How to design a kiosk in steps

How to design a kiosk. Designing a kiosk for retail, be it for a mall or a shopping centre is challenging.

The quick-fire answer to how to design a kiosk is to look at the environment, get the plans, and dimensions and draw up your intent in a document.

“create a detailed plan drawing that illustrates the intent and clearly shows key information about its construction.”

To draw and up a plan for your kiosk you, will either need to draw it in 2D or create a 3D model. Or both.

Designing a kiosk that is suitable for retail and will sell your product as best as possible, is not a small undertaking.

I am going to share my experience of how to design a kiosk for a shopping centre – broken down into bite-size steps.

how to design a kiosk - diagram

Get your tape measure ready!

Actionable steps on how to design a kiosk

If you are looking to design your kiosk, these core stages will help you to pick through the design process.

It will also guide you on what you should do and what those behind the licensing of the kiosk may expect from your plan.

It should be noted here, as I am a designer that many of the steps and stages focus on concept, design, and planning stages.

Although I have an understanding of stand construction (even with a very distant background as a builders’ labourer).

My professional focus is in the design field, rather than implementation.

Below is a guide of what to use to design a retail kiosk.

Core stages on how to design a retail kiosk ( 1,2,3 )

1 ) Get the plan and technical information for the available space

2 ) Enquire about any limitations with regards to the kiosk design – what you can and can’t do

3 ) See the environment if you can, size up the competition

5 ) Conceptualise the design and try to stand out from the crowd (send a proof)

6 ) Consider the customer experience when they use the kiosk or stand

7 ) Polish up the rough drawings and design ready submitted to the mall

8 ) Amend design if needed (make sure you have factored in safety)

9 ) Make sure your design is easy to understand for the stand builder

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Kiosk Design | Get a plan and information for your retail space

Before opening up any design packages or generally getting too carried away the experience, make sure to get the space information.

Eg, the floor plan and dimensions.

This stage is essential. If you leave getting all of the specifics about your space and information to the end of the project, you run the risk of hitting delays.

Worse still, having to redesign entire sections of your kiosk.

Get the information first, or at least! As early on as possible.

If you are considering designing your own kiosk, these tips will save you a lot of trouble later on.

With this still in the back of your mind, if you have any questions you can request my kiosk design services here.

The kiosk planning stage – get a floor plan

Get the dimensions for your space and see what you need to work with.

Often malls and retail centres will have a top-down view or plan and layout of the area. It is better still if they have the written dimensions of your allocated space.

This will save you the trouble of having to go to the shopping centre to take measurements.

In addition to the floor plan to help you design a kiosk. Any diagrams with notification of electrical points, fire exits, ventilation, and sprinklers will be important to know about and should be factored into your design.

plan

How to design a kiosk | what you can and can’t do with the design

Knowing your limitations with the kiosk and retail space is just as important as to know what you can do with space.

All malls and retail centres are different.

You will find some retail centres are stricter, and others have basic requirements with the visual design.

It is also good to know the limitations and rules on what type of lighting you can and can’t use.

Knowing these rules and limitations for your kiosk design will help you with your design and save headaches further down the line when it comes to the final design and implementation.

Ignoring the rules is a likely way of delaying getting your kiosk or booth open to the public.

When it comes to kiosk design for a retail centre. *You can’t do anything that will pose a fire or safety risk to others.

You can’t build outside of your allocated area and you shouldn’t block items such as sprinklers and ventilation.

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How to design a kiosk | Visit The Shopping Centre

If at all possible, I would recommend going to the shopping mall where your kiosk will be situated.

For myself, I find this a key stage in the creative process.

I want create the best customer experience possible. I want to put myself in their shoes!

how to design a kiosk illustration of crowd flow


By going to the environment where your kiosk will be built, it will potentially help you with the design concept.

It covers you for the unexpected.

It helps you to size up what the competition and lastly, you can observe the shoppers behaviour. Not to mention helping to see what is really going on with other shops and stalls.

When it comes to kiosk design, this is an ideal that I can come to the centre, but sometimes this isn’t always possible.

If you can’t visit in person, you can always get somebody at the company commissioning the kiosk design to take pictures. Or a member of the team to go.

How to design ‘your’ kiosk – perks of visiting your area

As already mentioned before, and especially if you are designing your kiosk in-house. I would strongly advise that you visit the space where you intend to build.

This is important for both the kiosk concept and the practicalities.

This is a small list of why it will benefit you in designing your kiosk :

  • Allows you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes
  • Helps you to spot things and anomalies not on your plan supplied by the license givers
  • Shows how you will compare to other kiosk and shops
  • You will be able to see where people come and go in the mall
  • It will allow you to take your own pictures
  • And you can make additional measurements if required

To list a few.

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Kiosk Design | How to conceptualise and draw ideas

When considering how to design a kiosk, it is important to consider how the whole concept will work.

Gather as many facts and inspiration as necessary to create a kiosk that is practical and engaging. For inspiration, you may wish to look at websites such as Pinterest or go to shopping malls for ideas.

When I am engaged in a kiosk design project, I use those approaches as needed.

The concept stage of myself is the stage where permit the chance to jump in with both feet!

And if you have followed this guide so far…

You can too.

how to design a kiosk rough drawing

As a reminder to help you with how to conceptualise your kiosk make a note of the following:

  • How can I design a kiosk that stands out based on the limitations?
  • What are the business goals of the company?
  • Who is the target demographic?
  • How does the kiosk design plan need to be submitted?
  • To what capacity do you need have plan, eg 2 pages, 5 pages 10 pages.

Many of my past kiosk design projects have focused on creating a retail experience that makes the customer say –

“WHOA! What’s that!”

– Imaginary customer

In hopes to pull the customer toward the stand engage with the brand and product. Or at least that is what I aim for.

How “you” can conceptualise and design a kiosk

I would advise all of what I mentioned above if you are designing your own kiosk. Get the facts, get the plan, get the measurements, find out about health and safety.

And then –

Design your kiosk.

When conceptualising your kiosk, you should consider how the user will engage with the stand. Make good use of design to help sell the product to reinforce the brand image.

Also, on a practical note.

The kiosk design needs to work for all parties – including the staff. And storing the product after hours.

If you are also on a budget, you should also consider how this will affect the cost of the build. The plan and concept is just one stage.

Kiosk Concept Design Services

As part of my commercial design services, I can draft up a concept design for you to pitch. These services cover kiosk illustration, plan drawings, thoughts abstracts, and ideas.

All of which can be compiled together into a single PDF at the end of the project.

Freelance kiosk and retail design services UK >

A good customer experience and making a sale

When creating a kiosk, I take into account how the kiosk will be used by both the brand and the consumer.

In addition to designing a retail kiosk that resonates with the audience, you should also strive to make it profitable for your business.

And In order to help make the kiosk as profitable as it can be. I have asked what products the client sells.

With regards to making a good sale, you should also think about what product you would like to sell first.

Keep your kiosk easy to use, fun, and easy to sell from.

With the kiosk design, consider consumer psychology

As much as I personally dislike the manipulation to get people to spend more than they need in the supermarkets. You cannot deny that the tactics used are clever.

how to design a kiosk brain

You may believe that buying a product is a logical / considered thing. It is and it isn’t. Many customers make purchases on emotion and impulse too.

An inate need that they need more than they actually do – “just in case”

Examples of visual persuasion and tactical positioning in retail :-

  • Placing low-cost sweets at a checkout.
  • Putting big red signs saying “deal to be had”.
  • Placing items in areas where people loiter or come and go.

None of these tactics are new. And none are by accident.

But they do offer an interesting lesson that can be taken away. This all steers a sale. it ties in with positioning

Notes for steering a sale with your retail booth *kiosk

As part of my design process, these are just some of the factors and questions I will use when designing a new kiosk, including the all-important signage!

– Who are the products for?

– How can I make the best of the product space?

– Does the theme and visual design tie together with the brand story?

– Are there signs showing the customer where to look?

– Where can you can put important products?

– Create an area for low, medium, and high-end products (adopt the rule of second crappest
Post on another website, (love this post)

– Are there spaces where the customer may linger?

– Is it easy to move around and browse?

– Will lighting illuminate the products?

These are some of the questions I will ask the client or myself in the “design thinking’ stage of the project.

diagram

If you are designing your own kiosk and would like help with the concept or thinking stage. You can read more about my Freelance Creative Direction services here.

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How to design a kiosk | Come to an agreement and speed up the process

By this stage ( or if earlier ), I would have illustrated a 2D visual – a mock-up of the kiosk.

To create this render, mock or illustration I would have used the processes above.

The kiosk concept is important, as is the information you supply about it’s design to the landlords and those granting a license.

You will need to come to an agreement with the design.

After all, the ones granting permission to use their space typically have the final say on the design.

One of my biggest tips I can give you if you are designing your kiosk in-house. Is to create some rough ideas and renders first.

Once you have created some of these polished illustrations or renders of the kiosk. Send them off for initial approval.

If this initial design is approved.

Then add the details ‘after’ this stage of the kiosk design process

kiosk

If you send a 100% polished final design of your kiosk draft of your design and it needs to be changed – as design often does. then you may have to go over the entire design document and make those changed throughout.

Instead of having to change just a couple of items on your plan.

Don’t be cheeky either.

Remember what I said about who gets the last say? The chances are, if you are the stand designers who have been granted permission/lease for space – it isn’t you!

Getting your design accepted and then changing your build that deviates too far from the design plan is a huge no-no.

Don’t do it.

This will most likely cause you kiosk delays in the opening if you worry or annoy the landlords.

Do what you agreed in the plan. As much as you can!

Important in kiosk creation – “DO NOT” do this with your kiosk

“Do stick to the agreement.”

The plan – the kiosk concept -once finished and signed off by those granting the lease, should be adhered to. This is a mutual agreement between both you the stand builder on the mall offering the lease for you to place or build a kiosk.

The design plan is in place for you to stipulate your intent and for those granting the lease to see what you intend to do.

This the opportunity for both parties to land on the same page and be happy to go ahead.

Do not do anything that deviates too far from the design plan.

A ‘qualified; stand builder should be allowed room to execute their knowledge. The stand builders should know their craft and will flag when something is a bit off with your idea, it is a good idea to do this during the design process, if possible.

But even with the best intentions, things may arise were ‘minor changes’ need to occur.

be straight
Don’t be a geezer! – be straight an open with the design.

Minor changes…

If you decide to build custom shutters, new fixtures, wacky lights, things that block or stop ventilation and this is not shown on the original plan – which was agreed.

The solicitors or those granting the lease will either tell you to change it, amend the plan or they will stop you from opening the kiosk.

“that was not was agreed!”

Making substantial changes like this without consulting the landlords / those offering you space is a pointless risk in which you are the only one likely to lose.

Don’t be sketchy.

If you need to make substantial changes, later on, tell everybody involved and amend the design plan.

How to design your kiosk | amend the design if required

By this stage, you should be moving toward the completion of the kiosk design.

If you followed the previous steps, then you will have already shown an illustrated or 3D mock-up of your design.

Working on the design of your retail kiosk in incremental stages is better and saves time in releasing a big 15-page document in 1 go.

Imagine drawing the kiosk 10 or 15 times only to be told you need to change it across all 10 pages of the design document?

That adds a lot of bloat and time to get your design plan completed for your kiosk and may delay in the kiosk installation.

As preferred method, and when possible. I like to submit early design visuals before tightening up on the details.

If you are very lucky, you may not need to amend you design information. And, if this is the case. You can submit your design document and mark it as complete.

Get the sign off from the parties involved in running the mall. And you are getting closer to building your kiosk.

Preparing the PDF document of your booth concept for the landlord

If you are a qualified designer, you will be familiar with the different programs you can use to wrap up all of the documents into one neat and tidy plan.

As a general guide, if you are not using a standardised piece of software that creates documents. You can either go to a ‘Save As’ under file > menu or more often than not “export’ which will give similar document saving options.

If you are a Graphic Designer, then you can either use Adobe Indesign, Illustrator of Adobe Acrobat to compile together the images and artwork into a single PDF plan.

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How to design your kiosk | getting it ready kiosk/stand builder

By this point, you will have most likely had your design signed off and be ready for the visualisation to be turned into something tangible for retail.

You may or may not have had the stand builders involved for consultation in the early stages.

The communication with the stand builders is an important step. When working with stand builders on the installation of the kiosk, make sure the document is easy to read and follow.

Clearly write the measurements, the materials, the functionality, lighting information on the design plan.

Make it easy to read and understand as much as possible.

Example of the project for Bluewater (inspiration)

As part of a project for a new retail unit that was to be put into Bluewater shopping centre – I was heavily involved in the kiosk design.

These visuals I am sharing are from that kiosk design. You may be interested In looking at these for inspiration on your kiosk design.

The design followed many of the core processes and principle mention throughout.

Branding, modular design and methods for easy storage and stacking to name a few.

Along with the team I worked with at the time, we also visited the retail centre before creating the design.

Have a look at the images for your own reference and inspiration.

Project for Bluewater

how to design a kiosk
panel design
crate faces for kiosk
crate faces 2 - how to design a kiosk

These are just some of the artboards that contributed to the project.

how to illustrate a kiosk
Rough Mock Up

The image of the concept above is another example of a booth or kiosk concept that would be presented to a landlord.

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How to save money on your kiosk design

To save money on your kiosk design you should consider “modular design”. Modular design, or designing your kiosk in a way that it can easily be taken down and assembled elsewhere is a strong money-saving tactic.

Another simple way to save money on your kiosk design.

Present your rough ideas sooner rather than later. Don’t wait to show your best-polished work to the very end of the near building stage. Time is money. Show your design intent sooner rather than later to those offering a lease.

Last tip for reducing cost on kiosk design – look and ready-made solutions.

The more ‘bespoke’ your kiosk design is. The more likely you are to need to spend money on custom installation and building.

The design above is an example of a kiosk design that uses the modular method. This is so it can be assembled and taken down more easily and potentially moved to another shopping centre in the future.

sourcing for your booth!

You can also consider what resources are available to you. Such as this crate!

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How to design your retail booth (in-house)

By following the steps above you should design your own kiosk in stages and by following the limitations set in the plan.

Consider the materials, branding, cost, and work hours to build and install the kiosk also.

Designing a kiosk is not a small undertaking. You should seek advice from those that know how to build kiosk and from the owners.

IF you would like any help with your kiosk design I would be more than happy to get involved.

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How to design a kiosk for retail – the conclusion

In order to design a kiosk that is suitable for a retail environment, your need to create a detailed plan drawing that illustrates the intent and clearly shows key information about its construction.

With regards to useful information to include on the construction plan, you should consider adding the following pieces of information:-

  • Kiosk size and floor plan with measurements
  • An illustration or render of the kiosk
  • Detailed pull-outs of what is happening with the construction
  • Notes on materials
  • Where electrical points will need to be added.
  • How and where customers can pay
  • Storage
  • How the Kiosk can be made secure overnight.

There are many factors that you may need to be included in your kiosk design plan. And to what degree and detail you need to create your proposal,l is down to your and the owners of the mall that are leasing you space.

Help with ‘designing’ your kiosk

If you have found this article helpful and over you, some step by step guidelines follow you may also be interested in contacting me or looking at my freelance kiosk design services.

Feel free to share this article to any budding kiosk or retail designers.

Below are some other helpful links

Retail and kiosk design-related posts

Packaging design samples

How to design a stem product

product design ideas

Creating a USB flash drive

The Design Journey

How to pitch and game and make money

How to draw on a computer with a stylus and tablet

External Design Services

Kiosk Design UK

Freelance board game design

Kickstarter campaign designer

*The kiosk design is copyright copyrighted to the respective business. Do not use. – Thank you for reading – jimmsdesign. Steps on how to design a kiosk.

How to create a Stem product
Press to read this!

Packaging Examples

Press image to see these!

How to make a product for your business

Developing a product for your business isn’t a small undertaking… but it can be very rewarding if you do it right! This post has been written to share useful experiences for creating a product. In order to create a product, you should consider certain key aspects of its design.

So, how to make a product for your business :

  • Who is the product for?
  • Is there a market for your product?
  • Does the market need your product?
  • Would the market want your product? can you find out?
  • How much will it cost to create the product?
  • How will you market the product?
  • Where will you make your product?
  • Timeframe for product design

The questions above cover a couple strong questions when creating or launching a product.

Tips for creating or designing a product
Tips for creating or designing a product

Also, this post will cover what you shouldn’t do when developing a awesome new product. Enjoy!

My experience in creating physical products

In the early stages of my career I would never have imagined that I would have been involved in designing and launching physical products, it has been a journey that has both been challenging and exciting!

Speaking creatively, designing a product opens up a whole new road for innovative exploration – you just need to remember to put the breaks on every once in a while and assess why and what you are making.

My experience mostly covers designing products that are made from card and PET. I have also been involved in creating physical card/board games, developing learning products (STEM) and Flash Memory (injection moulding) and last but not least, the retail packaging that houses products.

Who is the product for? (It’s not you)

When you create a product, it shouldn’t be a product for you. This may sound counter intuitive but you need go beyond a gut-feeling if you really want to push the success of a product. One mistake I have often found is assuming that everybody else is a bit like me to a lesser and greater extent – this couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Not everyone is like you.

Do you represent a demographic that would buy your product?

It can be a good start if this is the case but try to get some idea who would buy your product through looking at information online with trends, forums, statistics and if you have the money and resources, surveys and product testing. These early stages will help to decipher whether there is viability in your product.

Don’t leave it to chance.

Make your product about your customer, make it something they would love, solve a problem, entertain. It will be them that buys the product in the end – not you.

How to make a product for your business | Product Validation

A very good way for a business to get a product validation is by testing the waters on a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGogo. If you are going to do a Kickstarter, make sure you have a crowd and an audience ready on the launch day.

This is not a mandatory way to validate a product, but it does show if there could be a demand for your product.

If you would like help with your Kickstarter design you can read more on this post.

Is there a market for your product?

Assuming that you may or may not have gone down the crowdfunding root for your trailblazing new gadget or product do you have any evidence that the world ‘needs’ or would like your gadget or product?

A good way to check is to see whether other companies are selling something similar – I know, I know – you want to create something SO unique that you would have made Tesla shed a solitary tear but creating something without knowing if there will be demand can be a huge financial risk, and you could end up selling something that the world does not want or need.

It is a crushing feeling

if your product can’t get off the starter blocks when you have invested so much time and money into your passion. Make sure you do your homework first and maybe consider the – paragraph above “Product validation”.

Who knows, perhaps after creating your first few products you will be in place to show the world what you offer is better than what they want.

In time…

Show the world what you have to offer...
Show the world what you have to offer…

Great women inventors

Keep the cost down to create your product (*MVP)

If you are a creative or a student reading this post, you are probably going to hate this point. For your product to be commercially successful, somebody will need to be able to buy it! I know, who would have imagined!

Unless you are creating a product for wealthy people with large disposable incomes you will need to consider if the man or the woman on the street can afford what you are trying to sell them.

That will generally come back to keeping that initial manufacturing cost down.

Creating a Product As a business owner or Start-Up

This may sound like familiar territory to you. The lower the setup cost, the better the margin or the cheaper you can sell your product and it have a wider market appeal. A lower RRP will make your product more accessible to a larger buying market with shallower pockets.

The type of product, brand or business you want to be is down to you. It will come down to you how much you believe the customer is willing to pay for your product and be brutally honest with the prices.

This may influence whether you do mass production, batch or stay with smaller scale cottage industry production. The choice is yours – based on your research and expertise.

How much does it cost to make a product?

It can cost anything from 10p a unit to £1000’s of pounds for a large mass produced run, it comes down to the materials, where you have your product made, speed and many other smaller factors.

Costing and pricing is a crucial stage for the success of your product. Below are a few factors which you should take into consideration when pricing the development of your product:-

  1. How many units will you make

    Generally, the more units you manufacture, the lower the unit cost is in larger quantities.

  2. Where it is manufactured

    It is common to find products that are manufactured overseas. This is a common practice in manufacturing as it is generally cheaper to manufacture products in place such as China.

  3. Packaging

    Depending on the level and complexity of packaging this can affect the cost of your product per unit. Having too much packaging could be costly and frowned upon by a modern and more eco conscious market. – You can read more on packaging here >

  4. Transport and unit weight and size

    The weight and size of your product will affect the unit cost of your product.

  5. Other languages

    If you are intending on creating a product that will be sold globally, you may wish to consider having translations added to the retail box. It can be inexpensive for translations to be created and worth considering as it will open up a much larger audience to your product.

  6. Barcodes

    If you are intending to sell your product to high-street retailers you will need a product Barcode. I wasn’t involved in the process of creating product barcodes in the past, but as far as I am aware it is relatively cheap.

  7. Instructions

    Large retailers will expect instructions as a basic requirement for your product if it something like a piece of electrical equipment, a gadget, a game, a tool and items with moving parts. Instructions can be made cheaply, but they need to be made ‘properly’.

  8. Other Admin and legal areas

    Your product may need testing for chemicals and toxic substances to meet with trading standards. These requirements differ from country to country and isn’t something I can advise on. I can only mention that you should be aware of it is best to seek professional advise.

* it should also be noted that Brexit ‘may’ have an effect on goods being imported and exported in and out the EU.

Marketing Your Product – A very important step

This step should not be scrimped on but is often is. It is a waste of time and money putting all of your efforts into creating a product that the world cannot see. Don’t rely on blind faith and hope that consumers looking to buy a product will stumble of yours. You will need to be proactive and there are actions you can take with a short or non-existent budget.

Invest your time, energy and planning into some good marketing and if you cant invest money, research low-cost or free marketing ideas.

But remember, free is rarely free. Time is still a cost also and if you can avoid doing it all yourself I would advise looking for help.

https://www.shopify.co.uk/blog/how-to-market-a-product

Shout out Marketing
Shout out Marketing

The marketing of your product can cover a large area; from the branding to the packaging to the website. 1 idea for marketing your product could be to consider crowdfunding – if this fits your business model.

A method for getting your product out there

a) Make a good product
b) Create awesome packaging
c) Present the whole package.

Show your cool packaging to a buyer and let the large retailer do the heavy promotional lifting and display your product. I have seen this method work time and time again but you need to master your pitch.

Other Notes on creating your product

There isn’t a guarantee your product will succeed the first time.

I feel this should be added, not every single product you develop or make will rip it into success. Although, I hope that this article may guide you and help you steer clear of any pitfalls in the early stages.

I think many inventors make many products and prototypes before they blow it out of the water. Eventually, they find that eureka! And so will you if you if you have the right skills, knowledge, and attitude. I have written about the success of this party game >

IF you found this article helpful free to link to, share or show friend.

‘Do Not’ for developing a product.

– Don’t rely solely on your gut when creating a product. Try to do some research and understand your target demographic

– Developing products for the tech market can be volatile – especially if you are making products which are accessories for a model of (whichever product) Creating something for the latest release lasts as long as that model does. You either have to move quickly or end up with a warehouse full of products you cant sell.

– Don t assume that customers only look at pictures on the packaging, they do read the details on the back of the packaging, and if something is a little bit off – they will email you to let you know.

* Minimum Viable Product Quick Answer : What does it mean?

If your manager or boss has just mentioned the term MVP this stands for ‘minimum viable product’. A minimum viable product is just that, a product that is still worthy of being sold but is stripped back to the bare essentials.

E.g a car with 5 wheels, bike rack, a rearview camera, fine leather interior, sky television etc

MVP version = 4 wheels, plastic interior, simple functional car (Save money in other words)
That is the end of the post for How to make a product for your business. I have tried to share some of my past experiences and how they can be useful for you.

I hope this post was useful to you and give you insights on how to make a product for your business. This is all based on past experience which I have shared. if you feel that this was helpful please share!

Thank you for reading “How to make a product for your business”

Maybe you’d like to read: How to create a game in steps >
Or Develop packaging or how to design a gaming app

If you have any questions feel free to (opens in a new tab)”>contact me through my website >

How to get your packaging printed in China | 9 insights for Designers, Entrepreneurs & Startups

How to get your packaging printed in China in simple steps. This topic covers how to get your packaging printed in China from the concept to sending your design to a Chinese factory and getting printed proofs!

This post has been written based on past experience, in working with factories from overseas. My packaging design and artwork has featured on boxes in the UK and across the globe. If you would like to see some more samples of my packaging feel free to have a look!

Getting your packaging made in China
Getting your idea made!

General information about this post :

– The pitfalls
– What to expect when working with the factories.
– The typical stages
– Other details experiences

This article discusses my professional experience in getting packaging artwork printed with Chinese suppliers – all experience told from a design perspective.

I hope that this post will help you make an informed decision and how to go about getting the results you want from your suppliers.

You can get your artwork printed in China from a reputable factory or supplier. The challenge is finding a reputable factory and supplier and when you can’t speak the language, it can be difficult.

1 ) How to get your packaging made for your product (Chinese Factory)

If you are a business, an entrepreneur or someone looking to get a product manufactured for the retail market you will need packaging for your product, unless you are intending to sell only online using brown boxes. If you would like to read or see some of my eCommerce design you can view it here.

To be taken seriously, you will need to have professional packaging made.

Working with Chinese suppliers can be a great cost saving measure but you will need make sure you select the right one.

Mass production packaging
Mass production packaging

2 ) Why do companies get packaging for their products manufactured in China?

There are many reasons for a why a company may want to get a product or a piece of the packaging made in China if you are from a western country such as the USA or United Kingdom.

By far most common reason for getting products manufactured in China is to save money on production, printing or manufacturing fees. From a business perspective, this is great news – but it isn’t always as ideal or as cheap as it actually sounds. If you pick the wrong supplier it can cost you time and money and can even lead to trouble further down the line.

3 ) How to supply your packaging design to a Chinese factory

This isn’t as tricky as it sounds from the designers’ perspective but be prepared to teach the factory how to suck eggs. DO NOT Assume they will understand what you want. And DO NOT assume that things will be created ‘as is’, on occasions factories may ‘help’ and tinker with your work without your consent.

Stay vigilant on the process

Very vigilant…

Frustrated Designer… Frustrated factory, Frustrated business… etc

When you create a design you will need to annotate and make it as clear to follow as possible, be it using spot UV or any extra features this will need to be told in FULL.

I would also strongly advise on sending rough mock ups or drawings to help communicate what it is you are setting out to achieve. Visuals often make one of the best lines of communication when having your sample made with a Chinese supplier or factory.

Getting angry at the factory won’t accomplish anything.

It won’t fix the problem.

And it wont make you wealthier and it wont speed up the process. The ball is in your court in the end and it just needs to be right.

Send them visuals and explain EVERYTHING.

4 ) How to find a Chinese packaging a supplier

There are hundreds, possibly 1000’s of businesses online that are looking to print your packaging in China alone. You could go onto a website such as Alibaba to find a supplier or through Linkedin.

I still hear from suppliers coming through my Linkedin account.

By the far, the most effective (not cheapest) way is by hiring or contracting someone to work as a middleman or woman to work between you and the suppliers.

Communication is key in getting your design correct otherwise you will get something you didn’t want from the factories.

I would argue that getting a good supplier from one of the factories should be a top priority. A bad supplier will result in bad results – funnily enough!

Here are some key points when finding a factory or supplier to work with:

– *Find someone you can trust*
– Work with a factory that offers a quality service
– Get as much written down in the beginning as possible
– *Try to get prototypes or samples from factory supplier before mass production.

5 ) What to expect when having your packaging or product made in China

It all comes down to your supplier, communication and how you supply the artwork. It’s best to have everything ‘exactly’ as is when supplying artwork to factory and also be prepared for a bit of randomness when it comes to how they may produce the work.

Be vigilant and make sure to get ‘proofs’ from the factory.

I have written a couple of quick steps for you to follow when producing your packing:

– Find a reputable supplier, if you have somebody that is fluent in Chinese this can help tremendously

– See if you can get proofs or past evidence of packaging and material samples. What they sometimes say you will get and what you actually get is not uncommon in my experience.

– Getting digital proofs of your artwork through photos, and flat-screen image is a must.

– Delays can happen due to miscommunication from either or both parties.

Don’t let the factories take the initiative.

– The factories are generally better at giving you want you want if you send a 3D mock up or illustration.

– They are often very good at the cardboard engineering stage but not so much on the creative side.

– The factories can improve as with any working relationship with the more work you send them.

Weather can affect how and when your packaging may arrive.

– The Chinese factories can damage the packaging during ‘packing’ if they are rushed. Try not to rush them if you can help it.

– When supplying artwork, leave nothing to the imagination.

6 ) How long will it take to see your design once it is printed and shipped from a Chinese factory?

When having packaging printed In China, I have often seen a sample come back within one month, they can be very quick! Occasionally 3 months, depending on the weather, suppliers workload and method of transportation.

Shipping from China!
Shipping from China!

7 ) How to get packaging printed in China | The realities

When it is good it’s great and you will generally save money. When it isn’t great, as with some things in life, it can be a complete nightmare!

Working with new suppliers can be the most problematic as neither of you are familiar with working with each other, you don’t know each others strengths, habits, communication etc.

One of my mistakes when working with a new Chinese supplier is ‘assuming’ – assume NOTHING. Below are some assumptions to avoid based on past experience.

– Point 1 – Don’t assume that they know what is in your head.
– Neither should you assume that a single colour should go all the way around the packaging eg – if you leave white bits on the fold … they will print it as is.
– Don’t assume that they will offer the same level of service twice, they may be busy or rushed – or just – won’t offer it for some unknown reason.
– And don’t assume that the factory understands what is to be made when you supply the artwork. You need to make sure what you want is as clear and as transparent as possible – in the end, if you are the designer, or manufacturer, the buck ends with you.

Make it easy and clear, and talk about everything you can. Don’t assume their knowledge.

Get it right you will have a great piece of packaging. Get the communications wrong and you will be in for a whole load of pain.

8) Great reasons for having your work made In China

I feel that I have covered many of the perks scattered through the post but it may be easier to bullet point why it is a good idea to have your packaging and product created in China in a quick to scan list.

– Getting work printed In China or overseas is often cheaper than getting work printed in western countries such as the UK or United States
– There is an abundance of suppliers of products and packaging manufactures on websites such as Alibaba
– It’s easy and quick to get wholesale and bulk quotes for your product
– Using a factory in China will help you save money if you are looking to reduce overheads.

9 ) The ‘challenges’ with getting things printed in China

For its many perks and plus points for getting packaging and products printed in China it also comes with its shortcomings and challenges. I have listed a couple of points below based on first-hand experience and industry observations.

Copyright theft: the factories are notorious for stealing and selling your product ideas as their own. Not every factory is like this, but it is not uncommon. I have witnessed Chinese factories use my previous employer’s artwork and pass onto a competitor. There are other random knock off’s I have stumbled upon ranging from copies of renown books, bad copies of Hollywood films etc.

Stealing Kickstarter’s: I have seen factories steal Kickstarter campaigns and undercut the creators. Worse, the factories release their copy to the retail market before true creators have made it themselves. Sad stories really.

The decrease in quality: This isn’t something that always happens but on occasions, the suppliers I have worked with would do little things like: use less glue, ship scuffed or damaged work, rush on the packaging if you have blisters inside your box etc.

I also think this was a case of reducing expenses and overheads, but that is only my opinion.

As with anything, there are always challenges that can come when producing products. I have also worked with printers in the UK which have ignored specifics such as bleed and just printed it as is. Although one bonus as with most things online, is that you can check reviews

Getting packaging and artwork printed in China

Thank you for reading this post on how to get packaging and artwork printed in China. If you would like to know more about getting your work printed feel free to get in touch or view this post about packaging design

I have over 10 years commercial design experience and over 8.4/5 years working with retail design and producing packing through the Chinese factories.

You may wish to read more on :

How I designed a novelty flash drive product
Packaging Design
Creating a Killer Kickstarter Page
How to have your brand tell a story

How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet for beginners

The best way to draw on a computer is by using a Stylus and Graphics Tablet with an art creation program. As a beginner, you may draw with a mouse but this can a bit tricky to use. For more information on how to create digital artwork on the computer, read on! – “creating digital artwork on a computer”

How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet for beginners

This tutorial will outline some of the basic and professional ways in which you can draw on your computer or smartphone. If you don’t have a drawing tablet or stylus, or a large budget there are other low-cost ways to start creating digital art – even as novice or ‘newb’.

Create Digital Artwork
Tablet & Stylus

Beginner – drawing on your computer and creating digital art

Drawing on a computer can be more straight forward than you think. I started out using a regular old rubber ball mouse and Microsoft Paint when I was a child – long before a Stylus and tablet came into my life.

So, the absolute bare essentials for drawing and creating digital art for your computer are as follows :

– A regular old mouse
– A keyboard
– A computer
– A graphics program (digital art software)

Should be noted… it doesn’t have to be an Apple mouse. Maybe something from the 80’s?

Is creating digital art easy?

Yes and no, getting started with creating digital art can be very easy and low cost. Getting to a stage where you could call yourself a professional artist takes time and years of practice. The best way of getting started with creating digital art is by downloading graphics software and get practicing to improve your digital drawing techniques.

I wish I could find my very first digital drawing, it was created on a Windows 3.2 in the era of the awesome floppy disk – you can read a bit about me here.

What digital art software should I use?

There are so many to pick from, but for the sake of just creating something you can call ‘digital art’, begin with something you may already have, MS Paint In Windows. by delving into Paint, select a colour and away you go!

Gimp Icon
Gimp Logo

There are other art programs out there that are also free such as Gimp and Krita. I have personally never used Krita but the results on the website show what it is capable of and it has also been given a recommendation from a reputable digital art magazine IFX (Link(. This magazine is dedicated to creating fantasy, digital and traditional artwork.

Advanced digital artwork software

As both a designer and digital artist, I use 2 main programs to create my art and design work, these programs being: Abobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Illustrator often gives a very clean cut appearance that you may see in books, posters, lifestyle magazines etc – this is called ‘vector art’.

Adobe Photoshop is a versatile piece of software that behaves like a drawing and painting tool and offers an intuitive workflow. The example below shows the two different program styles and what they can create. This is just an example created by me – Jimmsdesign.

Vector Art and raster art example - how to draw digitally. Painted, flat, vector.
style examples, Photoshop Vs Illustrator

It should be noted that these programs can both be tricky to master and you may be more drawn to one that the other. You can get a free trial or purchase a subscription to use the software by going to Adobe Creative Cloud (link) and downloading it. If you are just starting out on your journey to becoming a digital artist or illustrator, I would test a free program first.

What type of graphic artist or designer do you want to be?

As budding digital artist, designer, illustrator or painter what sort of outcomes are you looking to achieve? If you are unsure and just trying your hand at creating digital art on a computer that is fine a starter step.

Here is what may suit you more if…

Adobe Illustrator may suit you more if you want to become a designer or a clean cut vector artist. The way a vector drawing behaves inside a program is a quite a different to raster art program such as Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop is great If you are wanting to work as a traditional illustrator, digital painter, game artist etc.

There are thousands of examples of digital artists on social media with websites and professional blogs. Some to mention : Behance, imagine FX, Artstation. Design Week are filled with a colossal range of talented designers and artists.

Imagine FX Magazine
Artwork Copyright Future Publishing – Imagine FX – Source – wikipedia

This person here is a terrific vector artist and designer – Vicky Doodles

What equipment to use for drawing on a computer?

Very old computer mouse for drawing on a computer!
If you are actually drawing on a computer with these legendary relics… Kudos to you. Image Source – Wikpedia

Using a mouse to create digital artwork (beginner)

The humble computer mouse has been around for decades and is often the first got and very basic tool for drawing on a computer. You can still use a mouse be it a optic or USB (these still around?) to create digital art in MS Paint, Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop or any other 2D graphics software.

Using a computer mouse when trying to draw onto a computer is fairly simple. It is often a case of selecting a colour, a brush shape and size and drawing around the white space. As I already mentioned, I can recall using paint has far back as Win 3.2 back in the early 90’s. the left mouse button and start applying pixels or digital paint.

A computer mouse in action | digital drawing

This example shows the end result of some digital artwork created using a mouse in Photoshop. It’s a bit trickier to use although it’s not bad for straight lines!

Drawing with a mouse! Visual example
Drawing with a mouse! (An Apple Smart Mouse)

I would advise moving on from a computer mouse at some stage if you are thinking of getting serious with drawing on a computer, be it for graphic design, illustration or your own sanity.

If you are thinking of spending many hours drawing and creating digital artwork, using a different input will save on potential wrist ache also.

Using a stylus and graphics tablet to create artwork (beginner + intermediate)

The day I plugged in a Wacom graphics tablet was the day I changed the way I created digital artwork on a computer. Using a drawing or graphics tablet can make the experience of creating artwork on a computer much more organic.

Below is an example of me sketching something in Photoshop using a Stylus, Tablet. It’s quicker, smoother and much more human way for creating a drawing, or in this example a black line sketch.

Drawing with Stylus and Tablet example
Drawing with Stylus and Tablet. Handles, curves and waves and is much easy to flow with

Reasons why a stylus and tablet are great options for drawing on a computer

– It will offer a greater level of control when trying to draw on a computer – when you get used to it.
– It will offer a better work flow.
– It may reduce wrist strain when drawing
– The stylus and pen often come with pressure sensitivity, allowing for a greater level for control and hopefully moving you closer to the digital artwork you want to create.
– Short cut commands can be added to the drawing tablet to speed up the work flow.

Once I started using a tablet after a couple of days it became second nature to me.

Drawing Tablet Equipment
Tablet as shown in top of post

How long does it take to learn how to draw with Wacom drawing tablet?

When drawing with a Stylus and Wacom tablet it can take as little as 1 hour to start creating digital artwork.

I tried an experiment on a friend to see if he could use the drawing tablet… he found it strange at first but quickly got used drawing on a Wacom Tablet (Intuos Pro).
It should also be added that he is neither an illustrator or an designer, or a somebody who can use Photoshop! Within 1 hour, he was drawing! That is how quick you could pick it up, although what who drew on the day wouldn’t look amiss from something a 7 year old would bring home – that is beside the point.

He could use the tech.

Have the drawing technology won’t make you a digital artist overnight. It takes time.

A Cintiq allows you to draw straight onto a computer screen

Cintiq display, used to create digital drawings and artwork
Cintiq Display – draw straight onto it

Using a Cintiq removes the disorientation of drawing from a Tablet to screen, you can work straight onto the display using your drawing stylus. You will create the graphic art you want sooner but it is a higher price point as this technology is generally more expensive.

A Cintiq is one the best tools to create professional digital art on a computer. It acts just like pen paper offering great results without technological limitations.

My professional use of Cintiqs is very limited due to it’s price and being satisfied with Bamboo (now Wacom Intuos Pro) tablet. Cintiqs are great quality and are top of the range pieces of equipment. If you are a beginner I would recommend starting with one of the cheaper tablets first.

This video, shows a Cintiq in action. This is not me by the way.

How to draw on Smart tablets and Smartphones

In recent years technology has come a very long way for digital artist’s, designers and illustrators. We are no longer confined to just drawing onto a computer, we can now create artwork on the go with smartphone and stylus.

Tablet artwork
This artwork was not created by myself.

David Hockney has created artwork on his tablet (iPad) and exhibited it without limitations or reduction to the quality of his style. The only observation I have made is that the edges if the pixel perfect brush strokes is that they have a slight spongy and blurry feel, but that could be due to the scaling up of the artwork from a tablet or phone – a smaller screen blow up big can reduce image quality.

You can read a bit more about his David Hockney artwork here :

You can now create digital artwork from your Samsung, Iphone, Ipad, or most ‘Smarttech’ which is available online.

Drawing on a tablet or a Smartphone using stylus can be and low cost way of trying your hand at digital drawing or painting. This the equipment you will need to draw on a Smartphone or Digital tablet :

– A Smartphone or Tablet
– Drawing or graphics software download onto your phone or tablet. You can look on the app store or Google play to find an application that suits your phone or spec.
– A tablet or smartphone stylus.

It should be noted that I have used a Wacom Bamboo Stylus Mini to create artwork on my phone just for doodling. It’s light, small and convenient. But gave me personally ‘meh’ results.

Bamboo Mini Stylus - draw on Smartphone or tablet

Summary | how to draw on a computer using a Stylus and Tablet.

If you skipped the the basics on how to create digital artwork on your computer this how to do it simple steps.

1) Buy a stylus and drawing tablet of your choice.
2) Install the hardware on your computer.
3) Check the drivers are up to date – calibrate the software to your computer
4 )Download a graphics program such as Photoshop or one of free applications mentioned previously.
5) Open the software.
6) Start creating digital art!

Summary | how to draw on a computer using a Mouse (PC) in quick steps

1) Check your mouse is installed
2) Open the relevant art program such as (MS paint) or if you have something better – great!
3 )Voila! Start creating your masterpiece.

Credits – All the best with your digital art journey and creating digital awesomeness on your computer.

Thank you for reading, hopefully this post has given you some insight into how to create digital artwork and an idea of tools you can use to draw onto a computer.

If you would like any professional assistance please feel free to contact me on my website.

You may be also interested in reading this :
Handling black in print
Creating artwork for game
Reducing Banding in Photoshop
https://blog.jimmsdesign.co.uk/how-to-create-a-stem-game-or-e-learning-application/

How we created a killer Kickstarter page quickly and on a tight marketing budget – in steps!

This post covers how we planned, created and constructed a Kickstarter page down to the intricate details with a demanding deadline! We wanted to create a page that would both captivate prospective backers and sell a product… with all this in mind, we set about to create a Kickstarter page design quickly.

The crowdfunding page is a final hurdle, the last and important bastion of your project which shouldn’t be ignored.

Kickstarter Logo

How to create a killer Kickstarter page

As you may or may not be aware, creating A Kickstarter isn’t a small undertaking. There are many contributing factors that can influence the success of your campaign, these can range from: the product you are trying promote, the size of your audience, your marketing, page design, your authenticity – the design of the page is a single element of a much larger project. There is no absolute rules to designing your page, Although I have listed some key elements you should certainly consider.

Kickstarter Page | Basic Design Steps

The General Outlay Of A Kickstarter Page Template

  1. Introduce the product / campaign

    At the top of your page, you should place your product or item you are trying to promote. It will be the first thing a potential backer will see. Take this into consideration.

  2. What is the campaign about

    Introduce what your campaign is about and why they (the backer) should back you. You could also consider a talking a bit about yourself here.

  3. Product Contents

    Break down the campaign or product down into details. The KS crowd love to know about what they are backing. For example if you are making a game you could place some of the individuals characters or miniatures.

  4. Key Information

    it is a good idea to break down reward tiers, shipping, when etc so Backers know the details of what happens when they back you what they get at the end of the Kickstarter campaign. Remember to keep it simple to skim.

  5. Trust

    Can you make your product? Do you have experience? Are you passionate about it. Build trust with your campaign.

    Also, place the emphasis on how it will help a backer if they offer their money. Don’t focus on you too much.

    Look at the visual template below on how to Structure a Kickstarter Page design. This is your pitch remember!

Rough diagram for creating a Kickstarter page
Rough diagram for creating a Kickstarter page (feel free to share)

This post focuses on the page design, being a designer this was my largest part in creating project.

HOW TO START YOUR PAGE DESIGN

Plan your page design

If you are well underway with creating a Kickstarter or a crowdfunding project, then you are probably fully aware of how much you have on your plate. You may considering, the video, the hero header, details etc but, have you considered the actual ‘content’ on your page once you have potential backer? Consider what you are saying.

Research and ‘rough out’ your Kickstarter page

You shouldn’t just jump into your graphics package and start making pretty things. Before getting stuck into the details of your Kickstarter it would wise to look at other successful campaigns and inspect what cool elements they have on their pages. When we created pages, we did a lot of research and studied a lot of successful page designs. You shouldn’t copy, but it is worth looking at the best bits of campaigns to see what they are doing right – especially if they are promoting a similar product.

Now, start designing your page

If you have an idea of how you want your page to behave or act now could be a time to move onto your graphic design. A Kickstarter page is not only about creating a fancy theme, it needs to have easy to read content packed with relevant and interesting information about your campaign and product. Sell your campaign and show how it’s a must have for your backers.

Keep it clear and concise

You need to keep your page easy to navigate and perfect for those with a 2 second attention span. The backer should be able to skim the content easily and pick out the useful data. Such as ; what the product is, rewards and when you are intending to manufacture the game.

Make the rewards stand out

Web users are impatient. Make the rewards easy to find in the body of your page and make them look exciting! You want to grab a potential buyers attention and drive them to make a call to action. In other words – ‘back your campaign’ – now!

Be authentic

The crowdfunding community can sniff out anything that is a little bit off with your campaign – it’s like blood to a shark, you don’t want sharks swimming around you I’m sure.

Be as honest and as open as possible. You should be clear and open with your backers, you want them to trust you! Using rendered images, fluffy ‘Maybe’ language, or concealing parts of the project will only arouse suspicion when at this delicate stage you want to win trust.

Tell a story

Who are you and why are you doing a Crowdfunding campaign? Don’t be afraid to create a story about why you want funding and why others should feel as passionate about your campaign.

Validation

To convince a backer that you are able to fulfill your demand, you will need to make sure you cover a few areas on your page design. Eg.

– Do you have previous experience in what you are trying to create?
– How many years experience do you have?
– Do you have a trusted supplier?

You don’t have to focus on all the fears of your project, but mentioning a couple can add an extra layer of sincerity.

Make it VERY interesting

Keep your page interesting, you want to hold the backers attention for as long as possible. Writing line after line of text about your campaign is too much, you are expecting too much from the backer.

You need to break up the information and make it easy to skim. Vary the page by including diagrams, illustrations, photo’s, animations, videos, timelines and any other element that could stimulate the reader. This is about designing your content and how you intend for it to be read. Make it great for ‘them’ not you.

Don’t be boring!

A killer Kickstarter page design isn’t a guarantee

With all of this excitement about creating a killer Kickstarter page getting you bouncing with joy, I feel it is only responsible for me to say this

A killer Kickstrarter page doesn’t guarantee success.

The page design is a slice of a very big crowdfunding project cake, an important slice, but not the only part.

The page design is important but it is useless If you are creating with no audience to see it…

But don’t scrimp on the page design either

The crowdfunding page is an import stage to the campaign, don’t neglect it. The page design is your last port of call – a landing page – to convert a speculate backer into your product champion!

That was a guideline that will hopefully fast track your page design

The pages I designed came from study and collaboration and a little extra sauce. Below outlays my involvement in the creating the Kickstarter.

Guess poo, was a parody game about ‘guessing’ what poo your opposing player has. You can read more on my crowdfunding design services here >

The Characters – the characters were an important part of game, this is where I could go to town on creating characters that would capture the infantile fun and playful nature of Guess Poo. The Character Illustrations are a composite drawing created by me using a pen and Adobe Illustrator.

Guess Poo character vector art for crowdfunding page
Poo characters created by me

Time Line – a pooing timeline, how could I resist. A game about poo, it would have to be a sewage pipe. Pipeline

Vector graphics of kickstarter page
The Time + the top of the Kickstarter Page
character design
Lovely…

Video intro, placed at the start of the video on the Kickstarter Page.

Did you know?

That you can integrate your campaign with Google analytics and see how many visits the page is getting? I would recommend doing it, it will show you the peaks times for you campaign.

That is all on how to design a Kickstarter page, quickly and on a shoe string budget.

Thank you for reading, if you would like help with you campaign or design project feel free to get in touch.


You may wish to read how we created a successful game or look at my design services.