Packaging is one of the largest employers. Increasing sophistication of technology has created a long demand for packaging specialists. Often, product innovations require dramatic new packaging forms. Such containers as aerosol cans and bottles, plastic squeeze bottles and trays, aluminum cans, tinplated steel rolled as thin as foil, and foamed synthetic materials have been invented and made into packages that protect products better and are easier for both individual and industrial consumers to use. Developments such as these require large teams of packaging engineers and technicians in user and supplier companies.
Packaging has pragmatic origins, allowing for processed products to be transported and stored with no damage. It was not until the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, however, that packaging became an important tool for marketing. At that time, so many products were being manufactured that the consumer had a variety of choices. Often, the package determined whether one product would be purchased over another.
While package design thru the sophisticated application of a CAD job has played a vital role in the marketing of a product, the packaging industry has had to confront the development of new household products and changing the American lifestyles. The creation of a package that will be successful in the marketplace involves virtually every department in a company. Thus, an array of talent in the packaging industry is necessary. Packaging is not a single science but a combination of such skills as mechanical and electrical engineering, physical, and organic chemistry, food technology, sales, advertising, production, printing, and design.
When a marketable product has been developed, a manufacturing company hires a graphic designer to create an appealing package. The graphic designer (with the use of computer) may be faced with either an existing product that needs to be repackaged or a new product. In the first case, the designer has to determine the suitability of new packaging materials to the product and establish a graphic image that is up-to-date and intensifies its competitive position. For a new product entering the marketplace, the designer has somewhat more freedom, but still has to consider the specific needs of the client, manufacturer, retailer, consumer, and economy.
A package is the last link in product communications, and on the crowded shelves of a supermarket, must serve as a ‘silent salesman’ that conveys the complete story of the product and of the company that produces it. The contribution that packaging adds to the product goes considerably beyond this billboard function. A package is now expected to be functional, too. It must adequately protect the product up to the point of sales and beyond and should provide consumers with easy opening and closing features and often assist in the use of the product. This is true not only of consumer-type packages, but increasingly of containers for industrial and military items as well.
Note that it is therefore extremely important that the shape, color, and graphic image are unique enough to warrant selection. Within this overall concept, the graphic designer has to incorporate the various regulations, such as net content statements. The package also has to protect the product against spoilage, breakage, and tampering. It has to contain the exact weight or measure as stated, and has to be convenient to the retailer to stack and to the consumer in its end use. Most important, the packaging has to be economical. To this end, the designer has to investigate the adaptability of the new package to existing machinery as well as pace availability on the supermarket shelf. Out of this investigation, the graphic packaging designer has often developed innovative use of methods and materials.
In addition to the package, the graphic designer is often involved in the development of shipping containers as well as point-of-purchase displays and other promotional material related to the presentation of the product to the consumer. Many graphic packaging design firms cover all these functions through in house personnel. Others hire outside consultant services. In either case, the graphic designer is a builder of bridges between the manufacturer and consumer.
Through CAD designer job opportunities, new package graphics are made possible by computer-generated design for type and other graphic elements, including logos. Many designers continue to favor three-dimensional, physical models, but the computer helps screen choices. Likewise, once the package has been designed, it is up to the engineer to produce the package in mass quantities.
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