The Jack / Jacqueline of all trades

Labeling and Artwork management is a critical aspect of product development and packaging. It involves the creation, organization, and distribution of all labeling and artwork used on a product, including packaging, promotional materials, and instruction manuals.

To guarantee that the packaging meets your brand’s requirements and is produced to a high standard of quality, companies hire Artwork Coordinators. This role, which is often undervalued, is critical to the success of product launch. Why is that?

Artwork coordination is a multi-faceted role. It involves a lot of juggling between activities that are interconnected, and working as liaison with diferent departments or stakeholders even external to your own team. It also involves some technical knowledge and a good eye for detail. All this makes an Artwork Coordinator a complex role with a lot of hidden skills needed to be successful.

Brief Creation

The artwork coordinator creates a brief/work order/request for the designer or agency responsible for producing the packaging artwork. The brief outlines the packaging requirements, including the brand guidelines, technical specifications, and any other relevant information. Being able to collate information from multiple sources, make it understandable and actionable, and distinguish between relevant and accesory information is a key still to have for this role.

The coordinator needs to ensure that the brief is clear and concise, allowing the designer or agency to create the packaging artwork that meets the brand’s requirements. If you want to know more about how this brief should look like for success, take a look at our earlier post on this matter.

Juggling of Multiple Projects and Deadlines

The role of an artwork coordinator also requires them to manage multiple projects simultaneously. It is not rare that an artwork coordinator would be dealing with tens of projects at the same time. Some of them would be more urgent than others, and some would have extra complexity or require extra time to produce (e.g. think of a label versus a leaflet, or a new product versus a change).

This is why good time management and being able to see the big picture are relevant criteria, so that the workload is effectively managed, and they can ensure that all projects are delivered within the specified timeline. The coordinator needs to be able to prioritize projects based on their importance, deliver and receive input on time, and not loose control of which status each project is at.

Coordination (of course!)

Artwork coordination requires effective communication skills to gather requirements and input with different teams involved in the packaging production process. The artwork coordinator needs to understand the needs of the brand, the regulatory teams, the translation agencies, the quality team, the printer, the suppliers… to ensure that the packaging artwork meets everyone’s requirements. They need to be able to manage the project timeline and update all the parties involved with any changes or progress made. The coordinator also ensures that the artwork is produced on time and meeting the quality, regulatory, and industry requirements.

Chaser

An artwork coordinator is also responsible for obtaining approvals from various stakeholders involved in the packaging production process. They need to follow up on the approvals, ensuring that the artwork is approved on time, and any feedback is incorporated into the artwork. The coordinator needs to be persistent in chasing approvals while maintaining good communication with all stakeholders, which at times could be a hard thing to do.

Final Reviewer

An Artwork coordinator is responsible for bringing a packaging product from start to end succesfully. Therefore, after they have all feedback incorporated into the design, they will then proceed to ultimately review and confirm the artwork meets all required quality standards. They check for any errors or inconsistencies in the artwork and make sure that the files are print-ready.

The coordinator also ensures that the artwork files are compatible with the printer’s specifications, minimizing any issues during the printing process. All this requires a certain level of technical knowledge about how printing works, which can be aquired with time, but always comes as a nice to have /must have criteria in job offers. So learning about color separation, bleeds, kerning, pantones, varnish or proofing is not a bad idea if you are considering a job like this!

We have put together a simple PDF explaining the multiple “hats” of an artwork coordinator.
Download it if you are interested in being an artwork coordinator or want to explain to your parents what it is that you do for work 🙂

How many reminders have you sent today?

Image created with Midjourney

Collecting feedback on packaging design from multiple stakeholders can be a frustrating and time-consuming process, especially when relying on traditional methods such as email. Not only does it require constant back-and-forth communication, but it also makes it difficult to keep track of comments and revisions from different parties. And let’s not talk about “you know who”, who always needs a few reminders to send the feedback and is almost always late.

One of the biggest challenges in this process is getting feedback from printers, regulatory bodies, marketing teams, contract manufacturers, and clients. Each of these groups has their own specific concerns and requirements that need to be addressed, and coordinating their input can be a logistical nightmare.

Printers will have concerns about the technical aspects of the design, such as file keylines or barcodes, while regulatory teams will need to ensure that the packaging complies with all relevant laws and standards and includes the approved text. Marketing teams will want to ensure that the design follows the “somewhat” strict brand guidelines, while contract manufacturers will need to ensure that the design is suitable for their machinery. And of course, if you are dealing with clients will have their own unique requirements and preferences.

All of these different perspectives and requirements can make the feedback process overwhelming, and it can be difficult to keep track of who has provided what feedback and what revisions have been made. This can lead to delays, miscommunication and increased costs. And….yeah, I won’t mention the fearful recall.

Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem: an approval management system such as the one provided by Twona. This system streamlines the feedback process by providing a central platform for all stakeholders (also external stakeholders to your organization) to collaborate and provide feedback on the design. It eliminates the need for constant back-and-forth communication via email and makes it easy to keep track of comments and revisions (with very strict version control).

With Twona’s approval management system, all stakeholders can easily view the design and provide feedback in real-time. This speeds up the approval process and ensures that all comments and revisions are captured in one place. Additionally, the system allows for easy communication between stakeholders and makes it easy to see which feedback has been addressed and which still needs to be acted upon.

If you’re tired of the frustration and inefficiency of the traditional feedback process and wish you were on the beach instead of sending emails reminding people to do their jobs, contact our sales team today to schedule a demo of Twona’s approval management system. See for yourself how it can make a difference to your packaging design process and improve your bottom line.

Listen to your users

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Black and white image showing the text in capital letters: "WE HEAR YOU".
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

User feedback is crucial when designing and programming a SaaS solution for large and complex corporate companies to manage their packaging design process. Without user feedback, the solution may not meet the specific needs and demands of the users, leading to dissatisfaction and a lack of adoption.

By gathering feedback from users throughout the design and development process, the solution can be tailored to their specific needs. This ensures that the software is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making the packaging design process more efficient and streamlined. User feedback also helps identify any potential issues or bugs that may have been missed during testing.

Incorporating user feedback into the design and development process also demonstrates that the company values the input of its users and is committed to providing a high-quality solution. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Additionally, user feedback can provide valuable insights into the industry and market trends, allowing the company to stay competitive and continuously improve the solution.

There is of course a fine line between listening to your users and building a custom application for each of them.

How to prevent this from happening? These are some ideas to make it work for everyone:

  • Making sure that any feedback you receive is properly tracked and reported – this way you can link similar ideas/requests and map them to your own product development timelines
  • Translating the feedback into clear requirements (SOPs) – without clear requirements, nothing can be built. Users need to be very specific when talking about their needs so that there is no possibility to get something lost in translation.
  • It is imperative that the need applies to a majority of your user base – if what a customer wants is not what another one needs, there is little room for an implementation that will affect all your users. While some features may not be used/needed by all, building something that will only apply to a handful of users defeats the purpose of increasing the quality of your software and will deteriorate your client satisfaction.

When all these three conditions apply, customer feedback can become a great tool to make sure you are designing and programming a SaaS solution that is built to last and that users identify and are comfortable working with.

At Twona we often incorporate feedback from our users into upcoming releases. It may take some time for things to appear in your screen – we work with an agile methodology, but until proper requirements are drafted and confirmation that the solution will be beneficial to most users, we may not proceed to put it in the planning; or after going thru the 3 steps above, realize that the request was not meeting but a customer needs and could not move forward; but in any case, we do take their input seriously and report each feedback input into our tracking system for discussion with the Product owner and engineer teams.

So if you are one of our clients, do not hesitate to let your Success Manager know about your ideas!

Simplifying approvals is possible

Releasing a new product at a specific time can be very important for the results,the time factor will always be something to consider. If we are dealing with a deviation that implies a withdrawal from the market, speeding up the changes will be even more critical and always with several departments involved.

The approvals of our packaging materials have been traditionally managed via email in two different ways:

  • Serial process: in sequence you ask for feedback to different stakeholders and when one material is approved the next step can begin consecutively.
  • Parallel process: we ask for feedback to different stakeholders in different departments at the same time.
Photo by Twona

When we talk about approvals there are usually at least 3 departments involved, for example regulatory affairs, marketing, quality or your technical colleagues. As many people we need feedback from,the more difficult the email process becomes.

It is not impossible, but it certainly takes a lot more effort to find, trace and control the process, not to mention the increased probability of errors and the delay it can cause.

How does your company manage approvals among departments? What about when there are external stakeholders involved in the process like a printer?

This is how we handle approvals within our artwork management software (AMS), Twona:

Photo by Twona
  1. Select the file: we select in our system the file from which we need feedback from. The file with unique identifier associated with a single project:
  2. Fill in the form: where we specify the permissions that you can see below, the subject, the recipients and we include our comments to give it context.
  3. Receive email: stakeholders, within our organisation or external users, will receive an email to access the approval screen and give their feedback.
  4. Review file (s): here we can leave comments in the text field or leave sticky notes in the file itself, we can also add files if necessary as well as give our approval or rejection eventually.
  5. Control approvals: in Twona (AMS) there is a direct access in the upper menu to the approvals with the necessary indications to know the status of the process.

Photo by Twona

Once you work this way, there comes a time when you wonder how you were able to manage so many approvals without making mistakes.

Photo by Twona

This is how we manage the packaging materials together with the comparisons tool (X-RAY) and everything offered by the artwork management software, Twona, but that’s another story.

I wonder how you resolve this process today and I invite you to leave us your comments.

Do you miss any relevant information or step for your approvals?

Top 3 Compliance Risks Involving Packaging (and How to Prevent Them)

Photo by Meriç Dağlı

The packaging world shakes hands with a plethora of different industries; Pharmaceutical, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Food & Beverage, Cosmetics, etc. Each industry has its own unique working environment, including unique hazards that come with each. But any industry that deals with packaging shares some overlapping risks. Here are the top three compliance risks for packaging, and one potential solution that can take them all on.

The Three Monsters:

1. Recalls

Anyone involved in the packaging world knows the dreaded word “recall.” Some have had the misfortune of dealing with this problem head on, and others have only heard through the grapevine about the steep consequences that must be faced when dealing with a recall.

A recall is peculiar in that one seemingly microscopic misprint can make the difference between a successfully launched product and millions of dollars worth of logistics rollback and untold damage to quality and reputation. The consequences of recalls have short term immediate impact as well as long term ramifications, such as sanctions.

2. Process Risks

A process risk, while often less blunt than a recall, can have more subtle and extended impact, which makes them more dangerous in that they are easier to overlook. Process risks involve a failure to follow established processes. In the packaging world, an example of this could be as simple as skipping a step in the validation process for the design of a new pamphlet.

Photo by UX Indonesia

process with postits
Photo by UX Indonesia

When process risks become habitual the potential for heavier risks (such as recalls) increases, productivity can decline, and the quality of output can suffer, overtime causing damage to the bottom lineand more importantly to the vital structures that keep companies afloat.

3. Illegal Practices

The risk of illegal practices is in many ways self explanatory. Everyone would like to believe that their company is immune to such risk, but illegal practices are not exclusively intentional. More often than not illegal practices take place unknowingly and are a result of the mismanagement of processes or resources.

In terms of packaging, unintentional illegal practices can take the shape of mislabelling, mismanagement, and nonobservance of legal requirements.

What causes these risks?

While there are varying factors that enhance the probability of the risks above, it is clear that the three risks share some common threads. Miscommunication is a likely cause in many errors attributed to recalls, process risks, or illegal mishaps, and can be an ill-fated result of disorganization with an individual or team, lack of transparency for the proper parties, or workflow inconsistenciesTime Pressure is another phenomenon that those involved in packaging design are intimately familiar with. The rush to get to the shelf can often mean that safekeeping processes are overlooked and corners are cut to decrease the amount of time it takes to start seeing a return on investment.

Photo by Kenny Eliason

Photo of a sand clock
Photo by Kenny Eliason

Completely eliminating these risks may not be possible, but companies can create some mitigation strategies to lower the probability of these occurrences.

One Solution to Rule Them All – Online Artwork Management Tools

While the root causes of compliance risks may seem intimidating at a glance, the good news is that these issues can be prevented with proper support. In today’s technological age there is a wide range of Artwork Management Systems (AMS) that boost communication efficiency and workflow organization through a plethora of verification, workflow management, and proofing tools. By using an AMS, companies are able to support the artwork design process by eliminating old manual processes and lengthy back and forth email exchanges with different parties.

But what really makes an AMS so interesting for organizations? You can find some of the well-known benefits below.

Organize communication and create one source of truth

  • Create one centralized artwork repository containing all versions, which is accessible at any time.
  • Eliminate back and forth email exchanges and communicate about the project within the project itself.
  • Allow for internal and external feedback and approvals, tracking status, comments and confirmations to be accessed in one single place.
  • Record full audit trails of what happens with the project from briefing to print.

Increase workflow visibility

  • Identify & eliminate bottlenecks in your workflow process, see where improvements are needed most.
  • Track KPIs & gain actionable insights, visualize your workflow and prevent process errors.

Streamline approvals

  • Share files of any size, no more inbox limits.
  • Request feedback approvals from internal and external stakeholders on the right version.
  • Return annotated files and attach new ones for changing purposes.
  • Visualize all approvals from one single place.

Give you the power of proofing

  • Gain a clear view of changes in packaging done through different versions (text & graphic) and reduce the need to inspect manually.
  • Red line overlapping documents and also x-ray side by-side comparisons.
  • Download proofing reports.
  • Comment directly on documents, where multi-user notes combine together.

Automate and integrate to eliminate redundant tasks

  • Set automatic notifications.
  • Integrate with other tools to speed up processes.

Do the reasons above sound like something that would make your process easier, and give you the peace of mind that your company requires? If the answer is yes, you may be a good fit for an AMS.

Photo by Twona

Compliance Risks are Nothing to Fear

Compliance risks are an ever present obstacle that anyone in the packaging industry must stay vigilant against. But that doesn’t mean that they are insurmountable. With proper workflow transparency and consistency, compliance risks are easily mitigated. If you’re ever in fear, you can depend on AMS and other solutions to save the day.

Published by Twona: Twona is a multi-faceted packaging specialist company with 20 years of experience in software solutions and packaging design. Twona’s flagship product Twona AMS has helped companies worldwide organize and streamline their packaging design process. You can start a free trial of Twona AMS today by clicking the following link , or request a demo now.