Most people might not consider packaging to be an important part of the production process. However, the right packaging can draw a consumer's attention and highlight the quality of the product if done correctly. This is where package designers come in. If you're interested in becoming a package designer you'll need a bachelor's degree and experience in related software programs.
Package designers work with clients and creative teams to develop eye-catching, cost-effective and safe packaging for products. They usually brainstorm, sketch and re-design their concepts based on client needs. These professionals are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree in a field like industrial design, and they generally need experience working with computer design software.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Skills with industry-standard software programs|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||2% for all commercial and industrial designers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$67,130 for all commercial and industrial designers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Package Designer Job Description
Package designers help clients meet marketing needs by creating attractive packaging for products using creative software and sketches. Strong interpersonal skills are often necessary, because package designers work with accountants and business professionals to create cost-effective packaging that meets consumer demands. They may also work with copywriters, marketing experts and other designers to ensure that packaging meets branding requirements and suits target audiences. Package designers may work as in-house designers for design firms or perform work on a freelance basis.
Job Duties for a Package Designer
Package designers begin the design process by meeting with clients to develop an understanding of their packaging needs. They then assess consumer tastes, market trends and product details to conceptualize package designs. Together, clients and designers determine how to meet goals pertaining to cost, safety and branding. Package designers may spend time conducting additional research and meeting with suppliers or consumer groups to develop ideas.
Next, package designers illustrate their ideas. They may use hand-drawn sketches or design software to create digital drafts. After they've developed and edited a design, package designers again meet with clients to gather additional feedback. The process of re-designing continues until the designer and client are satisfied with the design.
Package designers must then create a prototype that can be analyzed by clients and management. They work with engineers, consumer safety groups and accountants to ensure that their prototype is safe and cost effective. If standards are not met, re-designs may be required. When a product design gets final approval, it goes into production.
Package Designer Job Requirements
Most entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree in industrial design or a related field. Coursework may include art history, graphic design, typography and color theory, as well as product design history, theory and creation. Classes focused on marketing, sustainability and commerce can provide additional benefits to prospective package designers. Many programs also require an internship.
Prospective package designers need a diverse and well-organized portfolio to showcase their work. They must have experience working with creative design software, such as Adobe Creative Suite, to combine typography, graphics and other design elements. Package designers must also have the ability to generate effective hand-drawn sketches and be proficient in photography. Additionally, these professionals are generally creative, aware of market trends and able to work under tight pressure to meet deadlines.
Career and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs for industrial designers are predicted to increase 2% from 2014-2024. The agency also reports that commercial and industrial designers earned a median salary of $67,130 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Package designers need to have knowledge in areas including consumer psychology, design aesthetics and industry software technology, which they can acquire through bachelor's degree programs in industrial design or something similar. They'll also need a portfolio of their work to show potential employers.