10 December 2019

Implementing a streamlined, consolidated and expert “Design to Print Project Office” is crucial for success.

Recognising the Problem

Whether you’re a major brand or emerging start-up, the process of getting your physical product on shelf while ensuring the integrity of the design and consistency of colour on the pack can be a daunting task. When you then throw social, POS and web into the mix, then managing consistency across all those touchpoints can be demanding for even the most experienced of Brand Managers. 

The challenge can be broken down into three following areas:


Simply put the supply chain needs to be easier to manage. Multiple printers, multiple repro-houses and various artwork agencies and specialist digital, social and retail agencies all trying to represent the design and creative effectively, for their channel, rarely works. A complex supply chain often results in uncontrollable variables with artwork changes and colour amendments, moving the brand away from the original vision. Variables can include changes to colour, the position of logo, size of logo proportional to the pack and misrepresentation on the POS at the end of the aisle.


Critical decisions on design, artwork, colour, substrate, digital and print can require particular knowledge. The result is that decisions are made in supply chain silos, with little thought of the impact that one choice can make on the overall process or final representation of the brand. Common issues arise from designers that are masterful in their interpretation and creative articulation of the brand vision but can sometimes struggle to fully understand the impact of colour on the press if the packaging is the primary channel. On the flip side, a repro agency can police the colour requirements but fail to grasp the design aspiration.

There may also be some internal friction between procurement and marketing, where a rostered agency may not have the relevant expertise. Still, commercial restrictions and contracts hand the work to those agencies.


For a Brand Manager, nothing is more frustrating than paying for a pack or can to be printed which then fails to match expectation, especially if the mock-ups were approved and the design agency has assured you that the designs are suitable for the chosen substrate. Reprint, stock write off, and new designs can be costly and time-consuming and result in “supply chain blame”.

Creating a supply chain that works for you.

To combat the issues surrounding channels of communication between design agencies and printers, it is necessary to engage with a centralised “design to 2 print project office”. These supply chain specialists can manage the various layers of expertise with a deep understanding of the process and the right technology to enable success. This is often the artwork and pre-press house, who can alleviate many of the design and print inefficiencies and can slip into a centrally managed coordination role. The project office can instruct the client on where there may be a risk and guide the process, not just around design and colour but on artwork and print, for packaging and retail. They are always looking to bring the design teams and printers closer together. A “design to print” project office is the one entity looking at the whole process, not just focusing on their specific area of expertise. Ultimately this drives quality, reduces time to market, alleviates blame, and ensures the client gets more value from their entire supply chain. In the long term, a “design to print” office heightens the expectation of what’s possible and puts the brands back in control.

Added value for procurement and brand managers

A “design to print” project office is beneficial not only for the supply chain, but internal communication for the brands themselves. For procurement, there is an opportunity to use the project offices as an advisor and to help guide the procurement teams as they familiarise themselves with the complexities of marketing and packaging. Also, a “design to print” project office can provide continuity to the marketing and brand teams, where employees may move from one category or department to another, practically overnight. In businesses where there is continuous change, the project office delivers consistency and continuity

For more information on how Brand can set-up your design to 2 print project office, please contact us at

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