Help! Bread package scaling for print!

Hi, I need advice!

First off I want to say I am not a graphic designer, I am a cinematographer/ photographer by trade but recently have been working as a graphic designer in the company that Im currently working for which I am creating a marketing team for (crazy they didn’t have the need for one until recently).

So, I’ve been painstakingly working on several designs for different bread products and have been able to come up with nice designs but now we need to print to have a better idea what the package looks like.

My question is (finally) how do I come up with an exact scale of the packaging? I’m extremely confused at this point because I can’t seem to find a direct answer to my plight!

I don’t quite understand your question. What do you mean by coming “up with an exact scale of the packaging?”

Do you mean the dimensions of the packaging? If so, the obvious answer is to make the packaging the size needed to fit the product, but since that answer is obvious, I have a feeling your question is more complicated than that. Could you please explain in a little more detail what you’re confused about?

In addition, how have you produced these new design ideas? What sotware did you use? Do you understand the production processes necessary to create the files for print? It might help us understand the problem if you could show us what you’ve done. Are these packages paper sacks, pastic bags, cardboard boxes, or something else?


’ve been using illustrator to create the new designs and I vaguely understand the process necessary to create files for print, this has been a crash course for me the last month.

So, the owner has seen the designs and wants to print the designs to the actual scale of the plastic package for sliced bread.

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I forgot you’re a new forum member and couldn’t link to or post anything. I’ve bumped up your permissions, so you’ll be able to do that if you want to.

In general, you would create the artwork to be the same size as it will print. However, you will also need to indicate where that artwork prints on the package, so you might need to include the outlines of the package on a non-printing layer in Illustrator.

I’m assuming the plastic packaging container will stay the same as it’s always been – just new graphics. If that’s the case, you already know the package size.

However, much depends on the specifics of the package and the requirements and processes of the company producing the packaging. For example, I assume the printing will be a set of spot colors, so you will need to set up those colors in Illustrator according to their specs. We can provide basic information about how things are normally done, but even I (who’s been doing this kind of work for decades) would talk to the printer to learn whatever unique requirements they might have.

Thanks! here’s what I have:

Is this built on a template the printer provided? It looks like it might be four-color process printing instead of spot color. Are the grey areas clear areas with no printing? Is the grey background and the measurement lines that are over the printed areas on separate layers.

I don’t see anything obviously wrong with what you’ve done, so I’m confused over why you’re confused. Have you shown it to the printer to get their approval?

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I assume this is flattened with the end fold in the middle area?
When you tie the top, which on your first example I assume is on the left in the gray area between the logo and the blue panel, what happens to the other side where your Nutritional Info and company blurb are? Do they get all crinkled up in the tie?

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The other question I have is, isn’t a bleed required (the 1/8" marked area)?

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Curious, what has you guys guessing 4C? I can’t tell without the slug or a look at the separations preview.

“Guessing” is the key word here. The OP hasn’t supplied much information despite me having asked.

As for why I guessed 4-color process, there are at least four ink colors on the bags and possibly 5 or 6. In addition, those gradients would require screen tints rather than using only solid spot inks. In other words, the advantages of using spot inks have been compromised by the number of colors and the tints. In addition, given the absence of more information and the OP’s claimed confusion over the processes involved, I’m “guessing” he prepared it for full-color printing.

We don’t know if there are side gussets on the bags (which I’m guessing there would be), where what looks like a template came from, or how they’re being printed: flexo, litho, pad, screen, digital, etc. There are way too many questions to provide many answers without guesses.

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Hi, the template is from a previous package design. The grey areas are clear and the measurement lines and grey background are on separate layers. And I’ve learned that they do 4C printing. Sorry, I’m extremely fresh in creating graphic design so I’m having to learn as I go.

As for the printing, my first thought was to ask whoever prints their packaging but the owner insisted that I can scale the project and print from his printer a scaled version of the package.

I’d need to convert the inch measurements into pixels and print?

Yes, correct.

So the grey area is clear to see the product and it is supposed to get tied right above the logo.

You can scale vector artwork to any size needed without any loss of resolution. This is because the final resolution is determined by the output device rather than being determined by the pixel resolution of the bitmap density, as in photos or video. Since you built the artwork in Adobe Illustrator, it’s probably all scalable vector artwork unless you’ve placed bitmapped images into it (photos and such), which it appears you haven’t done.

Even so, the standard procedure is to build the artwork at the size it will print. For example, if your plastic bag is 44 inches long, you would normally build it at that size in Illustrator. An exception is large format work, such as billboards, where the huge sizes might be unwieldy or exceed the size limitations of the vector programs. In those instances, it’s common to use a 1 to 10 ratio, where the printer scales up the art by ten times.

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No, that’s not correct. There are no pixels in vector artwork.


Thank you! That helps me out a lot. And I was able to contact the printer and they will help me make sure I’ve done everything they require for printing.

I’ll be posting topics often I’m sure, but for now you’ve cleared the confusion (for the moment).

I’ll post later on when we’ve printed on some bags. I’ve designed 6 bread packages so far, still have biscuits and sweet breads left to do.

Maybe this explanation from Adobe will help clarify the difference between bitmapped (also called raster) art and vector art. It’s critical to understand this difference to help clarify some of the misconceptions you might have.


That makes a lot of sense! I’ve got to make some minor changes then :grimacing:

Check that artwork in Illustrator to see if its raster or vector.
Hopefully you know how to do this?

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Hi, yes I checked for that and the artwork is in vector format.