Dynamic Artwork is the game-changing technology which increases speed to market, reduces risk of human error and provides marked savings in graphic services expenditure
In current times of change, companies are learning to ‘simplify and focus’ on their core processes and offerings in order to maintain customer and market share.
Central to the success of any Food & Beverage brand owner, or retailer business, is their ability to swiftly and successfully introduce new products to the market and seamlessly manage updates to existing ones.
Fundamental to these product innovation and renovation processes is the formalisation of the agreed recipes into approved technical specifications and the creation and validation of the associated packaging copy and packaging artworks. A mistake or oversight at this stage can lead, downstream, to a costly product withdrawal or recall.
Dynamic artwork (or automated artwork as it can also be known) has the potential to disrupt the traditional way that companies approach packaging copy and artwork creation with the opportunity to both simplify and de-risk the artwork creation process by automating this important phase in the development project.
This is game-changing technology which increases speed to market, reduces risk of human error and provides marked savings in graphic services expenditure.
What do we mean by ‘dynamic artwork’?
In our previous blog post we talked about how packaging design and packaging artwork being in reality, two quite distinct processes and how important it is to keep the two stages separate. In our definition, packaging design relates to the overall look/feel, colours, layout (including front-of-pack copy) and branding of the package; whereas packaging artwork is then the final file with the addition of the “back-of-pack” information; ingredients, allergens, consumer information, legal descriptors and so on.
We also explored in our recent post the benefits of centrally collating and verifying all the information that needs to be on-pack before it is then “married” to the design layout and how by doing this the artwork process is made considerably more streamlined and robust.
In dynamic or automated artwork we are following these best practice principles of:
- Splitting packaging design from packaging artwork
- Collating & validating upfront the on pack information
- Centralising everything into one digital solution
And then capitalising on this, by automating the packaging artwork stage.
To be specific, we are talking about automating this stage not only in terms of workflow but also in the physical creation of the artwork file that will be used at print stage. The final packaging artwork file, typically prepared by an external graphics service provider can now be created in minutes at the desktop of someone within the brand, manufacturer or retailer business.
The principle is simple and what is more it plays to the strengths of each collaborator in the process.
- The design team concentrates on the packaging design – the look/feel and branding of the package.
- The brand/manufacturer/retailer concentrates on the accuracy of the packaging information and text content.
- The centralised digital system joins the two and ensures that no text errors are incorporated in packaging artwork creation.
To explain, the design team, instead of creating a final packaging artwork file, creates a dynamic template which includes the elements of packaging design, the technical layout (cutter profile) and individual XML tagged areas or boxes to hold each element the on-pack copy content (product descriptors, barcodes, net weights, ingredients, nutrition etc).
This dynamic template can be created as soon as final package dimensions are known, which can be well ahead of final recipe and product specification approval. This template is uploaded to the centralised digital system and approved separately.
What is more, as long as the packaging dimensions and overall branding remains unchanged, this template can be reused indefinitely for any further updates to this package removing any obligation to revert back the to graphics service provider to make small text or content updates now or in the future.
Once the product specification is approved and on-pack copy is validated, all on-pack text can be transferred digitally to the artwork directly by an automated artwork function within a digital system (like 4Pack!).
The packaging artwork file can then be routed internally for final packaging artwork approval. The digital system will provide the user with automated checks to flag if there is a problem of overrun i.e. where the on-pack information is too long to fit into the area provided and, in this case, the dynamic template can be adjusted.
There are no nasty surprises, the font and formatting of the text is controlled within the dynamic template and the automated artwork file is a print ready file. All text content is verified to be identical to the approved pack copy or product specification.
But what if there are any last-minute changes in text?
Well, this can occasionally happen. In which case new packaging artwork version can be created within seconds once those changes are approved in the appropriate pack copy and/or product specifications.
So, let’s recap
By using a dynamic artwork process, we place the final stage in artwork creation within the capabilities of the brand’s, manufacturer’s or retailer’s internal organisation, thus streamlining the process at a critical point. This then increases our speed to market and accelerates our processes by up to 90%.
We facilitate a way to ensure that on pack text exactly matches our internal approved technical specifications and we also create a digital link between specification and artwork which can automatically alert us when a specification change means that an artwork requires updating.
By doing this we remove a major potential source of human error in our product and packaging development process.
In addition, by templating our packaging, we achieve a high degree of consistency in our product ranges and an improved handling of our brands.
And lastly, by streamlining this part of the process and shifting our focus to concentrate departments on their core competencies, this releases internal resource to work on further launches and product changes and allows us to make annual graphics expenditure savings of > 50%.
How can 4Pack help?
4Pack is the leading end-to-end product and packaging software for the Food & Beverage industry.
4Pack is a SaaS (software as a service) solution which helps brands and manufacturers manage their product and launch update process more efficiently.
Our platform links four key technologies together that allows you to drive efficiencies, speed up time to market, streamline your processes and increase collaboration between teams, internal and external.
4Pack allows you to:
- Centralise your product, ingredient and pack data
- Synchronise your artwork briefing, creation and approval
- Manage all your NPD and EPD projects in one integrated solution
- Create a digitally connect repository for valuable assets
Importantly, in the context of this topic, 4Pack includes the possibility to upload dynamic templates and create dynamic artworks directly within the application.
The choice of traditional or dynamic artwork is yours, 4Pack workflow can work with either graphics route offering you the flexibility of choice, the potential to take advantage of this new game-changing way of working and the opportunity to scale and future-proof your operations.