Now it’s time to test your creations! Working with prototypes is a very important stage in packaging development. The creation cycle ends when you have a tested and approved model.
Start with basic prototypes
Produce simple prototypes to test shape, visibility or size – remember the priorities of the project.
You can make scaled prototypes or use simpler materials to make your tests easier. A couple of years ago we worked on a packaging for wine bottles. The first round of prototypes was made with scale models, as you can see below. And they were made with paper, while the final packaging would be made with a stronger material.
Analyze the prototypes and look for problems and advantages of each one. Be very critic with your creations. Chose the best models for the next round.
Here are some prototypes we created for a toy packaging. You can see how the first models (from left to right) were bigger and less refined. We identified 2 problems with these prototypes. The first thing we changed was the structure, to make it stronger. This allowed us to include more windows. Then we changed the lock in the bottom of the packaging to reduce its size.
Back to the drawing board
If you are working with metal, plastic or glass packaging, you might be limited in number of prototypes. However, you can always explore your models with virtual prototypes, 3D models or scale models made with different materials.
No matter what tools you use, explore their full potential. It’s better to invest your time now and correct any major problems than have to face them later, after the graphic design is complete.
Take the best features of previous prototypes and correct the problems. Little by little – with a lot of testing – you will get closer to the final product.
Here is another image of our prototypes. We worked on around 12 rounds of prototypes, always trying something different, improving some details or changing the structure. Our priority in this project was obviously the visibility of the product.
The final step is to blend the structure with graphic elements. Some companies like to keep graphic design separated from packaging design. Others prefer packaging designers that have brilliant graphic design skills.
Another crucial point of working with prototypes is testing with actual products. In the following image you can see two jewelry packaging prototypes. Both were created just to test the placement and presentation of the products. The final models were produced with a different material.