Posted on May 31, 2023 by Dennis Salazar

The Frustrating Search for an Experienced Packaging Graphic Artist

We love working with good graphic artists. They bring life to our normally blank structural designs, with their many colors, patterns and graphics. They challenge us with their designs, forcing us to figure out how we can best make their vision a reality. A good graphic artist helps make us more creative and better at what we do.

All graphic artists are not created equally.

We appreciate all graphic artists, but there is a tremendous difference in experience, skillsets, and quite frankly, in terms of talent. How to make colors work in a design concept may be a learned skill but not everyone does it well.

Keep in mind that graphic artists each have their area of specialization. Today many artists are used to working almost exclusively digitally, creating web pages and web sites. Most have little or no experience creating graphics for packaging, very few even know what flexographic printing is and how it is used to create images on a substrate like paperboard or corrugated with water-based inks. That does not make them bad, it just makes them inexperienced, in this relatively small slice of the incredibly broad graphic arts spectrum.

There are several different print processes that can be used in packaging.

We are focused on printing on paper-based packaging, not plastic bottles, labels, or aluminum cans to name just a few possibilities. Even when we narrow this conversation to that substrate, there are several print options available including digital, offset litho, and of course the previously mention flexographic print process. We can tell you that in most cases the graphic design helps to determine which print process can be used, and that usually determines the cost. Keeping in mind that flexographic printing is by far the least expensive print process option.

You can understand if the graphic designer is designing for more expensive digital printing and our client is looking for a simple design at the lowest possible cost, there is a big disconnect. A graphic artist I was working with on a project was offended when I saw her overly complicated, and very costly design. My good-natured quip of “Not every ceiling is the Sistine Chapel”, was not meant to be an insult, but a reminder that this type of work is to please the customer, not to show off our individual capabilities, and  imagination, talents.

 How to find a good graphic artist for corrugated packaging.

We are very fortunate that after almost 14 years and thousands of box designs we have met many great graphic artists. Most companies, especially new start-ups, do not have someone on staff but packaging graphic artif they do, we are always glad to work with them and help them understand the intricacies of flexographic and other printing options. Unfortunately, those who don’t have a staff person available are left to look for help elsewhere, usually someone with little or no packaging experience. For that reason, we have accumulated contact info on some of the best. People who have great people skills and even better packaging design skills. They also have very reasonable rates, and in some cases, we have done several different projects with them.

We never get in the middle of this transaction, because we want you to hire a professional at the lowest possible cost. We usually provide you with 3 to 5 names, depending on the application, so you can determine which one is the best “fit” for you.  We totally understand that a new entrepreneur has to pinch pennies whenever possible, but we are firmly convinced that a professional design job will indeed save you money in the long run because you will be pleased and not inclined to do it over soon after the first run. That may sound crazy but it has happened many times over the years.

Let us help you find the right graphic artist.

Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via this web site. Why do we offer this no cost service? We save precious pre-press time and end up with a happier customer. Our people are eager to help you find the best graphic design partner for your new packaging.


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