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Artwork Approval Checklist: Transform Your Packaging Management Workflows

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Navigating the artwork approval process in packaging design, marketing, or branding can be daunting due to numerous stakeholders and pressing deadlines. Inefficient workflows may lead to bottlenecks, disrupting the entire process. 

Pain points often include scattered notes and approval information across different media such as post-its, handwritten notes, emails, and partial Word docs with redlines. This can lead to difficulty tracking and compiling the information.

Inconsistent file sizes and types throughout the editing process can also cause issues, as well as limited collaboration due to the scattered nature of the information. A centralized hub for notes and approval information can solve these pain points.

Thankfully, Mox, a packaging artwork management software, offers a solution to address these pain points. With Mox, stakeholders can access the latest artwork version, notes, and approval information in one centralized hub, promoting seamless collaboration and ensuring file consistency.

In this article, we'll provide you with a comprehensive checklist to enhance your packaging artwork approval process, along with an explanation of how Mox can help you overcome the challenges you may face.

By using this checklist and taking advantage of Mox's capabilities, you can streamline your workflow and improve the overall efficiency of the approval process.

At this stage of the overall packaging creation process, structural design has been completed and a dieline has been specified. For new products or rebrandings, multiple graphic design concepts have been considered and narrow down to a winning option to move forward.

So, by now, you are ready to circulate, review and approve artwork in the correct dieline to get to a final version to send to your printer/converter.

Let's get started!

Your Artwork Approval Checklist: 7 Steps

We've compiled a comprehensive 7-step checklist to help you navigate and enhance your artwork approval process. By following these steps, you'll be on track to streamline your workflow and boost the efficiency of your packaging projects. Here we go:

1. Establish the Approval Timeline & Workflow

The first step in any artwork approval process is establishing a timeline. Without a clear timeline and defined workflow, artwork approval can quickly become chaotic and frustrating for everyone involved. 

Here are some considerations when establishing your approval timeline and workflow:

  • Identify and assign stakeholders to steps in the approval workflow: Who needs to review and approve the artwork? Consider the input from different departments, such as marketing, branding, and legal, and ensure that all stakeholders are included in the process.
  • Organize templates and information needed: Make sure that all necessary templates and information are readily available to stakeholders to avoid any delays in the approval process.
  • Set clear deadlines for each step in the approval process: Establishing clear deadlines will help keep the artwork approval process on track and ensure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

When setting up an approval timeline and workflow, there are many other factors to consider, but these tips are a great starting point.

Mox Software can assist with project management aspects of the packaging artwork approval process by providing a visual roadmap for stakeholders to follow, outlining their specific tasks and deadlines. This ensures all stakeholders are aligned and the approval process moves forward smoothly.

2. Review Packaging Artwork Briefs & Mockups

Once you’ve established the approval timeline and workflow, it's time to review the packaging artwork briefs and mockups. This step ensures the artwork aligns with your brand's messaging and goals. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when reviewing packaging artwork briefs and mockups:

  • Have a competitor or packaging example ready: Comparing your artwork to that of your competitors or other packaging designs can help you identify areas where you can improve and stand out in the market.
  • Evaluate design elements: Ensure that design elements like color, typography, and imagery align with your brand guidelines, messaging, and any prior artwork already in the market.
  • Assess readability: Make sure that all text is legible and that the overall design does not detract from the readability of important information.
  • Consider the consumer's perspective: Put yourself in the consumer's shoes and evaluate the artwork from their perspective. Will they be attracted to the packaging and understand what the product is and what it offers?

These are just a few considerations when reviewing packaging artwork briefs and mockups. Remember, collaboration and communication are key in this step.

Encourage team members to share their feedback and ideas and ensure everyone is on the same page before moving on to the next step.

For additional tips on project management for the packaging industry, check out our related article on project management alternatives to email in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry here.

3. Proofread Packaging Text & Information

Once the packaging artwork has been reviewed and approved, it's time to review the packaging text and information. This step is essential in ensuring that all text and information on the packaging is accurate, compliant with regulations, and aligned with your brand's messaging. 

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when tackling packaging text and information approval:

  • Comply with regulations: Check that all text and information on the packaging comply with relevant regulations and requirements. This includes legal, technical, and branding requirements set by various entities such as the government, retailers, and the company itself.
  • Check spelling and grammar: Make sure all text on the packaging is free from spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Verify accuracy: Confirm that all information on the packaging artwork is accurate and up-to-date, including product descriptions, ingredients or materials, claims, and benefits.
  • Consider translations: If your product is sold in multiple countries, make sure all text and information on its packaging is not only translated correctly, but also culturally appropriate for the local region. Keep in mind that certain phrases or concepts may have different meanings or connotations in different languages, so it's important to thoroughly review and validate translations.
  • Evaluate visual design elements: Ensure that design elements like font size, color, and text placement don’t detract from the readability or accuracy of the information on the packaging. Use a PDF markup and annotation tool like Mox to keep your feedback in one place. 
  • Check for consistency: Be sure that all packaging elements are consistent across all product variants, sizes, and packaging types.
  • Verify readability: Ensure that all text is legible and easy to read for your target audience, and check that the color contrast between the text and background is sufficient to avoid making the text difficult to read.

By carefully verifying packaging text and information, you can avoid costly mistakes, prevent compliance issues, and ensure your brand messaging is clear and consistent.

Remember, Mox software can also help streamline the approval process by providing a centralized hub for all approval information, including text and information on the packaging.

4. Ensure Artwork Aligns With Brand & Legal Guidelines

Another essential part of the artwork approval process is ensuring the packaging artwork aligns with your brand and legal guidelines. This step is critical in maintaining brand consistency and verifying your packaging artwork effectively communicates your messaging to your target audience. 

Here are some considerations when reviewing the packaging artwork:

  • Brand guidelines: Verify that the packaging artwork adheres to your brand guidelines, including logo placement, font usage, color scheme, and other design elements.
  • Legal requirements: Make sure that the packaging artwork meets all relevant legal requirements, including labeling regulations, ingredient lists, and health warnings. Keep in mind that these regulations may vary by region, so it's important to pay extra attention and ensure compliance accordingly.
  • Messaging and theme: Check that the messaging and theme of the packaging artwork align with your brand's messaging and target audience. This includes tone, language, and imagery.
  • Image quality: Verify that all images used in the packaging artwork are of high quality and resolution and that they convey the intended message effectively.
  • Consistency across product lines: Ensure the packaging artwork is consistent across all product lines, sizes, and packaging types.

By checking that the packaging artwork aligns with your brand and legal guidelines, you can create a cohesive and effective packaging design that resonates with your target audience.

5. Assess Barcodes & QR Codes

Barcodes and QR codes are often overlooked in packaging design, but they are crucial for the success of your product in stores. Barcodes allow retailers to track inventory, while QR codes enable customers to access additional product information and promotions.

Without these elements, your product may not be stocked, have pricing issues at retailers' checkout, and may be overlooked by consumers.

Here are some questions to consider when assessing your barcodes and QR codes:

  • Is the barcode or QR code accurate?
  • Is the barcode or QR code properly printed and visible on the artwork?
  • Does the barcode or QR code scan correctly?
  • Is the information associated with the barcode or QR code up-to-date?

Mox Software can be especially helpful during this step of the approval process, as it includes a barcode information reader to ensure your barcodes and QR codes are accurate and functional.

6. Run an Ink Coverage Check

When packaging artwork, ensure the ink coverage is consistent and appropriate for the design. An ink coverage check can help ensure that the colors in the artwork will print as expected. 

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when running an ink coverage check:

  • Is the ink coverage consistent across the artwork?
  • Is the ink coverage appropriate for the design?
  • Are there any areas where the ink coverage is too heavy or too light?
  • Will the artwork require special printing techniques to achieve the desired ink coverage?
  • Is the specification for spot colors (as opposed to process colors) done consistently and correctly to match brand guidelines, printing capabilities and cost expectations?

By running an ink coverage check, you can catch any issues with the printing quality before it's too late. Mox Software can also help with this step of the approval process, as it includes tools for color management and reviewing to ensure that the artwork will print as intended.

7. Check for Correct Color Separation

Color separation is vital in the packaging artwork approval process. It ensures that the process colors in the design will be adequately reproduced during printing. 

It involves separating the artwork into color channels, which are then printed using a specific ink color. This process ensures that the final printed product matches the intended colors in the artwork.

When checking for correct color separation, consider the following:

  • Are the colors separated correctly for the printing process?
  • Are the colors in the design consistent with the brand's color palette?
  • Is the color separation appropriate for the printing method and substrate?

By ensuring that the color separation is correct, you can prevent some of the most common issues affecting print color accuracy and ensure that the final product is consistent with the brand guidelines.

Streamline Your Artwork Approval Process With Mox

Now that you have a comprehensive artwork approval checklist, it's time to streamline your packaging workflows with Mox. 

With our packaging artwork management software, you can centralize all notes and approval information, collaborate seamlessly with team members, and keep file sizes and types consistent across each editing round.

Mox's 3-in-1 software can help you manage your projects from start to finish, ensuring that your packaging artwork is high quality, accurate, and compliant.

Our software can assist with project management, version control, and collaboration, making it the perfect tool for packaging design, marketing, and branding professionals.

So don't waste more time trying to manage your packaging workflows manually. Start your free trial with Mox today and experience a more efficient and streamlined artwork approval process.