase. They also provided a break.
This brief gap in between Phases allowed an opportunity to take care of paperwork, organizing and provided an opportunity for all parties involved to recharge themselves for the next Phase of development.
The process worked well.
Along came digital technology and wouldn’t you know, it messed up what were nice, clean orderly stages and steps of process. Phases of development that worked so well in the past didn’t seem to work at all in this new development environment.
Concurrencies became the order of the day due to fast tracking projects. Agile working methodologies further complicated things for the Phase based designer and so Program Managers were needed to be the keepers of process and the authority needed to keep the cat herd in order.
But the truth of it is, that we regularly find ourselves in situations where the stages of development don’t line up all nice and neat.
And so right up front at the Biondo Group we listen, before we put finger to keyboard, and custom tailor our process to accommodate and wrap around the client’s needs, and the project under discussion.
After 50+ years, we know for a fact that one size does not fit all, nor does one working methodology work in all situations, so we stay limber and flexible because our clients require it.