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How to create a packaging with a transparent window [graphic tutorial]

You probably already know that you can improve your foil pouch - stand up or flat - with a transparent window.

It is a creative and original way to show consumers what’s inside the package ... whether it is pasta, cereals, candies or whatever. In short: the window with a customizable shape and size, can interact with the packaging graphics to tell something more about the product!

In today's tutorial we explain how to create the right graphic file to print your flexible packaging with a transparent window!

5 steps to create a window in your flexible packaging

Adding a window to your packaging can look like a hard work. Honestly it only requires a little attention and a few simple operations.

Before we get started here are some notes:

  • In the following tutorial we use Adobe Illustrator. However, the approach to the different steps is the same for any vector graphics program.
  • When you place an order on Packstyle you can download the graphic template to create the window.

Are you ready? Let's start working on the graphics!

Move number 1: in the “Artwork” level let’s place the graphics with the shape of the  window

Open the template with a graphic processing program, in our case we will use Adobe Illustrator.

The file you see has several layers. The first level you will need is the "Artwork" level in which you should place the graphics you choose for your bag. In the graphics there will also be the shape of the window. Important: the window shape must be white.

Move number 2: let’s create a new layer and copy the window outline

The second step is to create a new layer: this layer has to be named “white” and it has to be placed above the “Artwork” layer.

Have you done? Well. Now in this “white” layer you have to place a copy of the shape of the window that you have in the “Artwork” layer. Just select the outline in the “Artwork” layer, click on Edit> Copy, move to the “White” layer and click on Edit> Paste in the same position.




Move number 3: let’s fill the “white” layer with a rectangular path

At this point, select the rectangle tool and inside the "white" layer create a rectangle that covers the entire surface of the bag. Important, once created you must place the rectangle under the window path and always inside the white layer.

Assign the "white" swatch as in the swatch library to fill this rectangle.




If you have done everything correctly, you should get a blue (cyan) bag and the white path with the window outline visible above.

Move number 4: let’s join the two paths to create a single path with the hole for the window

Now select the two elements in the “white” layer - the white outline and the cyan colored rectangle - and from the Pathfinder panel select Minus Front, as you can see in the video.

If you did this correctly, you will now have a single cyan path with a hole in the shape of the window.

Last very important operation before saving: select the path you just created and from the Attributes panel enable only the Overprint option.




Move number five: let’s save the file in PDF format

Now, without deleting anything (if you use Illustrator, otherwise delete all layers except “Artwork” and “white”), save the file as a PDF.

After assigning the name and clicking Save, a window with advanced options will appear.

Here keep the Illustrator default settings and check that the options Preserve Illustrator Editing Capability and especially Create Acrobat Layers from Top Layers are selected. Illustrator will take care of removing all unnecessary layers for printing and will create a PDF ready for our processes.

Our graphic file is complete!




The sense behind the creation of the graphic file

Now that we have seen how to create the right file to print a window bag in 5 steps, we will explain the sense behind this type of graphic processing.

First of all window bags are created with a transparent material, film. The idea is therefore to make this material opaque - that is, non-transparent - in all parts of the bag where there is no window.

Thanks to the file we have set, Packstyle machines will then first print the white in all areas of the file covered by the cyan path (those in the “white” layer) leaving aside the window outline. On top of this first “coat of white”, the printers will then apply your custom graphics.

So when you open the PDF file you created, you will find a completely cyan file with the window… don't worry: it's all normal! Thanks to the overprint option and the tint that we have set, the Packstyle software will use the "white" layer to suggest to the machine where to print the white and then print the graphics contained in the "Artwork" layer overlapping.

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