Excellent Packaging Artwork Capabilities 5 – The core artwork process

Excellent Packaging Artwork Capabilities 5 – The core artwork process

As we have discussed in earlier articles, creating correct artwork is an activity that requires many groups to act together in an orchestrated way to deliver a successful result, on time. The way of ensuring that these people act together in a co-ordinated way is to define a set of processes that everyone adheres too.

Whilst there will always be many ways to reach the same result, and artwork creation is no exception, we will present a high level process here as a basis for discussion. This process is based on experience working with a number of different companies, and if you are involved in artwork processes we are sure you will recognise many elements of it.

We will divide our discussions about artwork-related processes into three distinct areas, in an attempt to make things clearer. The three areas are:

Core Process: The primary activities involved in defining and executing individual artwork changes.

Interfacing Processes: Those business processes that interact directly with the core process, and will have an influence on the core process and may be modified as a result of this interaction.

Supporting Processes: The business processes that are required to support the core process and other artwork capabilities.

We will deal with each of the process areas in different articles and will start here with the core process.

High level core process steps

At its highest level, creating artwork is no more complex than defining what is required, creating a work product such as an artwork and then verifying that this output meets the requirement initially defined. This is a very familiar process to anyone involved in quality systems.

For the purposes of this discussion, we have defined a high level process consisting of five fundamental, or level 1 steps.

1 – Create Local Language Text

2 – Define Change

3 – Produce Artwork

4 – Produce Printer Proof

5 – Implement

We define each of these steps very briefly below. For a much more in-depth discussion on the Level 1 and 2 process in each of these steps please get a copy of our book Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities.

1. Create Local Language Text

Create and approve local language source text document(s) for each of the packaging components to be created or modified.

2. Define Change

Define exactly what is required to be created or modified as part of this change.

3. Produce Artwork

Produce a new or revised artwork that complies with the requirements defined in the Define Change step.

4. Produce Printer Proof

Produce a modified artwork file that can be used directly in the packaging component printing process. This file differs from the artwork produced in step 3 in that it is modified to include all features that will allow it to be successfully printed via a specific printing route.

It is possible to eliminate this step through the use of a print ready process.

5. Implement

Ensuring that, at minimum, the first time a new or modified artwork is used to create packaging components for use in the manufacture of real product, that they are correct.

Critical control points

It is worth pausing at this point and briefly discussing process critical control points. Given that this process produces information that, if incorrect, can have a significant and potentially fatal impact on patients, it is critical that there are defined control points in the process to ensure that the quality of the output of the process is to the highest standard practically achievable.

To achieve this, companies have found it useful to define critical control points in the artwork process to ensure that all necessary tasks have been completed to a high quality before moving to the next phase. Each control point would normally include a quality check for accuracy as well as a formal approval by key individuals to proceed. In addition, some control points will provide an approval of a master document which will form a part of a master record source for GxP information.

This series of articles, taken from our book Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities, describes the key capabilities required to deliver right-first-time packaging artwork in today’s environment. They also discuss potential future developments in the area to help the reader design any improvement activity with these in mind. Finally, they look at how an organisation can go about understanding how they need to adapt and improve their capabilities to meet their evolving business strategy and go about the often complex change-management journey to achieve it.

Comments ( 2 )

  • Zubair

    One of the step I feel missing in your steps above is the technical drawing. I find many time the component technical drawings are poorly defined. Sometimes changes in artwork dictates changes in technical drawings. This might lead to trial requirements which might require extra time and this needs to be resolved upfront to have a proper reflection on project time line.

    • Zubair,

      Thanks for the comment and I entirely agree that physical packaging design and the associated technical drawings are an important part of the overall pack change process. Indeed, changes to the physical pack design will also have impacts on manufacturing etc.

      Any trigger for change needs to have a thorough impact assessment performed to identify all the things that will need to be addressed. From there a thorough plan needs to be constructed to manage each of these impacts and their dependancies. Many organisations do this impact assessment and planning in a corporate change control system, some do it in the artwork process itself, others do it across the two.

      Some organisations manage technical drawings as part of the artwork process. Some manage it in a separate physical packaging design process, the interface between the two processes being a simplified layout drawing.

      The reason for not discussing the subject explicitely is simply a desire to keep the subject of the articles tightly focussed on packaging labelling and artwork capabilities.

      Thanks again. Best regards, Stephen

      Thanks again for commenting.

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