5 Tips for Designing a Good Tech pack
As an established fashion business, you already know the importance of a tech pack. You know that they can save you time, money and eliminate unnecessary and time-consuming errors in the process.
But did you know that around 90% of designers and business owners send incomplete or incorrect tech packs when requesting a manufacturing quote?
As a fast-growing brand, by definition, your product line has needed to grow successfully, but also quickly. You’ve likely sent hundreds, if not, thousands of tech packs and encountered many of the inherent problems associated with them.
By experiencing the bumps in the road, you know that implementing the right strategy for new products ensures long-term growth, higher profit margins, and dramatically improves manufacturing efficiency.
While technology like SupplyCompass makes it easy to undertake collaborative production with suppliers around the globe, the tech pack is still a vital element of the process to ensure that you and your manufacturer have matching expectations.
In this article, we will shine more light on tech packs, why they are important, for brands of all sizes and tips for designing them effectively.
Back to Basics: What Is a Traditional Tech Pack and What is the purpose?
If your producing products (new or old) with a manufacturer it’s important that your new factory partner knows exactly what you want from the product. Getting the fundamentals right is critical and many reputable clothing factories may refuse to take your order without the inclusion of a detailed and accurate tech pack.
Tech packs—sometimes referred to as technical specifications, specification packs, spec packs, bills of material, or even garment worksheets (GWS)— are created by fashion designers.
A tech pack is a blueprint or spec sheet to get your design ideas translated into a finished product—an instructional manual containing detailed steps, materials, and information required to bring your apparel ideas to life.
Typically, tech packs contain the following information:
- Bill of Materials
- Design Files
Designing a Tech Pack
Creating and sending your manufacturer the right tech pack with detailed specifications reduces the time spent on the product creation process. It makes it easy for manufacturers to interpret your ideas.
In this section, we will discuss designing tech packs in greater detail and how you can design one for your next purchase, even as a seasoned fashion brand.
Sketches and Descriptions
When designing a tech pack, you should start with a black and white flat sketch that clearly shows the back, front, side, and inside view of the garment design. Your tech pack sketches should consist of all the necessary details from stitching, construction methods, to placement.
The more detail you can give the better – just make sure it is consistent and the information matches across all sketches. Where you have inconsistencies is where problems will stem from.
Depending on your understanding of technology, you may decide to create digitized tech packs using layers in Adobe Illustrator. Remember, when creating your tech pack sketch, make it simple, well-detailed, and void of any colour.
Highlight Your Moodboard and Inspiration
Sometimes referred to as a style board, a mood board is an open canvas allowing you to showcase the style of your brand. Under the style board and inspiration section, you can include images, thoughts, and existing patterns that inspired you to create the original idea.
Typically, this should include patterns, images, cut, and any design that best explains your current design vision.
More importantly, you should include comments, arrows, and other indicators to clearly explain your style vision to the manufacturer. Adding comments is a good way to communicate your design idea to the manufacturer in an easy-to-understand way.
Sharing Moodboards before your Tech packs using Collaborative Production Software can help your manufacturer understand the feel of what you want and help the two parties to design collaboratively. You can share far more through the design process and make the producibility of a product far easier.
Fabric Placement and Construction Details
This section highlights the arrangement of the garment structure. It typically consists of construction drawings with an inclusion of the seam type, width, allowance, and stitches per inch of the operation.
When designing your fabric placement, you should employ the use of colour keys to mark the pattern or type of fabric to be placed in certain areas.
For example, you can use stripes to signal a particular fabric and dots for another. The most important thing is to clearly write in your side note these special indicators to alert your clothing manufacturer during the production process.
The colourway page is a section within a tech pack that highlights the various colours to be used in the garment design. With so many style variations now being used across a single style, putting your information down in a coherent fashion is particularly important.
Make sure to reference all colours accurately with Pantone Reference colours for your specific range.
If you also have patterns on your apparel then you may choose to have pattern colourways in here too.
A Detailed Bill of Material (BOM)
Sometimes referred to as a material list, a BOM is a list of all the physical elements and their positions in the garment.
In clearer terms, the bill of material is a page that highlights the entire details regarding the fabrics required for your garment design including shell, lining, pockets, fasteners, and labels.
Typically, the bill of the material page includes five main sections:
The position-specific fabrics are to be added to the garment.
Any additional information regarding the garment design, use of material, and construction information.
Be sure to include the fabric type, weight or thickness, and identification number.. One trick is to reference a similar material or fabric design already in the market. However, ensure that both fabrics are of similar quality and texture.
Include information about the person or company responsible for supplying the fabrics.
With many colours having hundreds of shades, it is important that you thoroughly research the colours needed for your design. An easy trick is including the specific colour number of each of the colours included in your colourway page.
Why Tech Packs Are a Must-Have to Create Any Fashion Product
Tech packs are critical for assuring the following:
Designing detailed and easy-to-read tech packs improves the chances of your manufacturer getting the right samples for your design the first time.
Time and Money:
The more time it takes the manufacturer to interpret your tech packs, the more delay in getting your product to the market. Designing a comprehensive tech pack eliminates the issue of wrong samples, higher sample logistics, and high product development costs. A good tech pack makes the product creation process faster and easier to understand for all parties involved in the process.
If the factory or manufacturer makes some changes or omits certain aspects of the design, you can always refer back to the tech pack and point out their errors.
Accurate Price Quotes:
The clearer your tech pack is, the easier it is for your manufacturer to give you accurate price estimations. Additionally, sending the right tech pack with all the relevant information added makes it easy for your manufacturer to gauge how much time it will take to create your design.
Track Change Request:
Every seasoned fashion designer knows that, no matter how perfect your tech pack is, there are bound to be multiple changes required to achieve that perfect sample. During sample reviews, you will have to request several changes to the design. You will have to track these changes to find out what was done and what needs to be done. Working with a tech pack helps you track and organize these changes across sample reviews.
How to Make a Tech Pack?
In the past, Microsoft Excel was the go-to tech pack creation tool but it is extremely clunky and static.
Fashion Designers now have a huge range of online tools to choose from. Some are stand-alone tools specifically for only making tech packs whereas other more sophisticated tools (such as SupplyCompass) embed Tech Pack creation in Software which enhances collaboration through the production process for brands and their manufacturers.
Tech packs will always be the lifeblood of any design creation process. Working without dedicated tech packs for your designs is like building a house without a blueprint. The above tips are sure to guide you when creating a tech pack for your next design production process.
Gus is CEO of SupplyCompass. He is responsible for driving sustainable growth across the business. He believes that we now live in a world of connected and conscious commerce and that brands and manufacturers are grossly underserved by their current tech stack to change the way they work for the better. He is building SupplyCompass to help brands and manufacturers collaborate more effectively from design through to delivery and embed sustainable practices into their everyday operations.
SupplyCompass is a Collaborative Production Platform for Fashion that brand builders, production teams and their manufacturers use to collaborate on product from moodboard to delivery.
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