Tech packs are technical packs of information, which convey to a clothing manufacturer, how to produce a garment.
These packs generally include flat sketches, CADs, bills of materials, graded size charts, and trim information.
Tech packs are important for fashion brands as they are the blueprint of your manufacturing process – without one, both you and the manufacturer will not have a clear understanding of the specification.
Choosing the Right Software
Tech packs can be made in many different software packages and there is no right or wrong method to develop tech packs, however, they should all follow the same structure.
- Construction: I.e. Flat Sketches
- Design Details: I.e. Computer Aided Designs, and Colour Ways
- Material Information: I.e. A Bill of Materials Sheet
- Reference Points: I.e. Imagery of Inspirational Items
- Size Chart: I.e. Each Point of Measurement Per Size
- Trim Details: I.e. Branded and Care Label Information
Most flat sketches and CADs are best developed in either adobe illustrator or photoshop.
The reason for this is that designers can draw paths to outline the basic construction of garments in a clear and concise manner.
However, it is not uncommon for the rest of the tech pack to then be created in software like Excel – the reason for this is that the columns make it easy to break down specific points of information, as well as aiding the size chart section.
When building out tech packs, your best option is to choose whichever design software you have the most experience with – this will reduce the amount of time you spend learning the software and instead, allows you to focus on building out your specification for your clothing brand.
Including Essential Details
The exact contents of tech packs can vary depending on the scope of the requirements. For example, some tech packs might require a fit reference, showcasing a particular silhouette (for garments like t-shirts) but you are unlikely to require this on other items like underwear.
That being said, as a minimum requirement, your tech packs should include the following:
- Technical flat sketches
- Computer-aided designs
- Bill of materials sheet
- Graded size chart
- Trim and label information
Ensuring accuracy and clarity in your tech pack is essential. If you have conflicting information in your tech pack, this could lead to errors in manufacturing, and wasted time/money spent.
The best way to avoid this is to get a second opinion – ask someone who has no experience with manufacturing or fashion design.
If after reading the tech pack they understand the requirements, then it has served its purpose.
Below are some of the most common mistakes we see in tech packs:
- Conflicting asset sizes – e.g. on a CAD, the logo might look like the entire width of the chest, but on another page, it might specify the logo should only be 20 cm in width.
- Incorrect grading on the size chart – it is always worth getting a second opinion from a garment technologist to ensure the grade is accurate
- Unclear or vague fabric information – e.g. “cotton polyester blend” instead of 85% cotton, 15% polyester, 300gsm
Collaborating with Your Team
Oftentimes, creating tech packs is actually utilizing the skillsets of different departments to convey a specification to a manufacturer.
You’ll be relying on your designer, garment technologist, marketing, and product development team to come together and build out the tech pack.
The best is a collaborative and creative approach. However, the flow of communication should follow like below
- Consumer feedback is collated from the customer service team and handed over to the marketing team
- This feedback is articulated in a way that showcases short and actionable steps to improve collections moving forward for the product development team
- The product development team then discusses viable ways to act on these improvements and with the help of the designer, come up with three basic concepts per garment
- Once finalized, the designer creates technical sketches and CADs, which are distributed to the garment technologist who can begin preparing size charts and digitized patterns for this style
A final point to make on this process is that tech packs should be treated as an ever-evolving specification. Meaning, as you move through the sampling process and make amendments, these should be conveyed in the specification.
In conclusion, tech packs are massively helpful when starting out a brand and developing a collection – they minimize the risk of miscommunication, increase efficiency and help you relay your concept throughout the manufacturing process.
Creating tech packs should be a collaborative process that helps iron out specific details you wish your garments to showcase as a final product when going to market. More about the subject in this 2023 guide to tech packs in clothing.
Utilizing the above information, you should be able to get basic tech packs completed with the assistance of a technical designer or supplier in an efficient manner.