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How is a Sample different from a Prototype?

Sample and prototypes, even though the terms mean the same, are in fact quite different.

Samples are the examples of the packaging to physically define the material, texture, print, etc. The definition of prototypes is that it is specially made for you; using your specifications, to give an idea of how your custom packaging will look after the production. Both samples and prototypes are the physical representation of the aspects of your packaging design.  Let’s have a look at the difference between samples and prototypes.

Understanding Samples

Packaging Samples - Sample s Prototype
Image Courtesy: Create Packaging

Samples are the best way to visualize the various aspects of your packaging. Usually, the manufacturers keep some extra pieces of packaging for themselves as samples from the packages that they made for other clients. They use the samples to demonstrate the material, color, texture, print and, finish. If you are particular about the color of the final packaging, then you can ask for sample color drawdown. Color drawdown is the printing on a piece of packaging material rather than on the entire box. Sample color drawdown can also guide you in finding the perfect color palette for your packaging. So, it’s up to you to select your packaging design from one of the samples or ask the manufacturer to make your custom packaging from the mix of samples. You can also present your own samples before the manufacturer. This way he can have a clear understanding about what exactly you are looking for. He can also determine whether the design you require is feasible for him.

Here are a few ways to reduce packaging sampling cost.

Understanding Prototypes

Packaging Prototypes - Sample s Prototype
Image Courtesy: NapColour

The prototyping methodology is simple. These are a replica of your future packaging; to give an idea of how your packaging will look after production. However, prototypes may differ from the packaging that you will get after production. These differences include pixelated printed graphics, bland colors, and imperfect fits. This is because the prototype is not made using the same machinery that will be used to bulk produce your custom packaging. Prototypes can be smaller than the actual packaging. The manufacturers sometimes scale down the size to reduce the cost of prototyping.

Cost of Prototyping

Making a prototype outlays some price and may cost more than the price of a single manufactured unit (or sample).To get an idea about how to cut and print the packaging after production, you need to ask for production prototype. Production prototyping may get even more expansive as they involve setting up tools, plates, and dyes beforehand, same as the actual production.

Are Prototypes Necessary?

Prototypes  can help you to make sure that the logo and graphics on your custom packaging is correctly oriented. Making a prototype is helpful when the packaging is complicated and requires your confidence on the expertise of the packaging manufacturer. Sometimes, the production prototype may get over the budget. Alternatively, you can make prototypes by printing the design and dielines on plain card stock or paper, and by cutting and folding it. Wish to know about packaging prototypes in detail? Read this guide on decoding packaging prototypes.

Choosing Between Samples and Prototypes

Depending on your timeline and budget, you can choose between samples and prototypes. For instance, if you require millions of packaging boxes, then the production prototype makes sense because you would definitely want to ensure that the printing and logo placing should not go wrong. Prototyping will surely cost time and cash, but you will be confident during the final production. If you require immediate packaging solution or a smaller number of boxes, then choosing from samples could be just perfect. So, in short, both prototypes, and samples illustrate the appearance of the packaging. Even though they differ in the way of presenting the preliminary, you can always choose whichever is best for your business.

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