Prepress Design and custom package

Why Outsource Prepress Design To a Subscription-Based Agency?

To launch products on time and under budget, CPG businesses should look to prepress design agencies that offer a flat-fee subscription model.


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Prepress design - the process that occurs between final design creation and final printing/manufacturing - capabilities are a necessity for CPG and eCommerce businesses. You need a technical design resource with extensive printing expertise that understands how to translate and fit your creative concepts into a packaging and/or label printer’s specific dielines and technical specs. Ideally, you have a team that can “see around corners” and foresee design/ print compatibility issues before you have to backtrack (and before you spend unnecessary time and money). 

Without prepress design you won’t be able to get your designs off the screen and “onto the shelf”. This applies to core products as well as supporting sales and marketing materials that need to be printed (e.g. sales sheets, promotional and point-of-sale materials, etc.). 

Historically, prepress work has typically been handled by an in-house designer, a contractor that charges by the hour, a project-based agency, or a junior resource that works for the packaging manufacturer or label printer. But there is a better option: a subscription-based agency that offers uncapped services via a flat, monthly fee. Read on to learn why this is your best option.

Creatives Should Focus on High-Impact Creative Work


Have you or a colleague ever said something along the lines of: “When my designer is working on prepress, everything else is on hold”?

If so, you are not alone. Product launch timelines are often largely dependent on designers. Packaging design concepts, sales and marketing materials, landing pages, email templates, and a variety of other high-priority launch assets all require graphic design. Any time spent on dielines and technical design work means time NOT spent on creative work. 

Many traditional designers are often highly skilled at creative work but not so skilled at the technical design work. Not only that, many creative designers will tell you that they really dislike prepress work. Combined, all these factors can lead to unnecessary rounds of revision (costly) and missed deadlines.

Working with a subscription-based team of experts can help minimize turns (they have a deep understanding of what will work according to the printer’s specs) and keep your designer focused on the creative work, all with a predictable, flat, monthly cost. 

Prepress Design Needs are Sporadic


Do you launch an entirely new product line every month? Or even a product line extension every month? Probably not (though it would be pretty impressive if you do). Depending on your particular industry, and if you have a single brand or a brand portfolio, you may need to make a minor label update or two almost every month. Nevertheless, it’s probably safe to assume that you don’t have prepress needs every single month. So why would you pay for something when you don’t need it?

Outsourcing your prepress needs to a subscription-based agency that lets you pay a flat fee for the months you need them and not when you don’t (no contracts) is the best of all worlds. 

Contractors Can Be Unpredictable


Contract designers can be an amazing resource if you find the right one(s). Some integrate into your processes and team so well you forget they’re not an employee. Others can cause headaches that require painkillers. Either way, contractors that work on an hourly basis can be unpredictable. 

Have you ever built out a budget for a design-related project, set internal expectations, and then got an invoice from your designer at the end of the month that set you off in a panic when you realized your budget is totally out of whack? You can take solace in the fact you are far from alone.

Budget planning around hourly contractors can always present a certain level of risk. In the context of prepress, the risks can be higher. When you insert another stakeholder (e.g. the printer or packaging manufacturer), the odds that multiple rounds of revisions, and a “back-and-forth” process, will be required increase substantially. This inevitably leads to more $$$.

An agency of experts with a subscription-based model solves this unpredictable budget problem. You pay one, flat fee at the beginning of the month and no matter how many hours or rounds of revisions the work takes, you can be 100% confident that you won’t go over budget. 

Aligned Incentives


Productive partnerships are all about aligned incentives. A law firm, a consultant, and a contractor all have something in common. They generate revenue by the hour. They are incentivized to maximize the number of hours worked, so they can generate the maximum amount of income. There’s nothing wrong with this business model. It has worked for decades and will most likely work for many more decades to come. However, it might be worth exploring other options to support your CPG / eCommerce business.

A flat fee, subscription-based model enables a higher level of alignment. In this model an agency is incentivized to maximize efficiency. Their goal is to produce top quality results as efficiently as possible because they are on the hook to make the labor hours work on their end. Their goal is to get things right on the first turn. But if they don’t, it's on the agency to spend as much as time needed until you’re happy.


If you’re looking to head into 2023 with a more predictable, dependable budget it’s worth exploring the possibility of engaging a subscription-based prepress design agency to help execute your product roadmap. Let your creatives focus on high-impact creative work. Spend when you need to, not when you don’t. Launch products faster and cheaper. 

Arka offers top-notch custom packaging options that help increase brand awareness! You can check out their custom shipping boxes and mailer boxes. They have custom boxes for any niche; contact them if you need a luxurious custom cosmetic box or a soap box!


Guest post contributed by Arka's partner KitPrint

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