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September 6, 2022
April 4, 2024

16 Best Packaging Design Software Designers Need To Know

Mrignayni Pandey

16 Best Packaging Design Software Designers Need To Know

September 6, 2022
April 4, 2024
Mrignayni Pandey


Package design not only enhances the aesthetics and appearance of your product but also helps influence the purchase decisions of your customers. 

So, you must develop innovative product package designs that stand out from your competitors and entice customers to pick up your product at their nearest store.

But to do that, you'll need to use the right tools and nail your basics. This article will discuss the top packaging design tools and tips to get your product packaging right on point. 

What to look for when purchasing packaging design software?

1. Project goals

Before you set out to integrate packaging design software into your packaging design process, you need to define your project goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of packaging design do you need? 
  • What are the measurements, materials, and printing specifications? 
  • Who is your target audience and how can you convey your message? 
  • How much time and budget do you need for your project? 

2. User-friendly interface

A good packaging design software should have easy-to-use features that simplify creative workflows and collaboration. Ensure the software has good file compatibility for easy sharing of any files and has excellent reviews about its customer support.

3. Pricing 

Once your goals are set, you’ll know which software can meet your packaging design needs considering its pricing model.  

4. Collaboration and feedback

Look for packaging design software that fosters collaboration through features such as commenting, version control, and cloud-based storage. Sharing designs easily with team members or clients and gathering feedback instantly can streamline the design process and ensure everyone is on the same page. 

5. Third-party integration 

Seamless integration allows for smooth data transfer between different applications, reducing manual work and improving efficiency. Look for software that offers integration with popular design programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Best packaging design software for graphic designers 

Here’s a list of top packaging design software graphic designers can use to create packaging designs and manage files easily. 

1. Artwork Flow

Artwork Flow’s intuitive packaging design software helps you collaborate better on packaging creatives with your clients, especially if you're designing creatives for industries bound by compliance and regulatory issues. 

How does Artwork Flow fit into your packaging design checklist?

  1. AI-powered compliance check: Artwork Flow’s ComplyAI flags labeling errors such as logo misplacement, incorrect font, missing flammable warning and address, and more. It ensures that your creative complies with the respected compliance regulations so that you don’t have to scratch your head to send out error free and compliant packaging labels.
  2. Smart proofing and annotation tools: Catch typos and inconsistencies in brand color before you know it. Your client or manager can use annotation tools to directly annotate the design files and seamlessly accept or reject specific parts of the design file sent for review.
  3. Accurate feedback cycle: Once your creatives are sent for review, the tool ensures that feedback doesn't slip through the cracks by collating feedback from multiple stakeholders in the same place. You also get real-time notifications speeding up the review and approval process. 
  4. Centralized asset management: The platform allows you to store multiple creatives and also retrieve them quickly using smart tags, contextual search, and advanced filters. 
  5. Version compare: Iterate easily and compare between two creatives effortlessly using the version compare feature. It also lets you find the right version and track the changes made to the file. 
  6. Print inspection: Compare and find out if your original print design is deviating from the physical by checking color, copy, and barcodes using the print inspection software.
Proof your creatives with ease using an AI-powered platform like Artwork Flow

In short, Artwork Flow gives you an end-to-end solution to inspect and manage multiple packaging creatives with ease. 

Error-free labels with Artwork Flow- Book a demo

2. Adobe Illustrator 

Adobe Illustrator is the most essential and staple tool in every graphic designer’s toolbox when it comes to creating package designs.

It allows you to convert text into vector graphics, enabling you to create lettering and text designs for your product packaging. 

You can also create vector illustrations for your packaging and create 3D mockups for your packages easily. 

Also, Adobe Illustrator has a lot of plugins like Astute Phantasm, which allow you to add taper and gradient to your halftones, which is incredibly useful if you’re creating three-dimensional effects and changing color adjustments every now and then on your 3D package. 

Adobe Illustrator

3. Adobe Photoshop

If your product packaging requires photorealistic image manipulation, Adobe Photoshop is your best choice as it has specific tools and blend modes for this purpose. 

Plus, its broad suite of tools enables you to do everything from creating logos to rendering realistic 3D mockups.  

Adobe Photoshop
Image source: Brandon Shepherd

In short, if you’re looking for a tool that allows you to design all the elements of a package from scratch without switching between platforms, Adobe Photoshop is your answer.

4. Adobe Dimension 

While Adobe Illustrator is good for creating simple 3D Mockups, Adobe Dimension helps you render 3D Mockups of product packages and compose them, saving you the cost of expensive photoshoots. 

Also read: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating the Best Product Packaging Design

It provides you access to default Adobe stock templates to create mockups in just a few steps. Plus, you can add 2D decals and overlay them easily. 

This helps in conveying your ideas to clients and coworkers easily, making this tool one of the best packaging design software out there.

Adobe Dimension
Image source: Adobe

5. Procreate 

Many designers scoff at the thought of Procreate being a part of the designer’s arsenal as it doesn’t support vectors. 

But if you want hand-drawn illustrations and logos to give your brand an artisanal feel, Procreate is your go-to packaging design tool. It offers a wide variety of brushes that help you create diverse textures and designs that attract your audience. 

Once you’re done, you can import the drawing file into Illustrator to complete your mockups.  If you want to scale your design, you can transform it into a vector in Photoshop or Illustrator and use it on your packaging. 

For instance, check out this mockup below where the designer rendered the illustration and logo on Procreate and created a mockup on Illustrator. 

Products created using Procreate
Image Source: Nice Triangles on Reddit

6. Canva

Canva is a designer-friendly web-based tool that is great for beginners who want to create packaging designs for simple shapes.

The platform has a free version and many elements that you can use, but the caveat is that these options are limited, and you can't simply open up a dieline template like in Illustrator and start designing. 

You'll have to manually create Canva designs for every face of the box using Canva's custom dimensions which can be time-consuming and lengthy. 


Canva page
Image source: Fixthephoto

7. CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW isn't the first software for packaging design considered by designers. But it supports many formats and helps you create basic packaging design that only involves adding a few high-resolution images and vectors to simple box shapes. 

Unlike Illustrator, which has a dieline template, you've got to create individual shapes that make up the box and use the Perspective tool to put the packaging together. 

But the same process is much easier on Photoshop and Illustrator as they have the Perspective Warp tool, which automatically warps the design to fit the dimensions of the box.

Image source: CorelDRAW

8. Blender

Blender is a free 3D modeling software used for animations, visual effects, 3D-printed models, motion graphics, virtual reality, and more. You can use its 3D design capabilities to design stunning packaging designs for your tetra pack or cartons. This packaging design software is available on both Windows and macOS.

Source: Reddit

9. Impact 

Impact is a powerful packaging design tool that helps in designing various forms of packaging. Its extensive library of packaging designs helps you get started quickly and create printable layouts and 3D models you can use to make a packaging prototype. 

You can also create 3D visualizations that show what your packaging looks like in various E-commerce stores and compare them with packaging that your competitors use. 

Since Impact is a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tool, it also allows you to get feedback on weight and waste calculations, a feature that most package design tools lack. 


Image source: Impact

10. Myfonts.com 

Myfonts solves a crucial problem for graphic designers — it helps them identify fonts through pictures and track the origin of a particular font so they can use it in their projects. 

Also read: Top Google Fonts for Graphic Designers - Artwork Flow

All they've got to do is take a picture of the font they want to identify and upload it to the platform's "What The Font" Section to find the closest match to the sample you've supplied. 

Once you've found the relevant font, you can download it for free or pay a fee for exclusive subscription fonts.

Image source: What The Font 

Check out our free font finder tool.

11. Boxshot 

Boxshot is your 3D model virtual photo studio. It allows you to visualize your boxes and packing and render them so realistically that viewers confuse them for a snapshot of the product.

The software accomplishes this through a vast assortment of adjustable packaging forms that you can adjust to fit your design. 

The software automatically resizes shapes according to your graphics without any manual intervention. 

If you need more shapes, you can just upload them as Boxshot supports FBX, 3DS, STL, PLY, DXF, OBJ, and Collada (DAE) file formats. 

Alternatively, you can also make the shape you need. Boxshot includes CAD-like shapes that can accomplish practically everything symmetrical: bottles, cans, boxes, containers, and so on.

Image source: Boxshot 

12. ArtiosCAD

ArtiosCAD is a popular structural design program for packaging. It intends to increase efficiency for packaging specialists who handle structural design, product development, virtual prototyping, and production operations.

It enables graphic designers to focus solely on their creativity and create a custom package based on any imported 3D CAD product model. So, you don't have to perform complex calculations to render difficult package shapes. 

Most importantly, it reduces costly workflow errors and allows you to fold your design in 3D to check for discrepancies.

Image source: ArtiosCAD

13. 4PACK

4PACK brings together packaging and artwork management and allows you to get your artwork created and approved faster. 

It streamlines workflows and supplies accurate data on the product and project, which helps you go to market faster, even if you're heavily reliant on external suppliers for even minor changes. 

Additionally, the packaging design software also saves you from the hassle of dealing with reworks and amendments that arise from not following regulatory compliance. 


Also read: 3 Ways Packaging Design Can Help You Go-to-market Faster

14. Strata 

Strata is an ideal packaging design software for visualizing and presenting folded package designs because it's deeply integrated with Photoshop and Illustrator. 

You can create almost any form factor, from drink pouches to chip bags, or purchase pre-made bags and pouches from the Strata Asset Store and simply paste your client's graphics onto the model. Smooth right?

Image source: Strata

For next-generation presentations, you can even set your model in virtual reality to check how your package looks in stores.

If you can't find a container for your specific use case, you can also import any 3D file on Strata. So, if your company or client already has the container modeled, you're set. 

Alternatively, you can also search the Strata Asset Store to see if what you're looking for has already been made by one of their contributors.

15. PrintQ

PrintQ is jam-packed with features for the novice and the professional. While experts can use this packaging design software to render 3D views of the package and download 2D dieline, beginners can easily add images and logos because of the drag-and-drop functionality. 

They can easily place images on flaps, panels, and overlapping corners. When you add an image to an overlapping corner, the software automatically sets the image in the correct position. 

Plus, there's no need to work upside down as the rotating will allow you to change the package orientation quickly. 

In short, PrintQ is a well-rounded packaging design tool that serves experts and beginners equally well. 

Image source: PrintQ

15. Box It Now

Box It Now allows you to work from your desktop or tablet PC and allows you to choose from over 150 industry-standard box styles. This packaging design software includes everything from a regular slotted container to a 6-pack bottle carrier. 

Box It Now
Image source: BoxItNow

You can also choose from folding cartons to corrugated packaging styles, render your package in 3D without printing out a prototype, and share it with anyone in 1 step. 

Also read: Best Creative Packaging Ideas for Your Next Project - Artwork Flow

Pro tips to get your product packaging right

The best way to develop product packaging designs that resonate with your client or company's target audience efficiently is to follow these five tips below. 

1. Create a dieline 

The dieline indicates where your project will be cut or perforated for folding. It's essential for designing packaging, so you set up your project correctly from the start and don't waste time rewriting and retrofitting a design later.

It may take some time at first to create dielines, but you can save them to reuse as a template for future projects.

Image source: Packmojo

2. Use pre-approved templates 

If your customer or printer provides you with templates, use them instead of making your own. Also, get the design within the template pre-approved with the printer as soon as possible. 

This is less about the artwork and more about ensuring that the dieline is correct to save plenty of time. 

3. Try pre-made templates

If you aren't given a template, search for one to serve as a guide to save time. You can also experiment with custom shapes if you have more creative freedom and a timeline for the project. 

Most packaging design software we mentioned above also have this option, so make sure you check all of them out. 

4. Follow the cutter guides

Cutter guides are lines that appear on top of the artwork to indicate where the cutting and creasing lines will appear on it. 

Follow the cutter guides on the artwork
Image source: Freelancer

Designers frequently make mistakes with package design projects by failing to follow where the cutter guides are. 

So, change the color of the cutter guide to something that will stand out even more, such as bright red or blue, to ensure that you can see them in your template.

5. Present your product well 

First impressions are the best impressions. To create spectacular designs that awe your clients, you need to remember a few points that'll help you present your product well. 

  • Create contrast
  • Make your labels readable
  • Pay attention to your font pairings.
  • Add symbols and illustrations
  • Leave enough space, so your design doesn’t look cluttered

Wrapping up

Choosing the right packaging design software helps amplify your packaging design efforts and create spectacular designs that meet your or your client's requirements. 

While tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dimensions aid in creating illustrations, logos, text, and mockups, Artwork Flow is an AI-powered label management software that helps you send out your packaging creatives error free using its powerful proofing, workflow automation, and compliance features. 

This saves a lot of time and energy, improving collaboration between teams and drastically reducing your label approval time.

So, book a free demo right away to see how Artwork Flow can transform the packaging design process in your team. 

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