Let's Get Technical

5 Recurring Dieline Scenarios In The World of CPG That Might Make You Nervous


Adam Steinberg


Speed to market is key in this day and age. The ability to introduce new CPG products on a short timeline enables brands to ride the waves of viral trends and to keep up with the latest consumer preferences that seem to proliferate and evolve faster than ever these days. As CPG companies move to “microsegment” consumers to address their proliferation of wants and needs this has naturally led to “an ever-expanding array of sub-brands, product extensions and new SKUs, each which requires its own packaging”

If you’re responsible for the design and packaging processes that convert your teams’ creative vision into a physical product then you know that dielines play a critical role. Dielines act as a translator between you and your printer to ensure you both are speaking the language so it’s understandable if they make you nervous. 

This article lays out 5 dieline scenarios that you should be prepared for:

Applying brand assets to a new CPG SKU 

Creating an entirely new product is the most complex dieline use-case. You don’t have executed dielines from an existing SKU to guide you and get you started. You’re effectively staring at a blank page. You need to assess, adjust and apply your creative assets to printer-supplied dielines while taking layout, legibility, hierarchy, and print performance into account. For this, it would be a wise decision to lean on a team of production design experts like KitPrint that can see around corners and avoid common production design pitfalls before you have to backtrack and delay your launch timeline. 

New beer brand

Product line extensions

Product line extensions are sneaky. It’s easy to get yourself into a situation where you commit to a launch deadline only to realize your team needs more time. On the surface it seems like just a few tweaks to the original design will get you print-ready when in reality it’s not uncommon for product line extensions to get complicated. After all, the goal of a product line extension is to differentiate your new SKU from your existing SKUs so you can attract new customers, generate more revenue and/or capture more margin. Differentiation means new design aspects. New design aspects means more production design work to ensure proper printing. 

Coca Cola product line extension

Dieline application validation & modification

If you have a creative designer that likes to take a pass at applying his or her designs to the dielines provided by your designated packaging vendor/printer prior to sending to your production design resource, that’s great! However, if this is going to be part of your process (as opposed to immediately handing designs off to production design experts) we recommend that you build 2-3 days into your timeline for production design. In our experience, unless your creative designer is heavily experienced with production design, the odds that issues with color separation, overprint, rasters or other notations come up that need to be addressed by your production design experts are fairly high. 

Dieline application

Printer-requested layout revisions

You have a launch deadline that you have committed to. Designs are finalized. Everyone on the team is psyched about the concept. Your designer applied his or her designs to the new products’ designated dielines and sent the files over to your printer or packaging supplier. Everything appears to be on track, even ahead of schedule. And then…..all hell breaks loose. Your packaging supplier sends an email with a hefty list of file issues that need to be addressed in order for your designs to be print-ready. It could take your designer multiple days to get everything fixed. You now have to make a tough decision: extend the launch deadline or make some quick fixes to dielines to stay on track that will force you to make some concessions from a design perspective. 

We hate to see our clients in this position. Take the dieline work off your designer’s plate, outsource the technical work to the experts, and keep your launch deadline commitments

Printer-requested revisions create chaos

Sales & marketing materials

While deep in the weeds of the product development lifecycle it’s easy for launch-support materials to fall by the wayside. Sales sheets and POS materials are often easy and straightforward from a production design perspective. You can usually push them off until the last few days before launch without any hiccups. However, once in a while, a particular design requires more production design finesse. Give yourself a few more days than you think are needed and you’ll be setting yourself up for success. 

Point-of-sale displays


Dielines are a crucial component of the toolbox that’s required to bring creative concepts into the physical world. They can also be the underlying reason why deadlines get missed and goals get stress-tested. De-risk your product roadmap. Outsource your dieline work to production design specialists like KitPrint.