AstraZeneca invests in Esko Studio to create 3D models of its pharmaceutical packaging

Virtual box design created in Esko Studio.
Virtual box design created in Esko Studio.

It’s well known throughout the packaging industry that time to market is extremely important for any brand owner. If all stakeholders in the chain can review packaging faster, it allows the product to be approved for release sooner. By using Esko Studio, executives at AstraZeneca in Brazil are now able to review virtual 3D models of new packaging quickly developed by its designers. AstraZeneca is a global bio-pharmaceutical company that operates in over 100 countries. Its medicines – focused on therapeutic cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, antibiotics and oncology – are used by millions of patients worldwide. In Brazil, AstraZeneca is also responsible for creating medicine packages with a total annual production capacity of 38 million units. This includes cartridges, blister packs, labels, leaflets and shipping boxes. In fact, 3D packaging is developed for all AstraZeneca medicines sold across the country.

While AstraZeneca creates most of its packaging designs within Adobe Illustrator software, and Adobe InDesign for leaflets and brochures, its designers felt the need to improve the quality of their artwork – particularly for folded boxes. They wanted to offer virtual mock-ups that could show the entire package in 3D, and that could be shared with the company’s internal customers. In the process, they were looking for software that would meet their expectations – generating fast, high quality 3D PDF files without adding considerable complexity to the overall process.

Lígia Arzenares.
Lígia Arzenares.

“We had heard about Esko through packaging events,” said Lígia Arzenares, AstraZeneca Artwork Development Coordinator. “Esko was able to offer Studio, an excellent plugin tool used within Adobe Illustrator. It was what we were looking for: speed and quality, along with an easy way to create 3D artwork. Esko’s team also provided us great service and training.” Esko Studio helped AstraZeneca create virtual 3D folded-box models, which in the past were done manually via paper mock-ups. “Studio has become essential to help us guarantee the quality of work, avoiding surprises in the final product,” she added. “The creation of 3D packaging through Esko Studio is very fast, and it also helped to improve our designers’ productivity.”

AstraZeneca used Studio Toolkit for Boxes to create the structural ARD files, while Studio Designer transformed the graphic designs into 3D. They’re then sent to AstraZeneca’s internal customers to help them better visualize the package with regards to size, shape and how they close – and to make sure that information is printed in line with the company’s Packaging Trademark Manual.

astrazenecaesko4-inOne of the benefits of Esko Studio Designer is that it’s an Illustrator plugin. AstraZeneca was able to work with it within the familiar Adobe Illustrator design package. The other helpful feature is that any company computer with an Adobe PDF Reader is able to view and rotate the 3D artwork. “By creating 3D packaging through an Illustrator plugin, we’ve streamlined the process and added quality that we’re able to deliver to our internal customers,” Arzenares pointed out. “All of our customers are very satisfied with this new way to view packaging, generating faster approvals and powerful art. The company added that it now also creates virtual 3D mock-ups of its promotional materials as well. These consist of photos of packaging produced by its advertising agencies. However, the 3D images generated by Esko Studio are much faster, offer better display quality – and more importantly, they’re also free of agency charges. AstraZeneca in Brazil has also worked with other Esko DeskPack plug-ins, including Dynamic Barcodes.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.