How Esko’s Studio helped Nike® to design packaging easier, faster and better

Nike® is the most valuable – and one of the most famous – clothing brands in the world. In 2017, its Global Football Division started using Esko’s Studio for packaging design, leading to considerable improvements in user-experience, concept communication and time-savings.

Nike swoosh logo
The challenge

Nike was seeking a tool that was compatible with Adobe® Illustrator® and could save time in creating high quality 3D design images.

The solution

Esko’s Studio, a unique set of tools for 3D packaging design made specifically for packaging artwork professionals.

The benefits
  • Make high quality 3D designs within illustrator
  • Improve efficiency - over 80% time saved on creating high quality 3D images
  • Increase team productivity and collaboration
  • Approve decisions quickly on how copy looks on packaging without the need for mock-ups
  • Intuitive and user-friendly

We definitely save time and it has brought a significant increase in our productivity. Something that would have taken two, three or four hours of Photoshop® work, only takes about 10 minutes.

Matt Maghan – Global Apparel + EQ Packaging Designer, Nike


Why work in a flat world if packaging isn’t?

Matt Maghan – Global Apparel + EQ Packaging Designer, Nike, is responsible for designing the packaging templates for the Global Football Division at the company, working on anything from inflatable footballs to goalkeeper gloves. He is, in his own words, “passionate about packaging and printing, especially for Nike.”

Matt was looking for a solution, compatible with Adobe Illustrator, to make the process of creating and reviewing 3D images of his designs considerably easier.

“We have a lot of departments and project managers that we have to run all the graphics through,” said Matt. “In the past, I have had to try and create 3D images myself using Illustrator or Photoshop®, and it never looked quite right and was time-consuming from my end. The more time I am rendering out 3D designs, I am not building templates, so it was taking away from my role.”


I realized very quickly that Esko had figured it out – this is something I have needed
over the last 10 years.

Matt Maghan – Global Apparel + EQ Packaging Designer, Nike


Studio – the perfect solution for creating realistic 3D visuals and pack shots with Adobe Illustrator

Matt looked at several solutions, but it wasn’t until he sat down with Esko that he found the exact solutions he had been looking for. Studio is a modular solution, a mix of plug-ins and applications that work tightly together; integrated seamlessly with tools like Adobe Illustrator to help designers accelerate their packaging design.

Studio allows the user to create exciting 3D visuals, ranging from PDF files with 3D content, to movies, to virtual pack shots. It allows the user to see their products and packaging in full 3D before they even physically exist. Other 3D tools can be complicated, taking hours to model and render an image. Studio is fast and easy, as well as integrating with standard tools like Adobe Illustrator, it works with real production data to produce the most accurate image imaginable.

Studio also has support for complex multi-piece structures from Esko’s ArtiosCAD – the world’s most popular structural design software for packaging design – enabling users to place structural design files from ArtiosCAD or from one of the Studio Toolkits.

“I realized very quickly that Esko had figured it out – this is something I have needed over the last 10 years,” said Matt. “With Studio, I can just load a plug-in, so I have 3D right there within Illustrator and then I can extract a 3D PDF or a Plotter file. That is exactly what I was looking for.”


Being able to build those scenes of what exactly I am looking for and then import that back into Illustrator using my flat die-line art has probably been the biggest game-changer for me.

Matt Maghan – Global Apparel + EQ Packaging Designer, Nike


A game-changing time-saver

Matt discovered that Studio is a fast and easy way to turn ideas into 3D images, whether for inspiration in the design process, to impress internal clients, or to help make key decisions more quickly.

“Being able to build those scenes of what exactly I am looking for and then import that back into Illustrator using my flat die-line art has probably been the biggest game-changer for me,” he says.

“We definitely save time and it has brought a significant increase in my productivity. For example, I was working on a little shoe box and because I already had the design, I already had the die-line for it, I quickly went into Illustrator, clicked a few buttons and something that would have taken three or four hours of a lot of heavy Photoshop work, only took about 10 minutes. That equates to over 80% of my time saved.”

Driving quick decisions

Using Esko’s Studio also saves time in decision-making. For example, Matt worked on packaging for boxer briefs, which had a sliding tray as well as a box. It required 26 different language translations on the box and he had some concerns about space. With Studio, Matt could render it out very quickly and show his colleagues how it looked.

“In 3D, I could spin it around while I was still in Illustrator and we soon realized it wouldn’t be right, so we made the decision to put in an insert,” said Matt. “So now we are making design choices in Illustrator using Studio in a matter of minutes rather than waiting, printing it out, getting it back from the printer, and running it up the flagpole at that point. It has already automatically saved me a lot of time with my reviews.”

Easy to use … and fun too

One of the aspects that has really impressed Matt is its user-friendliness.

“There is not a large learning curve with Studio,” he said, “especially when you already know Illustrator. I picked it up probably within an hour. What I really enjoyed is the Studio part of it, building the package. In my work, I don’t just deal with one sheet of paper that folds up into a box, they all have trays, lids and everything. So I go into Illustrator, build out my ArtiosCAD files, and build them in Studio, which I always find fun to be hands on with it, then load that into Illustrator. I can show my clients my ideas very clearly.”

Nike uses Studio for:

  • Design
    Understand how the artwork will look on the package. Changes are instantly visible.
  • Content
    Determine if the required content will fit on the package.
  • Approval
    Secure agreement from all Nike stakeholders using 3D images instead of prototypes.
  • Communication
    Communicate design intent to external suppliers who will produce the packaging, often in distant locations around the globe.
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