One size does not always fit all. While large corporations often have the means to invest in high-end Artwork Management Solutions (AMS), mid-size companies face a unique challenge. They need to find a middle ground between limited budgets and the demand for efficient, compliant processes.
Thankfully, this is not a problem without a solution as there is not only large scale AMS solutions in the market today but also those that cater to the needs of mid-size enterprises.
Navigating Mid-Size Challenges
Mid-size companies encounter a distinct dilemma: how to achieve streamlined packaging design processes without exceeding their financial capacities, and still complying with regulations for quality, control, and even validation. Unlike industry giants, these businesses require a solution that is both powerful and cost-effective, yet equally adept at ensuring quality and compliance.
Harnessing Innovative Solutions
What are the main benefits that solutions such as Twona for mid-size companies offer?
1. Affordability: Mid-size solutions are designed to be budget-friendly without compromising on performance. This enables mid-size companies to optimize operations without straining their financial resources.
2. Scalability: As mid-size companies evolve, their solutions must evolve too. AMS solutions can adapt to new challenges as businesses expand and diversify.
3. Flexibility: Unlike one-size-fits-all solutions, you will find that it is possible to match the unique workflow of your business, ideal for mid-size companies with distinct processes.
4. Compliance Alignment: Even though you’re not a corporate giant, regulations are still pertinent. You should still be able to meet industry standards and compliance requirements, safeguarding your business against costly setbacks.
Realizing Efficiency: The Power in Practice
The benefits of adopting an AMS solution for mid-range companies extend well beyond the fiscal aspect:
1. Time Efficiency: With AMS solutions fine-tuned to your workflow, tasks become streamlined and automated, drastically reducing the time needed for design approvals and collaboration.
2. Error Reduction: Automated workflows and version control mechanisms significantly diminish the risk of errors, ensuring accurate designs are approved for production without unnecessary delays.
3. Collaborative Seamlessness: encompass collaboration features that enable teams to work harmoniously, regardless of geographical separation.
4. Competitive Advantage: In a competitive arena that values efficiency and adaptability, mid-size companies equipped with an AMS can stand tall alongside industry giants.
Embrace the Opportunity: Unleash the Power of an AMS Solution
If you’re a mid-size company aiming to gain a competitive edge in the packaging sphere, don’t underestimate the use of a powerful AMS. Embrace a solution designed to match your ambitions, enhance your efficiency, and usher in a new era of accomplishment, all while keeping your financial landscape in focus. In a world of dynamic solutions, your business deserves nothing less.
Picture this scenario: endless email threads, multiple attachments in several emails as the size limit is reached, wrong attachments sent, lots of back-and-forth to explain that the attachment was wrong and here is the correct one, version confusion… If this is your day-to-day, you can see how it is a recipe for delays, miscommunication, and even the occasional oversight that can have far-reaching consequences.
Thankfully, you can stop that chain of inefficiency and elevate packaging approval processes to new heights of effectiveness—using digital solutions that go beyond the limitations of email attachments.
The Limitations of Email-Based Approvals
Email has long been a staple in communication, but when it comes to managing critical processes like packaging approvals, it falls short in several key areas:
1. Fragmented Communication: Email threads often span across various messages, making it challenging to maintain context and track changes accurately.
2. Version Control Nightmares: Multiple attachments with similar filenames can lead to confusion, especially when different versions are being reviewed concurrently.
3. Delayed Responses: Emails can be buried in overflowing inboxes or overlooked amidst the deluge of messages, causing delays in approvals.
4. Lack of Accountability: It’s hard to ascertain who has reviewed or approved a design at any given point in time, making accountability a murky area.
The Digital Leap: What Modern Approvals Demand
Fortunately, there are digital solutions that tackle the challenges of packaging approvals. These solutions offer a range of features that revolutionize the approval process:
1. Collaborative Workspace: Imagine a virtual space where stakeholders can congregate, review designs, provide feedback, and hold discussions—all within a single, organized platform.
2. Version Tracking: A digital system maintains a comprehensive history of design versions, enabling easy comparison and minimizing errors caused by outdated versions.
3. Transparent Approval Paths: Digital solutions allow you to define and visualize approval paths clearly, ensuring designs navigate through the correct channels without bottlenecks.
4. Automated Reminders: Say goodbye to chasing approvals. Automated notifications ensure that reviewers are prompted at the right time, reducing approval cycle times. You can also choose to send manual reminders.
5. Accountability and Audit Trails: Each action is recorded, creating an audit trail that clarifies who did what, when, and why—an essential feature for compliance-driven industries.
The Transformative Impact: Efficiency and Precision Redefined
Do you need to hear about the advantages of using such a digital solution ?
1. Streamlined Workflows: With collaborative workspaces, design reviews become intuitive and streamlined, eliminating the confusion associated with email chains.
2. Rapid Turnaround: Design approvals take less time, enhancing your ability to bring products to market swiftly and seize new opportunities.
3. Enhanced Accuracy: Version control hiccups and miscommunications become a thing of the past, reducing the chances of errors slipping through the cracks.
4. Compliance Confidence: Industries subject to regulations can breathe easier knowing that an accountable, traceable process is in place.
So, are you ready to leave the era of email attachments behind and embark on a journey towards efficient, compliant, and precise packaging approvals? If you are, please give a try to our approvals solution and then, contact us to help you implement it for your team.
Some of you may have been wondering what happens before a new release of Twona AMS takes place.
When developing any new functionality for our Twona system, we follow a clear structure, which is consistent with SaaS product development. It consists of a well-defined series of steps that allows us to design, develop, deploy, and maintain the system in the best way possible.
Here is a bit of what happens :
Ideas and planning
Where do new functionality originate from? That depends. Sometimes new functionality is linked to user feedback which comes from tickets, or conversations with their customer success managers; other times, we follow the market to see what functionality is out there that could be interesting for our users and we evaluate it; a new feature could also be the result of an internal business objective that we aim at achieving.
Whatever the source of this, we always assess what the impact of the functionality would be on other features already in the system, how it would affect user experience, whether this is something that all or most customers would benefit from and use, and how it would affect our existing infrastructure.
During this phase, we also make sure that the user requirements (internal or external) are clearly defined, looking at all possible scenarios.
All this information is gathered in our Product Development board, in the form of cards, which will go through several process steps if they are validated by the product owners. If the card gets validated, the next phase will kick in, that would be the design phase.
When we talk about design, we are referring to the visual interpretation of the application screens that will contain the new functionality. These are often referred to as wireframes or mockups. When we create these, we also make sure that we cover the interactions and integration with existing features, and we involve the technical and customer team to generate a result that is consistent with the rest of the application and will be seamless for customer experience.
Here we define a lot of possible scenarios of how the functionality would be used, where it would be accessed from, and how it will show to users with different access levels to the platform.
Here is where our front and back-end developers get to work! They will be writing code (clean and modular ;)) to implement the wireframe design, integrate it with the existing software, and make sure that all is compatible and it will create no disruptions to user experience.
The development takes place in servers separated from our own platform, to make sure that nothing is compromised.. When it is ready, it is moved to the testing environment.
During the testing phase, several departments will be involved.
Initially, the development team performs a test to confirm the functionality is working as expected, but more importantly, they perform some integration tests. These make sure that the new functionality is not going to break anything that was already in place.
When this is confirmed, product owner and customer success get to test the functionality. Several eyes see more than two, so we always make sure that not only the originator of the request for new functionality gets to test it, but at least one other person does, although often testing is performed by at least 3 people, sometimes taking different roles and user permissions when performing the test..
If any issues are identified, it means we are back to the development team. A proper description of the issue is registered in our Product Board and the card about the functionality is sent back. The development team then works on the areas that are not working as expected, usually have questions for the requestors, and get back to coding.
The full process above is repeated until the functionality passes all tests.
When this happens, the functionality can be put into the production enviroment.
At Twona, we have a rule to not deploy (send to production) on a Friday afternoon. Although we very rarely experience any issues when doing a deployment, we want to make sure that if we do encounter an issue, this is sorted quicky, without robbing anyone of their weekend.
So, we normally plan for deployments during the day. This is posible because there is little to no disruption to our client’s work when deployments take place, they are rather transparent to their operations. The reason for this is that we use a process where the old functionality/current version of our system does not get disconnected until the new one is in place, so the users will not notice anything until that happens and the new release is appearing in their screens.
The work starts by preparing the deployment environment : servers, databases, any infrastructure changes (if any , as we normally do these separately). When we start the deployment to the production environment, this is constantly monitored for any issues. When the release is completed, a notification is sent internally so that account managers can keep an eye on their clients for any potential ticket that may be related to the deployment.
Documentation and Communication
This phase does not really start now, after the deployment, but from the moment the development starts on the new functionality.
We make sure that new functionality is added to the online user guides, and start the preparation of newsletters with information on the changes. Very often, we distribute this information before the deployment is done so that our users get to know what is coming and how it will look when they log in to the system.
We also organize online webinars regularly to communicate and explain about the new releases, especially when these cover several items, or when the functionality is very new or very different to what our users were experiencing before so we can make sure that they can continue to make the most out of our tool.
Customer feedback, support, and continuous improvement
And mentioned before, we closely monitor our user experience after a release. This happens proactively through interactions with clients via their success managers and during trainings/online sessions about the new functionality, and more reactively through reaction to tickets that customers may have raised.
We do receive a lot of positive feedback as a reaction to new features, but of course there are also improvement points that customers may notice. We definitely react immediately to any comment that would indicate a bug/malfunction of the functionality or any other area of the application as a result of the release, and those are given priority and sorted with urgency.
However, we do take all feedback very seriously, and even though not all requests for improvement or changes are seeing the light immediately, they are always studied by the product team in combination with customer success to define whether these are individual/customized requests or they would benefit our customer base.
As mentioned, many of our new features start off as a customer feedback request, which is why we appreciate any input we receive about the tool. We are always looking for opportunities to identify areas for further enhancement.
Of course, we have our regular development and update cycles, but we aim to combine both our own views and expertise on the market with the needs of our customers to make the best artwork management system possible.
What is G.I.G.O? The term literally means Garbage in, Garbage out. This principle is a very significant one when it comes to implementing any new solutions at your company, let it be a new CRM, a marketing automation system, or an Artwork Management platform. Why? Because it refers to the fact that the quality of output or results from a system is only as good as the quality of input or data that is entered into it.
So if you enter garbage into it, what would you expect to get out?
Implementing a new tool gives you an opportunity to do things differently, better, and to remove or change any bad information or processes that you may have been carrying on for a long time. Therefore, neglecting the GIGO principle can lead to inefficiencies, inaccuracies, and suboptimal outcomes. And, who wants that, right?
The importance of GIGO in implementing your new tool
The success of your implementation depends heavily on the quality of data that is fed into the system. This is why it is not just about implementing a new tool, but often, this should be tackled as a project in itself within organizations, where not only the system provider has tasks (e.g configuration, user set up and onboarding…) but also the team at the company implementing will have to do some work to prep their data, processes, users to the tool that is coming.
What are some areas that may be affected if this is not properly considered?
Your Data Consistency
Imagine for a second we are talking here about a CRM system and that your old database had a series of fields that your main object record contained that do not exist any more (e.g. you got rid of fax number in a contact database), or are named differently (e.g. Surname>last name), or that the format in your new tool (or your new process) calls for a split of a field into two (First name Last Name instead of Name). These types of changes are normal, but would require your team to take a closer look at the database, than just exporting the data and sending it to your new provider for migration.
Inaccurate or inconsistent data can lead to failed data migration, but also to wrong reporting, analytics, and ultimately, decision-making. It can create discrepancies in customer records, financial transactions, or project management depending on what type of system we are talking about.
The most important thing to consider is that it is most of the times not at 1:1 transfer of data and information, but that it does require some fine tuning and review. This is often a big misinterpretation when companies decide for a new system, they expect the provider to do all work, and are surprised when they are also given some work to clear mistakes or inconsistencies in data to be used in the new tool. You should understand then that your provider will be the expert on their tool and can guide you in how to do things better this time around, but they should not be responsible for any garbage that stays in from the old system, and correcting those is really your responsibility, as it is you who knows most about your data and processes.
Your process efficiency
Sometimes you carry on doing things in a specific way because that is how it was done when you started, or because it would take a lot of effort to change. Well, implementing a new tool is a good moment to think if the process you have is the right one. Even if you keep it the same, and I don’t really suggest you do this, things will be done differently in a new tool, and your process may be slowing down progress for that same reason. Without proper attention, workflows and processes within the new system may suffer, as it may require unnecessary manual interventions, time-consuming workarounds, and ultimately, will lead to decreased productivity.
One example from our tool is how approvals are done. A lot of clients want to have their workflow directly replicated into our tool, however, that often means that they will have a few extra steps in their process that may not be needed, and could be sorted with an approval request, and maybe an automation rule to move the project along the workflow. Sometimes, they still do not understand the system enough to make that decision themselves, and are afraid to trust us with that decision. I would say that 95% of the clients who did not go with our suggestions the first time around, decide to make changes as we suggested a few months into the implementation, as they realize that the current set up is slowing them down.
Your user frustration level
When the data in the SaaS system is of low quality, or the process does not run smoothly because it is not optimized, users may encounter issues such as missing or incorrect information, difficulty in locating data, extra manual steps, or incorrect access. This can lead to frustration, decreased user adoption, and hindered collaboration within the organization.
All these are things you do not want when you have a new system. You do need users to slowly get trained and feel confident with the new tool so they are able to do their jobs better, and not complain about everything and second guess the change. There is so much that the provider can do to ensure user satisfaction, and of course this includes proper training and onboarding within your team, and making sure your requirements are translated into your configuration. But a lot of that satisfaction level starts from within, with your own internal communication about the reasons for the change, and the changes that have been implemented, as well as the development of SOPs and manuals so that it is all clear how you are actually using the tool internally.
So, if you are in the process of selecting a new tool, or already working towards that implementation, I hope these reflections help you in understanding the importance of starting with high-quality input to achieve desirable output, and also, that changing a new tool is not just about the tool, but also about the data you will put in and the processes that will make the tool successful.
My last remark would be to trust the partner you have chosen to give you advice about how you can make the best out of the tool – it may be hard sometimes to accept that the way you did things before was not perfect, but it will be good to start with a – not white/blank, as you don’t start from scratch but maybe light grey – slay into the new tool.
Consumers value convenience when deciding what products to use. Or more importantly, “Consumers might not always be aware of the importance of convenience in their behavior until it is absent. “
Importance of Convenience in Consumer Behavior (analyticssteps.com)
I don’t know about you, but I recently left a beautiful and perfect size lunch-box on the shelf because I struggled to open it when I tried to see the inside. And I hate it when opening a product outer packaging becomes a fight between me and the cardboard or plastic around it, but love the easiness of a little pull-me tab to tear the top so my purchase magically appears.
What are some elements that make product packaging user-friendly for me?
As mentioned, being able to open the packaging without it becoming a fight or having to read thru confusing instrutions, makes the whole world when you first are presented with a product. That creates a positive first impression and contributes to overall customer satisfaction.
Unboxing videos would not be so popular would you be seeing someone tear down cardboard and dangling with scissors to break into the purchased goods. Packaging that guarantees a quick access, an organized product structure, and is not too fragile to damage by mistake is crucial for customer retention and brand loyalty.
This is not always simple, specially when it comes to fragile goods that could damage during transportation, as even if the immediate product packaging may be friendly, the outer package could be a total nightmare. Therefore, manufacturers must consider the strength and integrity of the packaging to prevent accidental opening during transportation and storage while ensuring that end-users can open it effortlessly, which proves to be difficult to achieve sometimes.
Some elements that you may consider to make your packaging easy to open are:
Tear strips and perforations
Pull tabs or finger lifts
Textured or embossed easy-grip features
Easy-to-peel seals, such as peel-off stickers or tape
Packaging that cannot be resealed often means that consumers need to use other materials to reseal your product, or need to use a different container for it once opened, which defeats all your branding efforts.
Some products require to be re-sealed after each use, to preserve freshness or to prevent spills like personal care items, pet supplies, and household cleaners. Following in the convenience clause, your clients would appreciate being able to reseal the package without having to transfer the contents into additional containers.
Incorporate resealable closures, such as zippers, snaps, adhesive or magnetic strips; This allows users to open and close the packaging multiple times without compromising its integrity!
But this is easier said than done, as effective resealable packaging requires careful material selection and design considerations to maintain the integrity of the seal and prevent leakage, which also goes hand in hand with regulations about product safety or that increase the risk of tampering.
Additionally, manufacturers must conduct rigorous testing to ensure the resealing mechanism functions as intended throughout the product’s lifespan – this is not always the case when the re-seal gets in contact with “the elements” around it.
This often means that good resealing options come with a cost, and this is why they are not used YET on so many of the daily need products, but we start to see these in luxury or non-essential products. The trend is there, and as long as research continues and there is investigation into new ways of resealing products, and maybe some regulations come in to place, we will see these spread to essential products in due time.
Ergonomics play a crucial role in user-friendly packaging, especially for products that consumers handle regularly or for extended periods. For example, in personal care products or household tools, ergonomic packaging reduces strain on users’ hands and provides a comfortable grip, enhancing the overall user experience. This is why ergonomic packaging will not only enhances the user experience but also demonstrates a brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction and well-being, making it a reason for staying loyal to a brand or product.
Manufacturers must carefully assess the target audience’s needs and preferences when designing ergonomic packaging. Conducting user testing and incorporating feedback during the design process can lead to packaging that aligns with consumers’ physical requirements and enhances usability.
Some ideas of ergonomic packaging that you can incorporate into your packaging
Soft-touch surfaces or materials, that enhance the tactile experience, and making the product comfortable to handle.
Curved edges and corners that make the packaging safer to handle.
Grip indentations that help handle the packaging securely and comfortably
Packaging that can be opened, closed, or dispensed with just one hand
Include handles into your packaging for easier handling and weight distribution
What are some innovations that you are carrying into your packaging design to make sure that it ticks all the boxes for convenience for your target group? How are you incorporating feedback from them into your design efforts? And finally, how are you making sure that the packaging meets all the regulations and brand requirements when it comes to these user-friendly elements?
If you follow us in Social Media (if you do not, this is the time! Follow now) you would have seen a quick poll we had where we were asking what are the main challenges you face when launching a new product. Majority of the responses went about “meeting all the regulations”. Indeed, due to the highly regulated industry, pharmaceutical packaging is not a simple one to tackle, and it makes it essential for packaging artwork coordinators to have a good understanding of the complex regulatory requirements governing pharmaceutical packaging. So, what it is exactly you need to pay attention to?
One very important aspect of pharmaceutical packaging compliance is adhering to labeling requirements, which are likely to differ from country to country or region to region. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations governing your target market. Some common labeling elements are:
Drug Name and Strength: to be clearly and prominently displayed on the primary packaging.
Indications and Usage: accurate information regarding the approved indications for use of the medication.
Dosage Instructions: recommended dosage, frequency, and administration route.
Storage Instructions: appropriate storage conditions to maintain the drug’s stability and efficacy.
Expiration Date: expiry date prominently displayed to ensure patients use the medication before it becomes ineffective.
It is important to include warning statements where applicable, to communicate potential risks and ensure patient safety:
Contraindications: Clearly state any circumstances under which the medication should not be used.
Side Effects: comprehensive list of potential side effects and instructions for managing them.
Allergies: any known allergens or substances that may cause an allergic reaction should be highlighted.
Drug Interactions: if interactions with other medications, supplements, or substances are identified, these need to be mentioned.
Special Populations: these are specific instructions for groups such as pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or elderly patients, amongst others.
Package inserts or leaflets provide a wealth of information to patients and healthcare professionals. If you incorporate an insert or leaflet in your product packaging, consider the following:
Information should be organized in a clear and legible manner, using appropriate font sizes and layout.
Comprehensive Product Information: the information provided should not leave doubts to interpretation and should not leave the patient with questions about usage or contraindications.
Provide detailed instructions on dosage, administration, and any special considerations.
List potential side effects, their frequency, and steps to take if they occur.
Include contact details for reporting adverse events or seeking additional information.
Working with Regulatory Agencies
Finally, one way of making sure that you remain compliant with packaging regulations is having a good relationship with regulatory bodies and agencies that lead in your area of operation. You can achieve this by staying up to date with regulatory changes and engaging with the regulatory agencies early in the process to seek guidance and clarification, in a proactive manner. In order to do this, you will need to identify the right contacts in the regulatory agency, and maintain open communication lines so that when you have comments, queries or concerns, you do not loose valuable time trying to find the right person to answer. Also important is to be acquainted with their submission timelines, so when you need to submit artworks and documentation for approval, no deadlines are missed and approvals are provided in time. This is very relevant since failing to reach approval deadlines can mean that your product will no go to market when planned, with the implications of costs and process loss that this entails. When submitting these, not only timing is important, but you should also pay attention to the accuracy of all materials (artworks, texts,…) so that there is no way they are sent back/rejected. Finally, it is important that you realize that being in this industry means that you will be audited periodically; this means that maintaining comprehensive records, documentation, and an organized system for tracking changes on your artworks is of main importance!
Although the landscape of pharmaceutical packaging regulations is complex, using best practices and understanding these key areas would make your work much easier, ensuring that you safely and effectively delivery medications to patients worldwide.
Having a consistent brand experience is one important element for your product success in the market. Achieving this is not always easy, specially when companies have a multitude of products in different categories, or products that are targeted at different customer groups, when they use many different designers/agencies, and specially, when deadlines are tight. As an artwork coordinator, you have to bridge those gaps and make sure that your brand stands out, and is recognizable throughout all your different product lines, without incoherences and mistakes.
These 5 best practices can help you get there!
1. Define brand guidelines
We have talked about brand guidelines before. A complete brand book will contain the rules and directions on how to use design elements like typography, colors, imagery and logos, as well as define the brand tone of voice and messaging, so that the brand values and image are easily recognizable by the product users. Artwork coordinators need to have a deep knowledge of the guidelines, how to implement them, and when exceptions can be made. It is your job to make sure that the brand guidelines are complete, and cover all possible packaging scenarios, so that when new products are introduced, their packaging design is easily replicated with its specific differences and nuances.
2. Use consistent templates
Once you have your brand guidelines in place, you should make sure to develop templates that make your work easier when creating new artworks; that way, you can be sure that all your product line will have a similar look and feel. The templates can have locked out elements like the placement of logos, product name, or key visual elements, so that you can be sure that those align perfectly.
Not sure how you feel about it, but I hate when I purchase a bag of chick-pea crisps and a bag of lentil crisps from the same company, and the packaging is “slightly off”, with small detail things like: a logo is bigger in one bag than in the other, or moved to the side, or the key selling point of the product appears on a particular font or color, and these do not match. Clients notice these small things, and they are annoyed by them. At least, clients like me :D!
3. Work closely with designers
If you are not acting as a designer as well (which let’s be honest, happens quite often to artwork coordinators), you will certainly be working with them very closely, to create the packaging artworks.
It is of absolute importance that the guidelines are understood by the design team, so you should make it a priority to teach them about the guidelines, not just show them where the brandbook document is stored (*yes, I know you have done this before, it is ok, that is why I am here to let you know that you need to stop doing that and provide proper training on your brand guidelines).
Additionally, you also should make sure that they have all in their possession all key brand elements: logos in the right size and formats, fonts that they will need to use, color codes for RGB/CMYK, image bank/library access, design tool licenses… so that the quality of what they produce can be up to standards.
4. Conduct regular reviews
Once the packaging design is completed and in use, it is not crazy to plan periodical reviews. One clear scenario for this is when you are working with different designers/studios, or when you recently changed providers, so that you can compare their adherence to the guidelines and verify that brand consistency remains intact. It is also possible that over time, your guidelines evolve as your brand does, and this is also a moment when reviewing your packaging design would be needed, so that any changes implemented in the guidelines can also be put in place in your packaging moving forward.
These changes can also be driven by new regulations that require new icons/information on your packaging, and without a proper review, some of your artworks could be deviating from the way you want them to be created, just due to lack of communication about the changes, country-specific regulations, or others. It is your job as an artwork coordinator to have this under control, and ensure that the packaging effectively communicates the product’s value proposition at any given time.
5. Ensure consistent production
In the end, what the client will see is what they can get their hands on, so the final product on the shelves. For multiple reasons, the production of different products of your portfolio may not take place in the same printer, or production facility , which means that the printing or quality standards may vary. Because products end up sitting next to each other on the shelves, it is possible that two variations of a product / different line of a product, end up showing small (hopefully) differences in the final sold product. Consistency of the final product with the approved artwork is key to a positive brand image. This is why it is often important to be able to compare the final product (e.g from a photo of a box, wrapping, bottle, can…) with the final approved artwork. This is something that you can for instance do with Twona X-RAY, a complete Artwork and Graphic Design Comparison Platform that helps you effortlessly review your text, graphics, and final packaging.
Packaging consistency is therefore a matter of aligning multiple stakeholders and making sure they all adhere to the brand standard, templates and guidelines defined by your company. It involves activities such as information sharing, training, and reviews (multiple rounds) that often fall on the task list of an artwork coordinator, while juggling other many tasks and deadlines. The job of the artwork coordinator is a complex one, as we explained before!
Following these 5 best practices, we are sure that you will achieve more consistency in your packaging design and new product launch. Do you have any other tips to share with fellow artwork coordinators?
By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over
World Health Organization
As the global population ages, the demand for medication will also increase. Already 10 years ago, some 87 % of people aged 75 years or more reported using prescribed medicines on a regular basis (Ageing Europe report, 2020 edition). This number is only expected to rise. As a marketer, I see this as a clear change in the target audience for pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, a change that needs to be accompanied with support on the product side for the unique requirements of older people.
This includes packaging of the products, of course, which require innovative solutions to meet the needs of a new target group while providing all crucial and mandatory information, and do so in multiple languages.
One of the areas where improvements may be needed is readability of the product information. While the standard clear print size for fonts to be readable is established at 12 points, this is by far not the norm in pharmaceutical leaflets, labels and others, where sizes of 7 to 9points are more the average (this can be even smaller for food packaging, but that is a story for a different post!).
Of course, it is understandable that they are dealing with space limitations to provide a very large amount of information that is critical (and non-optional). However, due to this criticality, it is of importance that the user of the product would be able to read it properly.
Solutions like Attach-A-Leaflet®, which allows for a multi-page label to be used in a product, can help with increasing the font size while keeping packaging small.
Another aspect to help with readability, is making the leaflets easier to decipher. In general, medicine leaflets are difficult to understand for the average Joe/Jane. If the average Joe/Jane is also on the older spectrum, the difficulty increases. This is why, using images in leaflets can help translate some of the complex terms into relatable instructions to follow, making it more accesible to a wider audience.
Creating clear, easy to understand, and attractive-looking images/illustrations that support the application instructions of medicines can suppose a significant improvement for the end-user. On the packaging design sign, adding illustrations to leaflets represents an extra layer in the packaging design; however, these illustrations do not need to be changed frequently, they can be outsourced or purchased to a third party specialized in creating these sort of materials (hint: we can offer you these services, but of course, feel free to do extended research).
Personalization is a growing marketing trend in multiple industries, as a way to distinguish yourself from competitors. In Pharma, this personalization may come with an added value of tailoring the packaging to the individual patient needs, through the use of technology. Think of including personal medication dosages, intake instructions, or reminders to take medication.
When thinking of personalized packaging, these are some of the forms it can take:
The main use ofpre-packaged medication is to dispense medication into individual packages, which contain information such as the patient’s name, administration instructions and dosage in a personalized label. The main objective of these labels is to ensure patients are taking the correct (amount of) medication, so the risk of medication errors is reduced.
Electronic Medication Dispensers
In addition to pre-packaged medication, technology can also make sure that medicines are dispensed automatically to the patient at specific times, reminding patients to take medication, and providing alerts if a dose is missed. Electronic medication dispensers can be programmed to this purpose.
Smart Packaging solutions
Another idea to make packaging of medicines more accesible is to introduce the so-called Smart Packaging solutions. These innovative solution utilizes technology to provide drug users with individualized information about their medication. These can be interactive features such as audio or visual instructions such as dosage instructions and potential side effects, that are specific to the patient’s personal needs. For older people who may not be able to read small print or forget complex medication regimens, Smart packaging can give users the confidence that they are taking the correct medication at the right time, reducing the risk of medication errors.
What types of Smart packaging can be used?
Interactive Packaging: videos, animations… in the form of augmented reality (AR) and accessed through a smartphone or tablet that can educate patients about their medication.
Near Field Communication (NFC) Packaging: allows patients to receive information on their mobile device about dosage, potential side effects, and other important information.
QR Code Packaging: Patients can scan the QR code, and access information about the medication, including dosage instructions and potential side effects.
Extending braille beyond the box
“The name in Braille does not have to be printed on the immediate packaging – such as blisters, ampoules and bottles, it only has to appear on the outer/secondary packaging, which is normally a carton”.
Guidance concerning the Braille requirements for labelling and the package leaflet
While not mandatory, extending braille beyond the traditional use of embossing it on the boxes, would make these more accesible to an older generation with – quite frequently – an impaired sight, giving the more independence to manage their medical needs in a safely manner . Here are some examples:
Blisters and caps: braille added on blisters holding individual pills or medication caps would allow individuals to identify medicines by touch.
Labels and leaflets: adding braille to the medication labels and leaflets would allow visually impaired individuals to access information such as dosage, expiry dates, warnings, contraindications, side effects…
Vials: the use of braille in vials could be limited to information such as name, expiry date, dosage
These are some of the ideas that come to mind in order to make pharmaceutical packaging design more accesible to the needs of the ageing population (although already without thinking about a user of age, the blind and visually impaired would benefit from these improvements on a daily basis!). Ideally, everything would be implemented in the future but I would be happy to see small steps towards that goal, and legislation coming into place to make more of these “nice to haves” mandatory moving forward. What is your take on this?
AMS is not only the Airport code for the city Twona is based in, but also used as an abbreviation for an Artwork Management System. This is a software solution designed to streamline the creation, approval, and distribution of creative assets such as packaging elements, leaflets, labels, and other marketing materials.
The goal of an AMS is to simplify and automate the often complex and time-consuming process of artwork creation and management, thereby reducing errors, saving time, and improving overall efficiency.
It also means that all data related to your artwork is stored in one place; no more versions saved on local drives claiming to be the most recent and sent around stakeholders in error, conversations and discussions in one repository ensuring transparency for all stakeholders involved and don’t forget traceability of who did what when.
There are many benefits to introducing an AMS into a company that produces any type of packaging, labels or marketing leaflets. Here are a few of the most important:
Centralised storage and organisation: An AMS provides a centralised location for storing and organising all creative assets. This makes it easier for teams to find the assets they need, and also reduces the risk of assets becoming lost or misfiled.
Improved collaboration: An AMS makes it easier for teams to collaborate on the creation and approval of creative assets. With an AMS, teams can easily share feedback and revisions, reducing the need for multiple rounds of revision and improving the speed at which projects can be completed.
Better control and visibility: An AMS provides a centralised location for tracking and monitoring the progress of artwork projects. This makes it easier for managers to see which projects are on track, which are running behind schedule, and which need additional attention.
Enhanced brand consistency: An AMS helps to ensure that all creative assets are consistent with a company’s brand guidelines. This helps to maintain a consistent look and feel across all marketing materials, improving brand recognition and credibility.
Increased efficiency: An AMS automates many of the manual processes involved in the creation and management of creative assets. This saves time, reduces errors, and improves overall efficiency.
Compliance and regulatory support: Some AMS can help companies comply with regulations and standards by automatically checking that all creative assets meet the required guidelines. This helps to avoid costly mistakes and ensures that all materials are compliant with industry regulations.
Streamlined approval processes: An AMS can help to streamline the approval process for creative assets by automating many of the manual steps involved. This reduces the time required for approval and makes it easier for teams to keep track of the status of each project.
If you are thinking that your company would benefit from an AMS, there is no harm in reaching out and talking to a few. We here at Twona would be more than happy to help you make the decision to invest in an AMS or not. We are also honest and will let you know if Twona is or isn’t right for your needs. So, get in touch today and let’s start the conversation.
En el mundo del diseño, la creación de plantillas de diseño o templates a partir de ahora, es esencial para el éxito de cualquier proyecto. Un template es un documento o archivo que se utiliza como base para la creación de nuevos diseños o materiales. Pueden ser simples, como una página en blanco con un borde, o pueden ser más complejas, con una estructura detallada que incluye una variedad de elementos y características.
Necesito encontrar todo o casi todo lo que necesito en un mismo lugar, si no pierdo demasiado tiempo en buscar recursos y no en el propio diseño.
La importancia de crear templates adecuadas para futuros proyectos radica en la eficiencia que proporciona al proceso de diseño. Un template bien diseñado asegura que los diseños sean coherentes y que se mantengan dentro de la marca o la identidad visual de la empresa. Además, permiten que los diseñadores trabajen de manera más rápida y eficiente, reduciendo el tiempo de creación de un diseño y, por lo tanto, maximizar nuestros recursos.
Al crear los templates, es fundamental asegurarse de que su contenido sea apropiado para el proyecto en cuestión. Si no está diseñada específicamente para el proyecto puede generar problemas de coherencia, o peor aún, puede llevar a errores costosos. Por ejemplo, si una empresa tiene un template para un folleto que se utiliza para anunciar un producto específico, pero luego se utiliza para anunciar un producto diferente, el resultado puede ser una confusión entre los clientes potenciales y una pérdida de credibilidad de la marca.
Los documentos de apoyo son la base para un proceso de trabajo eficiente, se debe tener en cuenta que el template no solo debe ser funcional, sino que también debe ser fácil de usar. Los diseñadores que trabajan en el proyecto deben poder entender y utilizarlo de manera efectiva para que puedan trabajar con rapidez y eficiencia. Por lo tanto, es importante que sea claro, intuitivo y fácil de navegar.
Un ejemplo real para producir el packaging de un nuevo cliente por ejemplo en el sector farmacéutico sería de la siguiente manera:
1. Proyecto piloto: es importante que haya un proceso inicial de aprendizaje donde trabajamos con una muestra que debe abarcar gran parte de los tipos de productos y siempre es importante que contenga ejemplos difíciles. No nos interesa aprender implementaciones sencillos para sufrir inevitablemente cuando lleguen productos complejos obviando que no podemos cubrir todas las opciones.
2. Documentación de apoyo: una vez hayamos trabajando y aprendido los productos en la fase inicial es hora de generar los documentos de apoyo necesarios como templates, procedimientos y los checklists pertinentes. Siguiendo con el ejemplo debería haber tantas triadas (procedimiento, template y checklist) como categorías de productos: Envases, prospectos, aluminios, etiquetas, sobres, etc.
3. Formación, uso y mejora constante: es necesario apuntar que dichos documentos deben ser de uso común y dado que son documentos vivos deben estar en continua revisión partiendo de su uso continuo mejorando y simplificando dichos archivos periódicamente. Es muy común que el contenido inicial de dichos documentos sea más extensiva que concentrada por motivos de seguridad y calidad.
Resumiendo, el diseño del packaging tiene muchos detalles que hay que conjugar alineando también agentes externos con detalles técnicos de los fabricantes y excepciones que no encontrarás en ningún documento. La clave esta en tener una fase inicial que nos ayude (piloto), para nutrirnos de archivos de apoyo que nos faciliten el proceso (templates, procedimiento, checklists) para acelerar el diseño del 90% de los productos y así tener tiempo para las excepciones y seguir creciendo.