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Your Guide to the Ideal Packaging Artwork Approval Process

December 13, 2019

Have you heard of the bystander effect?

Let’s imagine there are 6 approvers given the responsibility to sign off on your artwork in two weeks. 

  • Approver A glances at the whole artwork bit, does it once again and thinks “I’ve got the rest of the folks looking at this. If I’m missing something, I’m sure they’ll catch it.”
  • Approver B adopts the same approach and approves the file. And so do Approver C and D.
  • When the artwork reaches Approver E and F, they’re under the impression that the file has undergone strict scrutiny by the first 4 in the group and sign off on it thinking the artwork is completely error-free at this point.

More eyes do not mean more vigilance. 

If anything, in this case, it dilutes accountability where everyone in the project just assumes the other one must have done his share of scrutiny and so basically everyone ends up being just a bystander having contributed absolutely nothing to the task.

Divide responsibilities ‘per square inch’ of the artwork

Image Courtesy:


Get each member to take ownership of specific part of an artwork. The idea is that whenever you ask questions like “Who do I reach out to re-check the nutrition panel labeling?” or “How do I know that we’ve covered all the declarations in the artwork?” – you should be knowing whom to contact in under 10 seconds. And the person whom you’re contacting should have these answers on his fingertips. That’s the level of precision that becomes the gold standard for approval workflow efficiency. 

The flow might appear linear but the challenge lies in not missing a step when the artwork request is broken into multiple workflows based on SKU or components.

An end-to-end artwork approval process typically starts with someone raising a request for an artwork and ends with the approval of the vendor proofs. The below flowchart illustrates a typical artwork approval process.

In a series of blog posts, we will explore the different stages of an artwork approval workflow and discuss best practices in implementing them for your organization.

For all intents and purposes, we’ll be using the following example to illustrate the artwork approval process

A company launches 3 flavors of juice (Grapefruit, Cranberry and Orange) to be sold in 2 bottle sizes (4 fl oz and 8 fl oz). Each SKU has 3 artwork components (front label, back label and cap). So the launch consists of 6 SKUs and 18 artwork components.


When you’ve been able to answer with sparkling clarity the who, what, when, where and why of each element of the artwork and its subsequent allocation of responsibilities, over 75% of your work is already done. 

With ManageArtworks, you become

less people-dependent and 

more process-dependent. Period.

Contact Us to know how!




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