Desktop Publishing (DTP) specialists play a crucial role in the packaging design process for pharmaceutical products. Sometimes they are called Artworkers, Artwork Specialists or Packaging Specialists. They work with complex design guidelines, technical requirements, and regulatory specifications, and are responsible for creating packaging materials that are both visually appealing and compliant with industry standards. In many cases they also act as Artwork Coordinators to ensure everything goes as planned in the workflow. In order to thrive in this highly regulated and demanding industry, DTP specialists need to possess a specific set of skills and aptitudes.
1. Extreme Attention to Detail
One of the most important skills that a DTP specialist needs to have in the pharmaceutical industry is an extreme attention to detail. Packaging design for pharmaceutical products is a highly regulated field, and even the smallest mistake can have serious consequences. Nobody wants to deal with a product recall or worse, a patient related issue. DTP specialists need to be able to work with complex design guidelines (150 page design guidelines are not uncommon) and technical specifications (working with many different manufacturers across the world), ensuring that their work meets all of the relevant standards and requirements. They also need to be able to spot errors and inconsistencies in their own work, as well as the work of others, and correct them before they become major issues.
In addition to technical accuracy, DTP specialists also need to have a keen eye for design. They need to be able to create packaging materials that are visually appealing and easy to understand for a wide range of audiences, from doctors and pharmacists to patients and their families. This requires a deep understanding of typography, color theory, and layout, as well as an ability to balance form and function in their work.
2. Ability to Work in Unstructured Environments
Another key skill for a DTP specialist in the pharmaceutical industry is the ability to work in unstructured environments. Unlike other industries where workflows are well-defined and standardized, the pharmaceutical industry is highly complex and dynamic and the structure is not always there (unfortunately many organizations still use Excel to manage projects). Workflows are often influenced by many stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, marketing teams, product development teams, and more. Furthermore, many of these stakeholders are external to the team: printers, customers, CMOs, etc. DTP specialists need to be able to navigate these complex workflows, adapting to changes and unexpected challenges as they arise.
This requires a high degree of flexibility and adaptability, as well as an ability to work well under pressure. DTP specialists need to be able to prioritize tasks, manage their time effectively, and communicate clearly with all of the stakeholders involved in the process.
3. Ability to Communicate with a Wide Range of Stakeholders
Finally, a DTP specialist in the pharmaceutical industry needs to be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of stakeholders. This can include everyone from regulatory bodies and marketing teams to product development teams and vendors. In many cases, these stakeholders may not have a deep understanding of the complexities of packaging design for pharmaceutical products or they will have a deep understanding of their specific needs but not of the entire process, which can make communication challenging. Have you ever tried to explain a printing technical requirement to a regulatory affairs professional?
DTP specialists need to be able to translate technical jargon and complex concepts into language that is easy to understand for non-experts. They also need to be able to build relationships with stakeholders, establishing trust and rapport that can help them navigate the complex workflows and regulatory requirements of the industry.
The Golden DTP specialist in the pharmaceutical industry need to possess a specific set of skills and aptitudes in order to thrive in this demanding and complex field. If you are looking to insource your design process or hire a freelancer, make sure they have at least these 3 top skills.
If you cannot find the right candidate, check out our Studio and we can lend a hand.