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The Blueprint of Packaging: Everything You Need to Know About Dielines   

Creating appealing, effective packaging and shipping containers or cardboard boxes for your product might be difficult. While you want to make a structurally sound, visually appealing design, it must also comply with all manufacturing rules before you can craft the final product. Dielines play an important role in this process.

What is a Dieline: Definition and Function in Packaging Design

Dielines are crucial to meet your packaging expectations and standards to designers and manufacturers. It acts as a blueprint for ensuring the proper layout of designs on your packaging. Dielines emphasize the cutlines, fold lines, crease lines, bleed lines, and safety zones on your packaging to guide die-cutting machines and printers on where to cut, fold, and print.

Fold lines

The fold lines show where your packaging will be folded to make your small box for shipping. They eliminate complications in the design of your packaging and provide correct results.

Cut lines

These serve as a guide for the die-cutting machine.

Bleed lines

Bleed lines map the extra space in your artwork design to accommodate for any movement of the substrate during printing and avoid uneven edges.

Safety lines

The margins that ensure all important artwork is not chopped off during the trimming process.

Glue tabs

Glue tabs show where adhesive should be applied during the packaging’s manufacturing.

Types of Dielines

Dielines are made up of three different kinds of lines:

  • A dotted perforation line
  • A cut line
  • A fold line

When your packaging design is printed, these dielines direct the machine to make the necessary cuts and preformation so that the box can get folded.

Because these are two different “chunks” of information the printer receives, the perforation lines and cutting lines will appear on different layers and in different colors. This lets the printer know what to trim and what has to be folded separately.

Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Custom Packaging Templates

The process of designing your first set of dielines for your colorful boxes from scratch may seem difficult at first, but it becomes easier with time and practice. You can start by just finding a box that looks similar to the one you’re designing. Unfold the tabs again, flatten them, and measure them. These measures will serve as the foundation for creating your own dielines.

Some customers may even give a sample of how they want the finished product to the printing company. In this case, you can just take that model and go with the graphics and tucks. You can also use wrapping paper to properly measure the product and estimate the required size.

The next step is to select a design tool. Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Design, or Artioscad are commonly used to create dielines. However, no tool is better than another, and you should use whichever one you are most comfortable with.

Tools and Programs for Dieline Creation

Because computers require mathematically defined lines, Dieline creation must be done as vector art.

When creating a dieline, specifications are important. Prior to placing the file in an InDesign project, you should use Artioscad or Adobe Illustrator to determine the exact size. This will save you money and time in the long run.

Although it is not strictly necessary, inexperienced designers may choose to create a physical copy of the dieline before sending the design to print. This stage might assist you in catching any unexpected errors before production.

Dieline Measurements: Understanding and Calculating Box Dimensions and Folding Lines

Remember that the measurements while the panels are flat do not show the actual usable area in product boxes. Once the package is folded and the flaps are in place, the thickness of the material folding and creating the corners take up some of that area. When the flaps in a flat cardboard sheet are folded down, they occupy some space as well. This is known as “scoring allowances” in the packaging industry.

Custom packaging suppliers can create the right-sized box based on your product size limits (taking cushioning and protective space into account). To do this, you must precisely measure the dimensions of your product and send this information to the package manufacturer. Most companies would ask you to provide them with a sample of your product for proper measurement.


Dieline Customization: Adding Branding, Graphics, and Text to Enhance Your Packaging Design

After determining the packaging type, you can develop a design concept that fulfills the product’s needs as well as any other important criteria. This may need sketching or mockups of the packaging design.

You can build the dieline for the packaging design using specialized tools such as Adobe Illustrator or ArtiosCAD. Creating a flat pattern template that shows where the packaging should be folded, cut, and bonded to get the proper form and size is required.

After you’ve built the dieline, you can use it to build a packaging design prototype. This will allow you to test the designer’s fit and functionality and make any necessary changes before final manufacturing.

Once you’re happy with your corrugated boxes or package structure, you may start working on the final visuals.

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