A dieline is the cornerstone of packaging design and serves as a blueprint equivalent for almost all packaging designs. A dieline is usually created by a designer and indicates all the necessary scoring and glueing for any type of package that will be mass produced.

A dieline is made up of three separate lines, a perforation line, a cut line, and a fold line. These lines are indicated in the dieline and as the names suggest, these lines indicated to machines where the machines need to cut and fold. Often times the lines are different colors to avoid confusion.

Aside from the fact that the dieline indicates majors cuts and fold on the packaging design, it also serves as a source for the dimensions of the packaging and the placement of visual graphics such as images, graphics, and text. The dieline also will have all the glue marks, crease indications, and fold lines. All of which will give the box the ability to have a 3D structure once printed. Any additional information will be noted in the dieline including Pantone colors, materials, and embellishments.

Fold and score lines are indicated by a .25pt or .5pt red dashed lines. The actual dielines are indicated by .25pt or .5pt red solid lines. The lines are also given .125 inches of bleed room in order to avoid any misalignment that might present itself during manufacturing.

Creating a dieline starts with measuring the dimensions of the product that is to go inside the packaging design. Consider any structural needs the product may require and note this when choosing packaging material. Once that is done you find a package that is similar to these dimensions and use that as a reference if possible. In other cases creating a dieline can require more professional experience from a packaging agency is needed to create a suitable dieline for more complex products. Once these decisions have been made, a dieline can then be drawn up using a variety of different applications, at Process we typically use Adobe Illustrator but this is by no means the only application one can use to make a dieline for packaging design. Illustrator just happens to be the application we have the most experience and history with.

Once a dieline is created, is always best practice to print it out using regular printer paper and then fold and glue it together in order to identify any unforeseen errors before sending the dielines to the manufacturers. Once those dielines feels comfortable, it can be sent to the manufacturer, along with all reference material that could aid the manufacturing process. From there, a sample round will be made and then sent back to the client after completion for quality control. If there are errors in the dieline, it will significantly push back the timeline for manufacturing dramatically. If the samples look good and a green light is given the production process will be started.

All and all a dieline is the fundamental first step to creating a custom packaging design. Each and every dieline should be treated as a valuable company asset that can be referenced for future to save time with future iterations of packaging.