New World Packaging

Why Cannabis Packaging Prototypes and Samples Are Critical

Prototypes and samples are a critical part of developing packaging for your cannabis products. In a highly regulated industry with long lists of unique packaging requirements, investing in experimentation to ensure your packaging will work in the real world is imperative.

Prototypes and samples are a critical part of developing packaging for your cannabis products. In a highly regulated industry with long lists of unique packaging requirements, investing in experimentation to ensure your packaging will work in the real world is imperative.

What is a Cannabis Package Prototype and Sample?

A packaging prototype is a sample of a package in physical form. A prototype can be a sample of an off-the-shelf package, which is a standard size package made with standard materials and construction. Imagine a plain white box that fits a standard size glass jar. That would be an off-the-shelf package. On the other hand, a custom prototype is a sample of fully custom packaging designed specifically for your product.

Single Product Prototypes

If you plan to use a standard package size, you’ll be able to request a plain, nonprinted sample from your packaging provider. You can use the sample to confirm you like the materials and that the size and shape will work for your product. For example, many cannabis brands sell products in jars and need boxes to fit each individual jar. If the client wants to use a standard box (and their product will fit in a standard box), the New World Packaging team will send them a sample of a box that meets the client’s size requirements. 

Once the client approves the box sample, we move to the art phase and provide a digital art proof based on the client’s specifications. It’s essential that you ask for a physical proof of the printed box from your packaging provider to ensure the colors print correctly. Keep in mind, this physical proof won’t be a fully constructed box. For art approvals, the proof will be flat. 

To get the best idea of how a product will actually look and function, request a one-off mockup of the box. This is a digitally printed finished product. New World Packaging creates one-off mockups for bags, boxes, point-of-sale (POS) displays, labels, corrugated boxes, and shrink sleeves. Our print capabilities for mockups include gloss, matte and soft touch finish, foil stamping, embossing, debossing, raised ink, and spot UV. You can also request 3D mockups and transfers for custom printed materials (wood, metals, plastics, and glass).

The goal is to see your package at each stage of design and production, so you can approve it before the next step begins. Even with off-the-shelf packaging, your packaging provider should make it easy for you to be involved and review everything throughout the process.

Master Carton or POS Display Prototypes

If you have a product that is packaged in a glass jar and each jar is packaged in a box, then you’ll also need master cartons to hold multiple individual boxes or a POS display for retailers. For example, you could use a master carton that holds 32 individual product boxes that can be displayed in dispensaries or retail stores.

To get the sizing right for packaging that carries multiple units, New World Packaging provides solutions to ensure your products will fit perfectly. For example, if you have a POS display that holds 20 bags, we can make 20 bag samples and the POS display for you. If you have changes, we can make those changes for you and provide new art dielines. 

Whether you’re creating boxes or displays using off-the-shelf or fully custom packaging, it’s important to make changes as soon as possible – before they become expensive problems.

Short Sample Runs

Single product prototypes and master carton or POS display prototypes are digitally printed. When it’s time to print your final packaging and put it to use, it will be printed using offset or flexographic printing. These processes are better equipped for high production runs and high resolution. The per piece production price will also be lower for large packaging print runs using offset or flexographic printing than digital. 

With that said, you should get a final production sample before your full order runs. This way, you can spot any last-minute problems that need to be fixed. Your packaging provider should allow you to place a small order for final production samples. The quantity for this is typically between 100-1,000 units depending on the size and type of package you’re producing. 

New World Packaging just did this for a client. We made 24 samples of smaller POS displays to size out a corrugated box. With the samples, the client saw exactly what the displays would look like and felt confident approving the full run.

Short production runs allow you to see the final product. This type of sampling can be costly, but it will make economic sense if you amortize it into your final unit cost.

Why Cannabis Businesses Should Make Package Protypes and Samples

Prototypes and samples will save you time and money in the long run because you won’t waste money on packaging that doesn’t work. Always prototype before you go to final production! If you can’t prototype, then at the very least, confirm the physical plain samples (i.e., unprinted) will work for the size package you need, and request a digital proof to ensure colors, spelling, and other graphics are correct.

Here are some of the key things to review and confirm during the prototype approval process:

  • Colors
  • Text
  • Size
  • Materials
  • Functionality
  • Design elements
  • Design impact
  • Brand consistency
  • Compliance and legal requirements
  • Quality
  • Feasibility (i.e., the package will “work” for distribution/delivery, in dispensaries/retail stores, and for patients/consumers)

Prototypes eliminate miscommunication and mistakes. Since prototypes allow people to see a package visually and physically rather than conceptually, decision-making tends to speed up and fewer obstacles and delays happen during the entire package design and production process. 

Key Takeaways about Cannabis Package Prototypes and Samples

Anytime you want to create new packaging or redesign the packaging for your cannabis products, you should request prototypes and samples at each stage of design and production. The cost of an error is far greater than the cost of prototypes and thorough review and approvals.

The packaging experts at New World Packaging can help you through every stage of the prototype and sample process whether you want to produce off-the-shelf or custom packaging, cartons, and displays. Contact us to get started!

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