Red’s Hot Women internship: THE FOODIE EXPERIENCE

10-03-10 – How the packaging gets the Waitrose look

Posted in Uncategorized by Katie Bryson on March 11, 2010

Today’s mission was to get an inside look at not what goes into the products, but what the products go into – i.e.the packaging.

I got a very comprehensive tour of Hertfordshire based reprographics business Technik, a family run operation who print up the packaging for a lot of Waitrose’s lines.

The printing business has undergone a lot of changes since Technik first opened in 1976, and the company has moved with the times with an impressive array of digital technology, running alongside the analogue methods.

It was truly impressive checking out the gigantic whirring printing machines churning out thousands of sheets of printed material. Each step of the journey the paper collects a new colour which eventually builds up to the finished version. It was hypnotising to watch.

Ed Watts manages the Waitrose side of the business and works closely with the team at Head Office in Bracknell to bring the projects through from concept to creation. There are a lot of specialist people involved in the process and it’s Ed’s job to ensure everyone has a clear picture of what’s going on and keeps the wheels in motion.

There’s a staggering amount of detail that goes into a single piece of packaging. The choice of colours, the font, the image, all the logos, nutritional information, the weight of the product, the cooking instructions, the recycling information – I could keep going but you get the idea!

It’s crucial that the labelling is there, from a legal point of view as well as an informative one, and often there’s not much flexibility in exactly where these things are placed on the packaging.

I sat with Chris, a designer at Technik, who’s job it is to fit all of this into a coherent piece of artwork. She has years of experience and it’s clearly quite a skill to manipulate all of these elements into something that looks crisp, clean and has that unmistakably pleasing Waitrose finish!

I’ll never look at packaging in the same way again!

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