January 31, 2019
Greetings: I’m the CEO of Techpacker.com, an online platform for designers to create tech packs in minutes, collaborate with teams in real-time and keep manufacturers up to date.
A comprehensive tech pack is the starting point for any fashion product to come to life.
This post covers-
What is a tech pack?
A tech pack is a blueprint created by a designer. It contains all the components and instructions required for a manufacturer to turn your design into a finished product. That includes materials, gradings, seams, colorways, measurements, trim, labels etc.
More elaborate answer: A Tech pack (short for Technical Packet and also known as specification sheets) is a set of documents created by a designer, technical designer, pattern maker or product developer to explain the design to a manufacturer so they can turn the information into a product. When it comes to outsourcing production, most contractors and factories will not take your orders unless you provide a clear and detailed tech pack. The ultimate goal of a Tech Pack is to minimize the number of samples made and bring a product to market faster.
Tech packs also serves as a master document to track product development including comments, revisions, and changes made.
Want to know what a professional tech pack looks like?
Here are examples of 3 different design tech packs made on Techpacker with full details.
What are the components of a Tech pack?
❑ Technical Sketches:
These are flat sketches illustrating every design detail in different angles (front, back, side, and yes, even inside). They help your factory and pattern maker visualize how to make the first sample as close as possible to your desired look. That’s why they are done in black and white and are typically created on Adobe Illustrator.
❑ Sample Sizes and Measurements:
When just starting to develop a design you have to provide measurements of one single size for manufacturers to create your first sample.
❑ Constructions Details:
Write down any details about the garment which are not obvious in the sketches. These usually include diagrams with labelled arrows pointing out collars, plackets, cuffs, fastenings, bar tacks and artwork placement.
❑ Bill of Materials (BOM):
It’s the list of all the physical elements and their location on the garment. This includes all fabrics, buttons, labels, tags, poly-bags, threads, pads, lining, etc.
❑ Stitches and Seams:
These includes details such as stitches per inch, seams’s width, seam allowances and seam ISO numbers.
❑ Branding Artwork:
Detail all brand component and their placement including labels, hang tags, embroideries or small prints.
❑ Measurement specs:
This can be filled after receiving your first sample. Your factory will grade by size range and fill out your measurement chart. You must include your tolerance range for each point of measurement to check them against each sample size, so you can request changes if they don’t fit in.
❑ Point of Measurement Diagrams:
These form the visual representation of your measurements. Use sketch diagrams and labeled arrows to show exactly where each measurement is on your garment.
❑ Identification on Every Page:
Include your company name, sample size, date, changes made, requests and version on each page of your tech pack.
Note: Tech packs are not just static documents. They should evolve as your designs evolve. You should use techpacks to track everything throughout your product creation process including comments, change requests, sample approvals and versions.
Why do I need a tech pack?
Here are 7 major benefits that shows you why techpacks are a must-have to create any fashion product.
1. Get error-free samples
Your techpack should tell your pattern marker or factory how to create your sample and what to include in it. The more detailed the better. Do not take anything for granted. Do not leave anything to chance. A comprehensive and easy to read techpack increases the chance for your sample to match your original vision at first go.
2. Get accurate price quotations
The more detailed your tech pack is, the easier it will be for your factory to gauge how much time it will take to make your product and thus, how much it will cost.
In other words, the more accurate your tech pack is, the more accurate the price estimation you’ll receive.
3. It keeps your manufacturer accountable
Once production is ready to start, your tech pack becomes a reference de facto contract between you and your manufacturer. For instance, in case your factory switches materials or trims and produces something that doesn't confirm to your instructions, you can always refer back to the tech pack to point out the mistakes and indicate how to correct them.
4. It’s a reference point for quality control
Your techpack is your master document used during your QA process. For every round of samples, you have to check its points of measurements against the tolerances you’ve put in your techpack. If one deviates out of your tolerance range, you’ll have to tell your manufacturer and request the necessary changes. You’ll also have to check the labels, constructions, materials, seams etc.
5. It tracks change requests
Chances are, no matter how accurate your tech pack is, your perfect sample will take more than one round to complete. During fit sample reviews, you’ll have to request changes to your manufacturer. You’ll have to keep track of what was done and what has to be done. All these changes have to be archived and organized inside different versions of your techpack.
6. It saves you time and money
Creating a complete tech pack requires some time and effort. An investment that is totally worth it when you consider how much time, money and headaches this will save you down the line. This includes wastes on wrong samples, development costs, and sample logistics. Each step of the product creation process has pitfalls that are easily avoidable by having a detailed techpack to refer back to and that tracks everything.
7. It helps you collaborate in teams
Your techpack can unite different roles within your supply chain. It can be transformed from a mere document to a collaborative environment where designers, product developers, buyers and quality control planners work together to create better products faster. For instance, a designer might not know the exact measurements for a skirt, but can only estimate where it will reach the leg and then convey it in the techpack. This scenario can apply to a number things that are crucial to the final design such as pockets trim details and finishing details. With this techpack acting as a go-between, the pattern maker could then fill in the gap and provide more accurate measurements.
How do you make a tech pack?
Common tools include Adobe Illustrator, Excel and Techpacker. More complicated and expensive- PLM or ERP solutions are also used in larger companies. Each has its own pros and cons. For instance, you can learn how to create a tech pack on Illustrator and Excel watching youtube tutorials. A quick google search will give you hundreds of techpack templates you can model yourself after. However, you’ll have to use both software to create a complete tech pack. Your techpack will also come out fairly static, meaning that editing them and reusing your design details will involve a lot of copy pasting and switching between spreadsheets.
Techpacker lets you create a techpack in minutes - with images, alignments, and annotations automatically formatted for you. There are pre-filled templates (as shown above) that you can reuse by simply typing in your own specs. The platform also lets you collaborate with your team and manufacturer in real-time without the use of emails.
Done reading and ready for action?
Create a techpack in the next 10 minutes by signing up for Techpacker here. Follow along with the step-by-step videos inside the platform.
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