Complexity Ranking

A Tiered Approach to Cost Estimation

As an expense forecasting tool, the Packaging Complexity Ranking™ was developed to define and differentiate costs associated with specific packaging initiatives.

Overall costs for the design implementation and artwork production of a brand’s line of packaged products are tied to both the number of Pieces of Art (POAs) and the complexity of the form, content and level of partner engagement of the brand’s marketing initiatives. Aesthetic decision and problem solving vary greatly with the complexities of differing brands and initiatives. These variables may be defined and anticipated, to more accurately predict the actual cost per POA and enable a brand to better forecast its packaging expenses. By weighting these variables within our complexity categories, the cost of each POA is accurately ranked with aggregate scoring for each engagement, by individual initiative, entire brand or multiple brands within a category or Global Business Unit (GBU).

A three level production Packaging Complexity Ranking™ (high medium or low) was recommended for each of the following engagements: individual initiative, entire brand, or multiple brands.

When quoting the scope of an engagement, production complexity as well as volume are always considered. Cost variances between brands and initiatives will occur. As expected, an assignment with a low volume of highly complex POAs would see the highest cost per POA. An assignment with a high number of relatively simple POAs would experience a reduction in the cost per POA. Differences may also be seen when assignments vary between design implementation, artwork production or both, as well as the frequency of the assignment.

Ranking methodology has been developed from the following complexity categories and summary of measures:


  • Number Variety of Product Assortment;
    Flavors, Formulas, Line Extensions, Sizes
  • Type Package configurations;
    Carton, Label, Bag
  • Dimension Significant differences;
    Size, Proportion, Shape


  • Aesthetic Conceptual Target;
    Design, Photography or Illustration
  • Copy/Text Critical Communication;
    Marketing Claims, Translation, Regulatory
  • Technical Manufacturing Issues and Considerations;
    Printing Method, Substrate, Ink Usage


  • Scope A, B, C level;
    Full Redesign, Line Extension, Maintenance
  • Assignment Specific Responsibility;
    Involvement, Process, Schedule, Frequency