FOOD POUCH DESIGN Essentials or Print - GRAPHIC DESIGN COURSE | Karen Ciocca | Skillshare

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teacher avatar Karen Ciocca, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Fine Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Pouch Design Intro


    • 2.

      Dieline and AI Assets


    • 3.

      Preparing Mech Font


    • 4.

      Mechanical back


    • 5.

      Color Swatches


    • 6.

      3D MOCK


    • 7.

      Chat GPT


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About This Class

This class is for anyone who wants to know how to prepare a food pouch mechanical for print. It is geared to graphic designers who want to build their portfolio as well as anyone who has never had the work experience creating a pouch bag.

We will be working with a real dieline for a food pouch. I will show you what is required to create your illustrator mechanical ready for print. 

  • We will also be working with AI tools to create realistic assets for your project.
  • I will demonstrate how I use chat GPT to help with the design.
  • I will demonstrate how to create a realistic mock for your portfolio or client review

I have over thirty years experience as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator mostly in the consumer retail packaging arena. I have created packaging for companies like Bigelow Tea, Perrier, Aurora Products, Pilot Pen. 

You should have experience using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Karen Ciocca

Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Fine Artist


Hello Friends!

I am presently the Art and Marketing Director at a Granola-Nut company who also distributes organic and all-natural nuts, seeds and fruit to supermarkets and chains nationwide. 

My career has been as a corporate and boutique agency in-house graphic/package designer and digital illustrator. My packaging illustration and design work have been on retail and supermarket shelves for over 30 years. Including Pilot Pen, Bigelow Tea, Perrier, Lindt Chocolate, Poland Spring, Aurora Products.  

I am also a professional fine artist and I love to paint animals and nature. Having been commissioned numerous times. 

I am excited to share my skills as a Graphic Designer and Fine Artist here on Skillshare! 

 <... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Pouch Design Intro: Welcome to my graphic design course on how to create a food pouch. In this course, we're going to create a mechanical on an actual die line, an illustrator that's provided from your printer. We're going to use AI tools to create our assets. We're going to bring our assets into Adobe Dimension and create a beautiful mock up piece that you could showcase for a portfolio piece or show a client. My name is Karence Yoka. I've been a graphic designer and illustrator and package designer for major brands for over 30 years. Welcome to my course. 2. Dieline and AI Assets: All right, so when you're going to start your mechanical for your pouch, you're going to need to have a dial line. And the dial line should be supplied by the printer that you are getting the pouch printed at. He's going to supply you an illustrator file and it's to the specifications that you ask for. This illustration is showing you where the zipped edges are, where the front is, the back, the gusted area, and the sealed areas are. This is beautiful for you to pop into Illustrator or open an illustrator and start working on. Now here I am. I'm going to generate some assets using AI for my mechanical. This is going to be for my portfolio or maybe is for a client who wants a mock up of the package. And you want to show them the package, but you don't have their product yet. What I did was I opened Photoshop file and I made it 10 " by 10 ", 300 DPI and CMYK. This is going to ensure that my image is going to be big enough when it's AI generated. What I did was I made a selection in the middle, it's a square. And I generated with a prompt on the bottom, coconut Bliss balls. And you could see the first one came out pretty good and the second one is going to be a chocolate coconut list ball. Let's see what happens. It comes out really amazing. It just takes a few seconds and it saves me so much time. So if I had to go find a product and photograph it, or maybe even cook it myself and photograph it, it would have taken me half of the day. Or I would have had to look for stock photos all over the place and try to find one that fit. But this way you can create something that is pretty close to what you want. With your prompt, I generated some bliss balls, and I think they look great. But what I really wanted was a cluster of them for the front of the package. So I'm going to do it one more time. We're going to select your area, it's just a square and we're going to generate in the prompt area, I put three chocolate coconut Bliss balls. And let's see what happens. It did generate just one, but it generated one from above and one from the side. I think the one from the side, even though it was four balls instead of three, I'm still going to use, I think it looks great. And we're going to use this for the front of our now. I'm going to continue with it on the layer, we're going to grab the object and grab the selection object tool in the tool bar. It looks like a square within a square and it's one of the selection tools. Then we're going to just select around it and it's going to just go and select the object itself. I copy pasted that to a new layer and turned off the layer below it. Then I'm going to go and take an ear brush, and on another layer just create a little drop shadow behind the little ball so that it looks more normal. And I'm just going to change opacity on there and maybe turn it to multiply. And then after that, we're just going to save this as a Photoshop file. Next, I'm going to show you how I grab a photo from unsplash, a free photo, and change it into a beautiful texture that goes inside of our mechanical. Okay, I found this image on unsplash. I thought it was a really cute brush stroke and could be really great texture for the back of our product. I did the same thing we just did. So I selected it with my object selection tool because it's so black and white. It did a really great job. Then what we're going to do is we're going to bring this into Illustrator and do an image trace on it. So what I did after I selected it is I hit that little square on the bottom of the layers palette and made a mask. Then I realized I need to apply the mask. We'll go up and apply the mask layer mask. I want to invert it first because I want the image to be black. In order to do an image trace in Illustrator, it's got to be black, otherwise it won't work. And then we're just going to save it as a Photoshop file yet again, or J peg either one. Open my Illustrator and I'm going to import my brush mark image into Illustrator. And I'm going to ignore the white and you can select any color you want if you had a color thing there. So we're just going to ignore white and it's going to trace the image. And then we're going to go to our threshold and decide how much black and white we really want to show. I want to show them more white and I want to show them more brush strokes. And when I'm happy with this, I'm going to hit the expand. And after that, I'm just going to copy it and paste it into my document. And save this one as whatever you want to call it. In the next video, we're going to start working on our mechanical. 3. Preparing Mech Font: In this video, we're going to start preparing our mechanical to get ready for the printer. Now, this is a fake mechanical. It's not a real mechanical. I'm going to design it in front of you. But when you design yours, you're going to have your layout already figured out, possibly before you start placing things on the mechanical. Here I am, I'm showing you what it looks like. There is the zipper and here is the gust and those dotted lines there are where they do the gluing or the heat to seal it together. And for us, we're going to put that background in where it's not going to touch the edges completely. It's going to be maybe 16th of an inch or less away from the edge. Instead of bleeding out, it's going to bleed out top and bottom, but it's not going to bleed out on the sides. It costs more to have it bleed out on the side than it does to have it top and bottom because it's feeding through the machine. Here I have another art board on the same mechanical with all of my assets that I have already figured out, how I want to design my layout. And you can see that brush stroke is there, but I'm not going to use that brush stroke. I decided that I'm going to use the one on the left and I did it the same way I did the brush stroke in the previous video. I also created a bunch of assets like the almonds and the coconut. And I just found those either on Adobe stock for free or on Splash for free. And I also created a Swatch library over there that we're going to work with, like pretend that if you're doing something for your client, they would have like a brand and they would have all these colors they want that. It's their brand colors. For this demonstration, I use the pan tone peach color, the peach fuzz as a main color, so we can get that in there. And then I went on pan tone and I got another palette that seemed to work for me that was coordinated with the peach. And I'm using that as my color scheme for this purpose because I design this ahead of time to save us time. I have a lot of layers here. When you're building a mechanical, you really want to make sure that you have all of your layers labeled to what they actually are. You want your line in one layer. If you have a working folder just like my board here, just make that a working and then you delete it later. The actual everything on the die line that sits on the die line, you want to be able to have all of that on a separate layer for each element. Like the type should be on an layer and the background because usually you're working on top of the background. So you want it on the back and you want it to be separate from everything you're moving around. Here I am, I'm drawing in the background and like I said, I'm not bringing it all the way to the edge. I'm bringing it just shy of the edges, Maybe a 16th of an inch, if that, on each side. My measurement was 5.75 for the actual mechanical. So I made this 5.6 then I centered it in there and I'm going to change the color. We want it to bleed to the top but not the side. I'm going to push it up a little bit higher so it has a little bit of a bleed so that when it prints you don't have a white or a clear mark on the top of your bag. And then we're just going to go ahead and make this a layer and lock it and create a color for it, the background. I'm going to go to my other art board that I made here and I'm going to start grabbing my elements and bringing them in to my mechanical. All of my elements here are CMYK. And 300 DPI. And I'm bringing this typography over and I'm going to turn it to Outlines. When I send a mechanical out to a printer, I always have my typography in outlines, but make sure you have it somewhere else where it is live type either you put it on a separate layer and label it live and then turn the layer off so it doesn't print. And then make another layer that is outline type because you don't want to be sending fonts and all that to the printer. Sometimes you're not allowed to send fonts, but it just makes it easier to have it in outlines, that the job goes smoothly and nothing really moves or changes by accident. And I always like to have, like I said, live type and also outline type. And every single document I use, I have it both ways because you have to come back and make a change down the road. I made this package design this year and then next year the ingredients change or the formula changes or the weight changes or something changes the packaging and you have to update it. You really want to have that type in a live format somewhere that you are able to. Because you're never going to remember what font you use. You're never going to remember everything you did. Just have that insurance for yourself. Here I am, I made a trademark because the Top Blissful Bites is the name of the company and the chocolate, coconut Almond Bites is the name of the product itself. I'm going to bring in my photograph, my AI generated product art, and I'm going to give it a nice effect of an outer glow because it's the same value as the back and you want it to stand forward a little bit. The outer glow is really going to make it look just more special and more sparkly and more fresh. And then I'm going to grab the background image that I have and I turned it off. Remember before that we did the brushwork and I tried that and I was like, eh, I'm not sure And I also found this other image in splash of paint on a wall. There's like pattern paint on a wall and I thought it looked a little grungy and geometric at the same time. I brought that into Illustrator and did a tracing of it. And I think it looks super cool. That's the fun of graphic design is that you get to change something that you would never think would be used for that purpose. For that purpose, this was actually paint on a wall in splash. I just actually had it size before I brought it in here, so I knew that was going to fit left to right exactly and fall exactly where I wanted it. And it's trimmed perfectly to fit in the bag, so it's going to be on its own layer because you have to move them around. And if you're moving texts on top of it, you just want to stay still. So make sure that you have them on separate layers that are completely labeled the right way. I have too many layers here because I have my working files on here as well. But you get what I mean. Now I'm going to go grab these almonds which I got from Adobe stock for free. If you own the subscription to Adobe Creative Suite, you can go on their Adobe Stock, look up free images and I looked up free almonds. And these were perfect, they were part of bigger pictures. I just isolated them and brought them in the same way we did our product in Photoshop, and I made them CMYK and not too big. So when you bring things in, you don't want them super huge because it's going to make your file huge. Make it a little bigger than you need it, so you can shrink it down. But don't make it too small. So you have to shrink, go up. You never want to do that. You always want to shrink down. I make it slightly bigger in case I need the image for a poster. Maybe down the road or a brochure or something where it might be slightly bigger. I always try to think ahead when I'm creating my mechanicals and the images I spend a lot of time on. You want to make sure you create images that down the road you can use for other purposes that possibly may be larger in size. Because like I said, you can never shrink. You can't go up from when you already sunk down. You have to go from being large. I'm just going to place these. I'm going to place the rest of my elements on here. In the next video, we are going to design the back, which is a little bit more tricky. It's tricky because the back side of it is upside down. When they are finished printing, they take the plastic bag and they fold it and the heat seal it on the edges. Now when the backside upside down, the two tops will meet and they will both be right side up. I'm going to finish placing this and I'll see you in the next video. 4. Mechanical back: Okay, get ready. We're going to design the back. And I'm going to go ahead and grab a few elements from my artboard that I have there. And we're going to grab the ingredients, and we're going to grab the nutrition facts, and you're going to grab the UPC code, everything that needs to be on the back. You probably have to, whether it's kosher or dairy, if you have that issue and the manufacturer where they are located, that all has to be on the back legally, of these package designs. Right now, my mechanical, it's wrong. If I were to print this on this direction, it would be upside down. So what we have to do is turn our mechanical 180 degrees right on the bottom. I don't know if you could see it on what I filmed here. But on the bottom of your artboard, on the left there is the size. And you can literally rotate your canvas 180 degrees, but you can't rotate actual objects 180. You have to use the rotate tool, Otherwise, it makes a mess and it just doesn't work. So you can start by just, you know, playing it in and just, you know, getting the fonts and the size right and everything. And then you can flip it and move everything around or just flip it to begin with. And start from the, this is the nutrition facts box. You want to go on the Food and Drug Administration website and find out what the specifications are for the nutrition facts. The font has to be a certain font, They have to be a certain size. You have to have the Daily Value on the bottom. And all of the information that's inside that box, you have to have on food packaging in the United States. I don't know where you're coming from. Maybe not the United States, but in the United States, this is what you have to have. You can get that information on the Food and Drug Administration site and just type in nutrition regulations and you can download the PDF for that information. Now, I generated this nutrition information, the whole box, from a company online. You can do paid and you can do for free. This one was free. I had to give my e mail address away, but it did generate me a nutrition fact box because for this purpose, it's perfect. Otherwise, I would want one where I can edit the information myself. I have one in my own jobs where I have a template and I edit everything in that nutrition fact every time I use it because we do a lot of them. You can see here that after I flipped my canvas, the type did not flip with it. You have to flip the type using the rotation tool. And here I'm going to grab the background and stick that back in. And you can see even like now, your artboard is on the left side where it was before on the right side and everything is upside down. Yeah. So you just have to work with that in your head. And I'm really happy that you can flip the canvas around. In Illustrator, or used to not be able to do that, sometimes it's hard to show somebody what it looks like without printing it out. So you can literally turn the paper around or fold it to look like the bag. But now you can show people on your computer if you have to, because you can flip the canvas around and they can actually read it the right way. A lot of food packaging wants to have a window where that you can see the product, the actual products, through the window. Now, you don't want to usually do this on the front, I don't recommend it, and a lot of people do. If your product looks amazing, usually never, ever looks like the picture you put on the front. It's very like look at Mcdonalds, their hamburgers, and like Burger King, whatever, their hamburgers look amazing online. And then when you go there, it's like this does not look anything like the burger I see online. But the reason I like to put it on the back and not too close to the bottom is for a couple of reasons. The window, I mean, it's nice to show the product and people do want to see it, but if you put too close to the bottom, sometimes crumbs form And it looks all crumbly so you don't want it too close to the bottom where you're going to see the crumbs and you don't want it too big. You want to give an idea to people what they're getting without them seeing the whole package. Because, I mean, you don't want to be dis, disappointing. And besides things tend to get squished or, you know, packaging people touch it or whatever, you just want to keep it looking fresh and beautiful at all times. I poked out the window on this background purple and it should be sufficient. But a lot of bags they do a white background. That purple background would actually need to have another exact layer of that. Duplicate that layer and make it white and stick it behind that layer. This layer that I have would be printed directly on the plastic, which might make it slightly transparent depending on the color. But most printers will print white behind anything printed on the mechanical. If you want to in this mechanical, all you would have to do is take that background and duplicate it. And the one underneath make it white. And then you can label that one white. Then you have the background on top of it, and then you have the white layer underneath it. The white layer would print first and then the print color would print on top of it. And I recommend this and it's an extra step. But like I said, in the imagery may look transparent. It's not completely opaque because it's ink on a plastic clear bag. Now where I have that window, you just label that, it is the window. So that window is going to be clear substrate. So you might why put window there, But maybe a better word for that would be clear substrate right over that window. So I thought maybe I'd bring the product in the back as well and repeat it on the back. I'm like, nah, I don't want to do that. I think it's too much. So you design it any way you like. I don't want to spend a lot of time designing for you. I want you to understand the ins and outs of creating a mechanical that you need to send to a printer for a pouch. So as I'm doing this, I'm having another thought about another type of printing. So if I wanted my bag to look like a Matt finish, you can ask for Matt. And everything would be Matt. It's not glossy, but if you want glossy just on a few areas. So if I were to do the front of this label, if you looked at the front of this label or just even the coconut right there and the almonds, I just want that to be gloss. So what I would do is you have to do a clipping mask around those objects. So you want to copy them and make them a flat color, like a white or gray, something like that. And it's got to go on its own layer and then you're going to name it gloss layer. This way the printer knows that anywhere they see that shape. So I would make a shape all the way around those bliss balls and the almonds and possibly the logo of the company. I would also make that gloss. I would just take all of those layers, all of those elements and bring them into its own layer exactly where they are. So you don't want to move them, they have to be exactly in place and you would just label it gloss. The printer will know and you have to write it out to the printer when you send them in the mechanical that everything that prints gloss is on that layer that you named gloss. They will get back to you and they will make sure that they're on the right page with you and they have everything because they will not print anything until you sign off on it and you say it's okay. So you have to be careful of how you word things and specify it on your mechanical, There's no mistakes. So I am putting the Blissful Bytes logo above the zipper. And later on we're going to be making a mock up of it with Adobe Dimensions. But the mock up bag has the zipper in a different spot. So it's going to look a little different than what we did here. So your mechanical is always right. The mock is just a mock. It's not exactly, so you might have to explain to your client that, well, the zipper is not really there. This is a mock. It's not an exact thing because you don't want to get, I mean, some companies will print out an actual prototype for you and you have to pay for that. It's a couple hundred dollar usually. But this is why I like to make digital Max because then the client can visualize what you're giving them without you spending a couple hundred dollar on a digital prototype bag. One thing I noticed that was missing from the front was the weight in the United States, you have to put net weight and ounces. If it's over 16 ounces, you have to have pound and ounces with it. And every country probably has different regulations. But you should talk to a compliance person who knows exactly what is required on the package. It must go through that person before it goes to just to have proof read it for you. The other thing that we're going to do in the next video for this video, I'm just going to finish up going through every single layer and making sure I have them labeled right and everything is on the right layer and nothing is straight off the wrong layer because it's easy to do. On the next video, we're going to talk about the swatches and the call outs and how to output it for the printer. The one after that, we're going to make our mock so we can just have a beautiful image of our beautiful product. I'll see you in the next video. 5. Color Swatches: Okay. Let's talk about color swatches. In this document, we have CMYK, we also have two spot colors, which is the PMS 19282 oh, and the PMS 121023. I go up and I check to see if I have unused fonts, and it's showing me that the CMYK is unused. All of those images are CMYK. They are not going to print a solid color, so all of the images in this document are actually CMYK. The purple in the background is a PMS 1928 20 and the other peach color is also that PMS number is called out in the callouts. The black, the line black, two spot colors, the CMYK and the white. The die line is not printing. All printers know that it does not print, but it is called out over there. Okay, so now what we're going to do is turn off all the layers and I'm going to show you each layer. This is the substrate layer, this is the live type layer. If you click on that layer, you can see that I have it to not print. Here it is going to print, and here it is not print. Since this layer is just sort of insurance to help you. If you have to change a type down the road and everything that you have is already in outlines, you don't need to have that on, it should be off and not printable. Then we have the white layer, which is the background layer and then the background layer on top of it. Then all of your art and then your call outs in your die line. Now your mechanical is ready for the printer. Let's package it and get it ready for the printer. What we're going to do is save our document because when you go to package it and packaging it is going to collect all the fonts and all of the images. If we have any linked images in our package, they will show up in the folder that it creates. But most of my images in this document I have embedded, so they will not show up in the folder that we create. I'm selecting where my folder is going. I'm just going to select package. Go ahead and hit package. We're going to collect the links and re link. This is just giving you the warning about the fonts. You don't have to keep that on. You could say don't show again, if you don't want to. It has successfully packaged. Let's look at it. There it is. What we want to do now is create a PDF that is good for the printer as well because they often like to just print off of a PDF file. Let's go and go to save a copy. Save a copy, then we're just going to go down and select PDF. And then we're going to save it as a press quality PDF. And you are all done and ready to send this off to your printer. In the next video, we're going to talk about maps. 6. 3D MOCK: Okay, here we go. We're going to create our mock up and we're going to be an adobe dimension and we're going to pick the food pouch and we're going to move it towards the front. Now we're going to go size it. We'll get it positioned the way we want. Then we're going to go up to our properties panel. We're going to go to the x position and make that 5.75 for this mechanical that we have. The Y is 7.375 That's going to make it the exact dimensions of our pouch. We're going to go click on the Import to put on top of our image. And we're going to import our image. And drag it on there. And size it to fit that circle there helps you size. It's not always perfect, but it does work pretty good. You'll notice that the blissful bites is right on top of the zipper. We cannot help this because the way this is rendering this particular shape, the zipper is in the wrong place compared to our mechanical. But it's still pretty good rendition of what the plastic container is going to look like the food pouch is going to look like. Now I'm bringing in another one, and it's pretty much the same size. We didn't change it, and we're just going to put the back image on there. I previously had taken a J peg of the mechanical that we created. Export it as a J peg, and then took the back in the front and separated it just two separate files. And this is what I'm importing to put place onto the packaging. I'm importing the second graphic, Import graphics. It says, we're going to place it on the back and move it around exactly to fit. I don't think that I trimmed my actual file that I'm placing here exactly correct because the window is too close to the bottom. And we talked about that in a previous video. But that's okay for this demonstration, It's fine. You can purchase a Photoshop mock on places like Invado Elements and possibly even create a Fabrica, where somebody created a pouch that has a smart object in it to place the file. Whatever you find that works for you and you can afford, that's what you should do. But I'm just showing you this method that I use a lot. When you're happy with how it is placed, we want to just take a quick PNG file or you can render it. Rendering takes a long time, but it makes maybe a better file. But for me, I just do the PNG and this is what it looks like. I thank you for taking my course and I hope to see you in my future courses. 7. Chat GPT: Chat PT is a wonderful way to create a beef for yourself, to make a portfolio item for our project. Today for my course, I asked Chat GPT to give me 20 product names and 20 company names. And then when I settled on a product and a name that it helped me come up with, I went with the Bliss Balls. Then it gave me a recipe for Bliss balls and it gave me the nutritional facts for the bliss balls. So I pretty much had everything I needed to create my brief. You can even ask Chat GPT to write you something friendly, like a little bit of a quote to put on the bag itself. I also did this for my pure Paws bags that you see here. So in the future, use Chat GPT to help you create your portfolio items.