Legal and Regulatory Issues

Packaging design must conform to any relevant government legislation and regulatory standards. The countries, states, and regions in which the product is manufactured, packaged, transported, and sold, and to which it is exported or imported, may all have their own laws and regulations pertaining to packaging design. Product labeling, including ingredients, nutritional information, product claims, and bar codes; specific structural and material compliance; and brand logo and/or trademark registry are among the legal issues of concern to packaging designers.

The client is ultimately responsible for all legal and regulatory issues; however, the designer must be knowledgeable about them and able to ensure that all legal requirements as they relate to a packaging design assignment have been met.

Legal requirements serve to

  • ensure that the product contents are represented clearly and truthfully,
  • provide protection for the contents under normal conditions (from handling and distribution to retail and use),
  • ensure that the packaging is constructed with materials that will not have an adverse effect on the product,
  • promote consideration of the environment,
  • support the communication of the product contents, and
  • protect the consumer from false claims.

Running afoul of such guidelines can be a serious matter with legal ramifications, so no packaging design should go to market before a legal authority approves the final design. Local, state, federal, and global ...

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