Your Premium Packaging Questions Answered!

web78-insightEarlier this month, award-winning designer Gregg Lukasiewicz showed us some of the most elegant designs we’ve ever seen in our “Designing Premium Packaging” webinar. And perfectionists that you are, you left him with a number of thoughtful questions of your own, which he graciously answers below. (Did you miss that insightful webinar? Check it out here for a limited time!)

Do you have any pointers for good quality stationery packaging?
Yes I do – the same pointers I’d use for almost anything else:

1. Create something visually stunning…but not overdone. Sometimes a package can distinguish itself by slightly modifying an expected construction, and combining it with a wonderful, bold color.

2. Be sure the consumer will know what it is at a glance. You can begin by organizing the information so that YOU understand it clearly.

3. I just love when the package works as a useful dispenser as well as the sales device, easy to open and close so I can access my note card and envelope!


Are you aligned in the U.S. with manufacturers that can insert the embellishments, like the ribbon?
I am personally not aligned, but one company I know of that provides branded ribbon treatments and customized embellishments is Stribbons.


Please define what you mean by “box wrap.” Are you using the Neenah paper to laminate to SBS board or coated boards?
You’re basically correct. By “box wrap” I’m referring to a printed or unprinted sheet, typically lighter weight stock with an applied adhesive, then wrapped with precision around a rigid construction.


When you purchase a White Diamonds product, for example, how much of the cost is in the packaging?
Sadly I don’t know (although I thought long and hard about making something up to appear more knowledgeable).



What is your average budget for some of these high-end packages?
As you might already expect, the dramatic swing in budget cannot be expressed in numbers alone until you examine all that has gone into the development of a particular project. The jewel-covered boxes, one of the most costly assignments we continue to explore… cost about $75,000 – $125,000 and includes design development (we show a bunch of layouts), comping (may also explore a variety of techniques), followed by mechanical art.


For your Christmas gifts you don’t do large quantities, I assume. Do you make these at your place yourself?
Typically we’ll hand make – just as you saw in our demonstration – about 75 gifts. They’ll then be hand delivered to our clients throughout NYC, with about 10 shipped to clients who are out of the area. It’s an intense project where we try to outdo ourselves each year… and our clients’ expectations escalate, so the pressure is on!



What is the machine called that does the automatic cutting? Does this machine make creases for folds?
We are using a Graphtec plotter/cutter. I would consider this an entry level model that really helps out, especially when we have multiple boxes or wraps to cut, or very intricate folding cartons. It takes a bit of time to learn to program. If I have a single folding carton it’d be the old fashion X-ACTO knife and paper clip scoring tool! We can mount up to two tools at a time in the “tool carriage.” Typically we’ll have a scoring tool and a cutting tool loaded with other options available, like a pen and a perforating tool.


Where can we get common types of box types / die outlines of different types/shapes, links to resources, etc.?
Arrgh! Not the easiest thing to come by unless you look around.
They’re available by purchasing a software program, although it may be by subscription for ArtiosCAD? However, way too expensive for us! We have built our own library throughout the years but still find ourselves creating from scratch way too often. There ARE a few books available which include CDs of templates:

“Structural Package Designs” by The Pepin Press

“Structural Packaging” by Josep M. Garrofe

“The Packaging Designer’s Book of Patterns” by Lazlo Roth (No CD)


Aside from conception and comp review/approval (and bottles, too) what is a typical time to market? How far ahead are you working?
We’re typically working one year ahead. With more agile clients like Bond No. 9, they’re able to get stuff designed, printed and on shelves in 3-4 months. Of course sometimes the design stage may linger 4-5 months when there’s uncertainty.



What holds the top away from the base? Does the neck tray reach the inside lid?
Very observant – you’re correct! Another method, if we don’t want the neck tray to be so tall, yet still see a “reveal,” we’ll put a stopper or another shallower tray inside the lid… make sense?



Who ultimately makes the decision regarding measurements?
Good one. We’ll provide initial input and drawings to the printer/box manufacturer, they will then provide revised templates (die-strike) determined by the actual material, (box board, paper wrap and glue). They’ll also suggest alternate construction possibilities that may be more cost effective AND can be made using their equipment and processes. We’ll often forego accuracy of engineering in order to make the package look good initially. But eventually it needs to be produced properly. Whew! Hope you got that.


gregg-lukasiewiczGregg Lukasiewicz manages the daily operations of New York City design studio Lukasiewicz Design. This second-generation, family-owned and operated firm has been recognized for its distinctive designs in fragrance, skin care and cosmetics packaging.

A graduate of Pratt Institute, Lukasiewicz has been responsible for the packaging of well over 25 fragrance lines currently on the market. He has received awards from Champion Papers and The National Paperbox Association. His work has been exhibited at Pratt Institute’s Schaffler Gallery, and he has taught classes in graphic design and typography at Parson’s School of Design. He is a member of the Type Director’s Club and has spoken about his work at Kean University and The New York Graphic Artists Guild.


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