Graphics for Packaging (GP)

GP At a Glance

  • Focuses on protecting product integrity while offering compelling point of sale graphics and structures for packaging
  • Requires an understanding of market trends, creativity and technology that serve consumer interests
  • Deals with issues of innovative materials, brand security, and sustainability

Cal Poly food products display

GP In Depth

Packaging has played an enormous role of the graphic arts profession for decades and continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of the graphic communication industry. Its growth is largely due to consumer trends, increased number of different products (called SKUs), news materials that increase product freshness, and anti-counterfeiting measures to increase brand security. Packaging remains a growth business.

Packaging graphics is a diverse field emphasizing digital file creation, technology, printing, and converting. The field also involves an understanding of structural design and product freshness as they relate to consumer and industrial print packaging. Other important facets of packaging graphics are marketing, branding, shelf placement, ease of use, and printing processes combined with in-line and off-line converting processes.

The packaging field enjoys huge annual sales through its five sub-segments: folding carton packaging; flexible packaging; metal decorating; label printing; and corrugated cartons. Most facets of packaging graphics require some of the highest quality control standards in all of the graphic arts because of the need to reproduce colors that look natural – such as food, flesh tones, wood grains, and more – and match existing products already on the shelves.

This segment of the graphic arts industry faces social and environmental concerns related to biodegradable and recyclable packaging materials. Government and concerned citizens routinely exert pressure to counteract the proliferation of packages that are not recyclable and, hence, add to landfill disposal sites. This has lead to the reduction of packaging materials, thinner-gauge substrates, and the development of new starch-based packaging materials. An interesting trend in the field has to do with the growth of short-run package printing with the use of digital printing presses. Nearly every major producer of digital presses is developing technology designed specifically for package printing.

The packaging graphics field is highly creative and requires people who can help product manufacturers stay competitive through unique graphics and structures that portray the products contained within. There is stringent competition among such companies. It is often package design and structure that will make or break a company.

Examples of Packaging work

GP focuses on:

  • Package design and creativity
  • Packaging substrates
  • Converting Technology
  • Sustainability
  • Package engineering
  • Consumer tastes
  • Brand security & smart packaging

GP Career Opportunities

  • Digital File Creation
  • Packaging Graphics
  • Package Printing Specialist
  • Smart & Active Packaging
  • Packaging Quality Control
  • Structural Package Design

GP Coordinator

For More information about the GP concentration contact Colleen Twomey

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