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01 February 2019

Collaboration Points the Way to Trouble-Free Project Delivery

Global Operations Director, Steve Mylott gives an insightful look into seamless project delivery...

When you embark on any journey, it’s helpful to have a destination in mind and be confident of the route. One wrong turn or unforeseen detour could cause serious delays and disappointment.

When your journey starts with a packaging concept and your destination is a finished pack on shelf, the same applies. That’s why we’ve designed our under-one-roof service at Equator Design to engineer any dead ends or wrong turns out of the journey from the earliest steps.

Every project is different.  For some design agencies, that means wild cards and curved balls are just par for the course.  At Equator Design, however, we don’t think they should be.  By bringing together a proven process, a milestone-based critical path and a team that combines design creativity with production expertise, in-house photography and props and meticulous artworking, we can spot any obstacles to project delivery before we share the first designs with the client. In this way we can iron out any feasibility or quality issues related to the process, the substrate, the print house or the design, before the client buys into something that’s not achievable. And that means that we can also avoid any potentially expensive and operationally damaging delays or quality issues.

In the fast-paced retail sector, the typical packaging project delivery period of 16 weeks has been squeezed to 12 and sometimes even to 10, so building production into the entire design project process is more advantageous than ever.  We begin by collecting assets as soon as the kick off meeting is over, gathering elements such as the cutter, the legal text and any photography, illustrations or logos during the design process so that as much groundwork as possible is in place as soon as the client approves the design.

Integration between different disciplines is critical to a smooth and seamless design and production journey.  To ensure effective collaboration, our Creative and Production account managers work together to agree the critical path and our artwork team do the heavy lifting of the design process, enabling our designers and photographers to focus their skills on the creative.

And when the creative is ready to present to the client, we all sit down together with experienced and critical eyes to identify anything that could steer the project off course. The production experience within our team means we not only know the limitations of different print processes and substrates but we also know what questions to ask of the printers involved in the project to ensure their equipment can deliver the finished pack true to the design.

By working together across departments in this way, we not only ensure we take forward a robust and achievable design for each and every project, but we also embed production know-how in the design process. Our design teams become packaging specialists with expert insights into how technical elements of production can influence the viability of the design so that they can anticipate potential issues in future designs.

Packaging is a highly specialist area of design with a huge number of variables affecting the creative possibilities. Only if there is sustained and effective collaboration between each step of the design and production process can we ensure a trouble-free journey from concept to shelf.