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What You Wanted to Know About a Career in Package Design

supermarket-aislesLittle Boxes
Package design has come a long way in the last 50 years. In the past the usual difference between one product packaging and another was simply the graphics and color schemes of the design.

Today's walk down the many aisles of a modern supermarket or department store literally offers thousands of uniquely designed packages with amazing looking graphics or container shapes.

If you are currently attending a graphic design school or are already a graphic designer you may have been intrigued with this particular subset of graphic design work. In this article we'll explore what this interesting field is all about and what you can do to prepare for a career as a package designer.

School First
As it is in any career area you want to pursue the usual route for obtaining proper career training is through proper education. For any field in graphic design there are many qualified graphic design colleges that can help you to earn your degree.

teacher-and-college-studentsGenerally speaking a bachelor's degree is necessary to qualify for most entry-level positions.

If you are targeting package design as your specialty, you will need to take courses that are focused for this design field. In addition you should have a good grasp of spacial relations as it relates to designing packaging.

You can qualify for some entry-level jobs with an associate's degree or certificate of completion earned at community colleges or two-year junior colleges. Various online education centers also offer these degrees in addition to bachelor's degrees in graphic design.

Be sure to thoroughly investigate the graphic design schools you are considering as each one differs in its approach and curriculum. Choose the one that best matches your career and education goals.

What a Package Designer Does
A package designer has the responsibility of creating designs for various forms of packaging such as bottles, containers, cartons, boxes, and other packaging needs. The packaging design can be as simple as a logo on a beverage container or as complex as a multi-DVD case for a movie series. In each case the design must meet the specifications of the client.

Package design must be eye-catching and have the ability to entice consumers to pick up and buy the product.

graphic-designer-at-computerA package designer should not only be well acquainted with the use of traditional design tools such as pens, paints, and pencils but must be well versed with the various graphic design/image editing software and CAD (computer assisted design) software that are commonly used in the industry.

The design process usually starts with meetings with the client and design team in order to understand and agree upon a concept. After the design is approved a number of sketches, computer generated images and a formal mock-up of the packaging is created. During the period of time between concept and final production, there are usually many changes and alterations during the design process.

These frequent changes in design concepts require an individual who is flexible and has good communication skills.

people-walkingThe Job Situation
Package designers usually work for manufacturing companies in the graphics departments, independent graphic design studios or companies that specialize in packaging.

While a typical workweek of 40 hours can be expected, overtime and weekend work is usually required during "crunch time" or when deadlines are shortened.

The job outlook for graphic design positions is expected to grow approximately 13% during the decade 2008-2018. Competition for available job positions will be extremely high.

The mean annual wage for professionals in the graphic design fields (including package designers) is $46,750, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2008).


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