Take a cereal box from your kitchen, unfold it, and lay it flat on the table.
Look at the way the cardboard is laid out—you’ll see each of the box’s folds, glue tabs, and creases that help form the box’s shape. You’ll also see how the box’s visual elements relate to one another and how effectively the packaging space is used.
Now take this concept, upload it to your computer, and boom!—you have a dieline.
What are dielines?
Dielines are named for the die cutting process that many printers use to bring packaging to life. A dieline is a digital file of your packaging template used to show the proper layout of the finished product. These comprise an essential part of the design process as they provide valuable information to printers and designers about the proposed layout of your finished product:
- Location of cut lines, folds, perforations, or glue tabs
- Placement of your logo, graphics, and packaging text
- Packaging dimensions and sizing
So why do I need one?
Dielines are helpful for figuring out the best placement of your brand logo, packaging copy, and other marketing elements, but they also prevent manufacturing problems by giving printers a blueprint to work from.
Dielines act as diagrams for your packaging template that your designers and printers will use as a reference when developing the hard prototypes of your product packaging.
Makes sense. I’m ready to start!
Hold on a minute. Dieline creation sounds simple, but many of a dieline’s elements (such as “eyemarks” that tells machines where packaging should be cut) will vary in size, shape, and design based on what printing equipment is used.
This means that you’ll need to involve your designers and printers early in the packaging creation process and well before you begin drafting your dieline. If you want to create packaging from scratch, you’ll also need the input of a structural designer who can ensure that the packaging will remain stable, will hold the product effectively, and will be functional with your envisioned design.
Of course, you may not have to design your packaging from scratch—people often take examples of packaging they like to their design teams who can leverage the same visual elements to give their packaging a similar feel. Remember, your dieline represents how your product will look on retail shelves. Take your time, work with your creative teams, and don’t rush the process.
brandHEAVY is a strategic creative studio specializing in branding, packaging design, and product marketing. Our mission is to take your product and create personalized branding solutions that create instant brand recognition. Contact us for more information about how we can help you build a design your customers will love!