DIY Technical Design Section 7: Packaging, Logos, Tags, and Labels
The possibilities for packaging, logos, labels, and tags are endless! There are so many opportunities to be creative and really let your brand shine. Take a look at my specially curated Pinterest board to give you some inspiration. Plus I’ve included some great educational diagrams on there to help you through the process!
Follow along with this step-by-step video!
In most cases you will need to callout the packaging requirements for your product in the Tech Pack so that your factory can package them before shipment. You have some flexibility with how you decide to callout your packaging requirements, there’s no one right way. The packaging page in the tech pack should show a visual of how you’d like your garment folded, hangtag attached, and any other additional details. You can provide this information to the factory with drawings and/or photos and text. Be sure to include any materials on the Bill of Materials (BOM) page.
It’s important to note any special areas that need to be protected during shipment so that your products don’t get damaged in transit. Here are some areas to pay close attention to:
Graphics and logos should be packaged flat to prevent creasing and cracking. Especially when they are a textured graphic. Special folding can help avoid this.
Are there zipper pulls or other details that could snag the fabric? Consider wrapping them in foam, plastic, or tissue paper.
Are you producing bags or purses? Packaging them flat can save a lot of cost on shipping, but can compromise the structure of the bag. Packaging bags flat can cause permanent creasing and can even damage the structural integrity of the bag. Instead, you can stuff the bags to help them keep their shape.
Do you have any metal trims on your garment or accessory? Consider wrapping them in tissue paper to prevent scratching during transit.
How are your tags attached? Will the attachment break or wear a hole in the fabric during a long import trip? Attach the hangtag to the loop label instead or consider attaching your own tags when they arrive.
What kind of fabric is your product made of? Some fabrics, such as outerwear pieces, can have stickier fabrics and may need to be folded with a sheet of tissue to protect them from rubbing.
Note that your packaging for shipment may be different than your packaging for sale. Depending on how your products are being sold, you may need to re-package them when they arrive. In the case of drop shipping you will need to work with your factory to create a packaging system that both fits your brand aesthetic and protects your products during shipment.
In the event that you do have the opportunity to re-package your items when they arrive, don’t worry too much about how the packaging for shipment looks. Your end consumer will never see it! It’s purely functional.
Packaging for sale will depend on how your garment or accessory is sold. If you are selling mainly online you may need to include protective packaging along with branded packaging. If you are selling in a store, you may only need to add a hangtag and hang it on a hanger. Try to think through how your end consumer will receive it to give them the best experience possible.
There’s a lot of opportunity to be creative in this part of the process! Take some time to be inspired and get creative about how you are delivering your products to your customer. You can make a lasting impact with a few simple packaging details.
Depending on your brand, you may want to include an external logo on your garment or accessory. I’m sure you’re familiar with external logos, they are very popular for name brands like Nike, Adidas, and Tommy Hilfiger. An external logo is not required, but can be a creative way to market your brand.
External logos come in a myriad of different applications. There’s so many methods! Everything from embroidered, heat transfer, raised, rubberized, to screen printed and so many more. I recommend taking a look at your local shops or online to find some inspiration. You can check out my Pinterest board for some great ideas.
Keep in mind that, depending on the application, you may have to open a customized mold to create your logo. This can be a big upfront cost, so consider it carefully. The investment may be worth it if you plan to use the same application again in the future. Your factory can let you know if they have the capability to create your vision or if you’ll need to outsource it.
Consider the method carefully as you can run into some problems with logo marks. The washing method, rubbing, and snagging should be tested.
Tags are the detachable information cards that house your product ID, price, and brand information. Typically, they will be attached after shipment by you or your team. Your tag design will depend on what your product is and how it is packaged for sale. In most cases you will be attaching a hangtag.
The design possibilities are endless! You can get really creative with the shape, colors, graphics, and even the layering of tags. Again, Pinterest or your own purchases can be great places to look for inspiration.
Here’s what should be included on your hangtag:
Style Number / Barcode (Identifier)
Brand Name and/or Collection Name
Special Instructions / Warnings
In some cases a style description or story can be included
Contact Info (website, socials, etc.)
Your label(s) live on the interior of your garment. Your main label, includes your brand name and typically has the size label attached showing the size of the garment (if applicable). Your main and size labels should be in the most visually accessible point of the garment, like the back neck or waistband.
Your secondary labels typically live in a less noticeable place like the side seam of the garment. Secondary labels consist of the care label, manufacturer label, and other special information. These secondary labels will house your care information, fiber content, and manufacturing location and codes.
You can be creative with how you format your labels. There is no one right way. As long as you have all of the information included, you can format your label how you’d like. Take some examples from your own closet and decide for yourself how you’d like to format your labels. There are some companies who like to hide small messages on their care labels which can be a fun way to add another branded element to your garment.
Care labels can be very complicated. Symbols vary by country and the differences are very slight, so it’s important to be detailed when choosing the correct symbol for your garment. I’ve included some informational graphics on my Pinterest board to help you determine which care symbols are right for your garment.
Your factory can add your labels for you and help you with finding a manufacturer they work with. Some factories may even create their own labels in house. However, you will need to instruct them with what to include on your labels. You can create a page in the Tech Pack called “Labels” and add the verbiage and format on that page for your factory. Be sure to include any language variations for countries that you sell your products in.
You must include the fiber content, including all materials used in the garment. Also, list where the garment is constructed. You can see on the example above that they chose to list the country of origin on the main label. If your garment is constructed in the US, but the materials are imported from another country you can use the phrase “Made in the USA of imported materials.”
Here are some common label types, check out my Pinterest board to see visual diagrams:
In most cases, packaging for transit will come from your factory or their partners. All factories are well-equipped to ship the product to you. Talk to them about what you foresee needing and they can obtain any special packaging your products may need. Remember, your factory is your partner, they want your products to arrive perfect just as much as you do. Depending on your contract, any damage incurred during transit could fall back onto the factory so they will want to work with you to mitigate that.
A simple Google search will yield thousands of results for both shipment packaging and sale packaging. The supplier will depend on your unique needs, so have a good idea of what it is you’d like to include in your packaging first. You can get some great ideas on Pinterest or even from your own purchases.
Using specific search terms like “custom,” “cotton ribbon,” “matte,” “foldable,” etc. can you help you find packaging manufacturers that will fit your specific needs. Just as factories work with minimums, packaging manufacturers do as well. Their price may be low, but their minimums may be high. Do your research and don’t hesitate to reach out for a custom quote. Etsy is a great place to find low minimum and customized packaging.
Here are some manufacturers I’ve used:
Thanks for following along! Up next is Section 8 and it will focus on the reviewing your first sample from the factory. Section 8 launches on Thursday, 8/15/19.