Sunday, 13 October 2013

Book Review: Handmade Packaging Workshop

Handmade Packaging Workshop: Tutorials & Professional Advice for Creating Handcrafted Boxes, Labels, Bags & More

By Rachel Wiles

Thames & Hudson  2012

ISBN 978 0 500 29057 6

Paperback £16.95

The handmade look is the antidote to digital overload, and this very clever book shows how to achieve it when designing packaging. This inspiration/information title is ideal for small-run craft designers – those with Etsy shops, or craft fair exhibitors, for example. Even if you are a crafter and not into commercial production, this title could come in very handy in the run-up to Christmas! 

As you would expect, this book contains lots of gorgeously-photographed product pics. There are also case studies, and a how-to follow-up section. Being kreative with kraft paper is the look showcased. Lots of kraft paper, jute, and letterpress printing. Lovingly handcrafted at home – in a good way.

As a packaging geek, this title is seventh heaven for me. There is a section on Packaging Elements with chapters on Labels, Tags, Boxes, and Bags, among others. Happy face.  

The book is divided into four sections, Design Considerations (subdivided into Tools & Equipment, Materials and Resources, Printing and Shipping, and Sustainability), the aforementioned Packaging Elements section, Reusable Elements (Fabrics, Recycled and Upcycled materials), and the Going Pro Section which contains some very useful practical tutorials.

Truth in advertising department: the author has devised a nifty system of labelling the featured packaging to reveal whether an item is truly handmade, contains handmade elements reproduced mechanically, is hand-finished, or is “handmade aesthetic”. 

There are some very handy tuts in the “Going Pro” section. If you are a packaging geek like me, you have probably un-glued a box to see just how it is made.  A dieline is a flatpack pattern template for a package used by a commercial printer. It includes the design outlines, fold lines, cut lines, and finished artwork, dropped onto the packaging template. The “Creating a Dieline” tutorial shows exactly how to create such a template using Adobe Illustrator.
Other tuts include Creating a Repeat, and Preparing Files for Letterpress Printing (so very popular right now). This is handy stuff, even if you don't have a high-tech vector graphics program. Also: Screen Print and Block Printing, for small-scale D-I-Y projects. 

Lots of good ideas here, even if you intend to use them for gift packaging rather than income-generating activity. Well done, Rachel Wiles.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.