Packaging Design - Organic Fruit and Vegetables - Australia

Packaging Design -  Organic Fruit and Vegetables - Australia
Project Type:

Graphic Design


Raw Food Hub

Year Completed:


Create packaging design using 3 spot colours onto kraft cardboard box for produce supplier in Australia. Design to allow low tolerance printing.
Project Details:

Create an exciting packaging design using a kraft cardboard box base

We were approached by an organic produce supplier to create an immersive packaging design to be printed using spot colour onto a kraft cardboard box. It needed to include a number of details such as the logo and branding, visual illustrations of various fruit and vegetables, a space to be able to hand write the name of the customer or alternatively affix a packing label, social media account details, storage directions, country of origin symbol, extensive recycling and reuse information, website and email address, along with taglines outlining the business' philosophy. And yes - it was a challenge to make it all fit!

One design constraint we also needed to keep front of mind, was that the design was going to be printed onto a brown kraft cardboard box and using 3 spot colours. The other side of this, was as the box printing was to be run through a very high capacity and low tolerance printing operation, the spot colours were not able to be within 2mm of each other, in case the registration moved during the print run.

What is print registration?

Print registration is the term used to describe how the different printing plates are aligned onto a job. With this type of job using a low tolerance printing press, it is unlikely that registration will be perfect in comparison to a job printed in full colour which must be almost exact to not appear fuzzy or blurred as the plates don't line up perfectly. Many of you would have seen cardboard boxes with crosshair symbols printed onto them (usually in a non-conspicuous location of the job such as underneath). The print operator uses these crosshairs to line up the different printing plates (one plate is used per ink colour) and perfect registration would be when the crosshairs for each plate line up exactly on top of each other. If registration isn't perfect, the plate which prints that ink colour onto the job will be "out" which shifts the design on that plate/colour away from where it should be. The tolerance for this type of job was +/- 2mm which is considerable (but normal for a job of this type) so we had to be very careful when designing to make sure that critical elements of different colours are not placed too close to each other.

How we get around this constraint in the design process

When designing a job of this type, we need to ensure that elements which are critical in their alignment, are not placed next to each other in a way that if they were printed to the tolerance level specified by the printer it would not greatly impact the design. In this design, we chose to print the brown soil colour, without the other 2 greens too close. You can see this where the green tops of the different vegetables meets the soil and the vegetable design shown beneath the soil has a clear gap where it joins the vegetable top. Other areas of the design such as the recycling information contained on the bottom of the box, uses only a single colour.

The only element within the design which could be considered critical for tolerance, is the printing of the logo (shown below on the left long side of the box) which uses 2 different greens in the leaf part of the logo. The client was happy to take the risk in this part of the design, as they felt it important. The logo was increased in size so that the space between the different green colours was far greater than 2mm so that if the light green plate shifted 2mm to the right, and the darker green plate shifted 2mm to the left, we would still have separation in the leaf design.

For the other long side of the box (shown on the right side of the diagram below), to reduce risk, we simply used a solid green colour and then reversed the logo out of it leaving a clear space.

package design for fruit box
The packaging design shown on the printer's template with fold marks in red.

Fitting all of the information into the design

The list of information required to be on the box was long. However we plugged away at it, ensuring that all available space was used as efficiently as possible. By also using a "maximalist" design style by illustrating a garden scene, it allowed us to use every conceivable space for the various information and messaging contained on it.

A few cute garden worms were incorporated into the soil and the label area (shown with a heart on the top right) were incorporated into the design with parts being cut away (where the leaf intersects of the tomato plant) to keep the design interesting and one that could be looked at over and over again revealing new features not before seen.

The recycling practices of the operation are shown to full effect here with a check box on the bottom (left hand side) and also with tips and ideas on how to use the box at the end of life (shown on the right bottom).

We love creating detailed designs such as this one for our clients, and we love how this one turned out.

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