Packaging Process, In Progress


The new finished open sketchbooks require different packaging than the current MMS+S flat kits. I set about designing an insert for the books’ 3 x 4-inch plastic bags that will provide a protected, recessed container. After roughing out dimensions on paper, I work in Illustrator to draft a model. White cardstock cuts first, with numerous and many revisions.


Once I’ve got a solid working white model, I cut models in my intended paper, a rich black cardstock.


Numerous iterations transpire. Where does the cutout appear? Where will the labels go? How does it fit in the bag? Where are the dominant folds vs. the grain of the paper? How can I best optimize use of paper, given a 12 x 12-inch maximum dimension? How might I make this easier, more elegant to assemble?


Some versions later, I’ve got my best solution (though what’s pictured is not it :) I streamline the pattern in Illustrator for optimal cutting on the Cricut machine, joining paths, eliminating rogue anchor points, and doubling key scorelines. This happens about 11 times.


Earlier today I walked out on the back deck to take the mass quantities of paper scrap I generate to the recycling bin, and I noticed this sudden dramatic bloom on one of the new nursling succulents. Dumb angle photo, but what a pleasant surprise!


A side view of the insert. It’s effectively one layer of cardstock thick on the sidewalls, and three on the bottom, with two on the immediate front face. Sturdy enough to withstand shipping? Do I need to add another layer to the sidewalls? Test mailings will tell.


The backside. Utilitarian!

Sidenote: I work in inches for packaging, and in points and picas for most other applications, such as labels. Graphic designers are bilingual that way.


Insert sorted for now, my attention turns to labeling. The current 3 x 3-inch labels will not work for this package. I consider two 1-inch labels — enough to order some — when a header card occurs to me. First ideas include, for some reason, a cutout circle to hang on a rack.


But then I wonder why? I’m not a hanging rack sort of shop. The circle is unnecessary.


I rework the design a bit more. A staple will anchor lower center, through the bag and insert, to secure the header card and further reinforce the package.


Because this packaging is for a one-of-a-kind, original artwork, a signed certificate of authenticity is included :D


And the deskmess to back it up (not included).

15 thoughts on “Packaging Process, In Progress

  1. Keli says:

    That is a lot of work. It ooks like fun work to me, but I love puzzles.

    The pink flower is a bright surprise.

    Can I call dibs on the most prominently featured sketchbook, or is it already spoken for?

    BTW, I think I’ve figured out the string fasteners, need to do another test.

  2. Barbara W. says:

    Whew! That is why everything you do is so fabulous. I anticipate a bit of a stampede at the front door to your Etsy shop – the floral paintings are a must-have.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thank you, thank you, BW! And I know, lengthy post about a potentially mundane topic :)
      I’m just discovering drawing/painting in miniature. Very satisfying to see them resonate with others!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Glad you find it so, Brae. Process documentation posts sometimes make my palms sweat, what with all the personal stuff they can inadvertently reveal, but I always love it when others do them :) Messy is very much a part of it for me.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Well! Thank you, Christina! Think I’m going to make a screen grab of your comment and enlarge it bigly to hang above my desk. And then maybe make a 1:12 version to hang in the MMS+S room box. For when I forget.
      And maybe one for the fridge.
      You too.

  3. pepper says:

    You think of absolutely everything. The presentation of the sketchbooks just adds to the appeal. I’m still hovering over your Etsy shop…wondering if you will add some new and fabulous creation immediately after I’ve pressed the buy button :0)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Ah jeez, Pepper :) Thanks for the appreciative hovering. There will be a short lull in the shop as our family grows with a new sister for granddaughter Maddie :)

  4. Jodi Hippler says:

    Ahhhh… Basking in the afterglow of excitement after having added many tiny gems to my shopping cart, completing the sale, and knowing that soon these little treasures will finally be mine. Most excited to see and display the original jubilant artwork of a most talented and kindred mini friend!

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