What is a “Tech Pack”?

Does your company use a “tech pack”? It is one of the most crucial tools to developing your product and making the communication process more efficient between you and your manufacturer, yet many new designers overlook this vital step. You may be asking what a tech pack is, why you need it, or how to make one. Let’s break it down:

What is a tech pack?

A tech pack is an informative sheet that designers create to communicate with a manufacturer all the necessary components needed to construct a product. Typically designers will include measurements, materials, colors, trim, hardware, grading, labels, tags, etc. Any crucial aspect of your design needs to be described in your tech pack. The more detailed a tech pack is, the less room there is for error.

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Why do you need a tech pack?

With a tech pack, designers are more likely to get a sample or product made correctly with minimal errors. Supplying a tech pack to a manufacturer gives them a concrete guideline to your product, so without one it can be difficult for manufacturers to translate your idea into an actual product. It also allows the manufacturer to make a product without having to refer back to the designer several times. When creating products, manufacturers can reference the tech pack to make sure they aren’t overlooking any aspect of your design.

How do you make a tech pack?

Designers can use Adobe Illustrator to create a tech pack, or work with a technical designer. When creating a tech pack with Adobe Illustrator, you can export them into a PDF  to send digitally or add to your brand project on Maker’s Row. Designers can also find templates online that can format the layout for you.

Related Reading:  5 Mistakes People Make When Ordering Packaging

Interested in making a tech pack for your brand? Take a look at these 28 companies on Maker’s Row who can help you out:

Technical Designers and Pattern Makers

Special thanks to Liz Long and Ryan Clott for the great advice on tech packs!

  • Angela Johnson

    Great advice!

    • Sonya Trent

      How much do tech packs generally cost?

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  • Annalee Pawlowski

    Is it a tech pack that you also take to a pettern maker, or does the pattern maker collaborate in creating rhe tech pack along with the designer? It would seem there would be a collaboration since pattern makers would know best how to pattern for manufacturing. How does this process usually work?

    • Vesta Garcia

      We recommend starting with a sketch of the garment (with construction call-outs, if you know them), but a full-blown tech pack can’t reasonably be made until after the garment is perfected and graded (IOW, we agree with Lantie, above, as well as Rocio). We’ve run into a lot of problems with folks send us extensive tech packs with garment measurements that were pulled out of a technical designer’s head, and the garment is impossible to pattern. Don’t waste your money!

      • Annalee Pawlowski

        Thank you for your reply!

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  • http://usasewingfactory.com/ Rocio E

    This is great information for new entrants to the industry, but here are some suggestions for the areas that any professional Technical Designer, MUST know:

    1) Production pattern making- I’ve seen a fair share of tech packs asking for changes that can’t be achieved on the pattern because the “technical designer” was a good illustrator but didn’t know about pattern making or their pattern knowledge was limited to drafting basic t-shirts

    2) Production garment construction- There are plenty of “technical designers” who may be able to sew stuff at home, but have never set foot in a factory and (therefore) end up providing construction details that may be achievable using a home sewing machine but won’t work using industrial equipment

    3) Equipment available at the factory- If your technical package calls out for specialized equipment that your chosen factory doesn’t have, this will inevitably create delays,
    IF your technical designer is provided with this information BEFORE they create the technical package they can also advice on alternatives before you waste money designing technical packages for a factory that won’t be able to follow them because the required equipment is not available

    If the factory is constantly asking for more information or clarification on technical packages then it may be a sign that you didn’t hire the most experienced person for the job and you SHOULD NOT HESITATE to get more involved with the factory as it’s YOUR product that is on the line

    • Danielle

      Is there a good way to learn more about production garment construction? As a designer this would be so valuable in the design process in order to make adjustments based on production and how the techniques/machines etc. affect cost and product outcomes. Also it seems valuable in terms of being taken seriously by manufacturers.

      • http://unlimiteddesignservices.com/ Rocio Evenett

        Danielle, there are so many variables in garment construction that there simply isn’t a “pre-packed” solution to learn apparel manufacture… I was lucky enough to start in the industry while my employers all had in-house development teams (pattern makers, cutters, sample makers) but these days it seems like if you are not able to access the factory, you are on your own…

      • Deborah Beard

        We have courses at FIT that you can take in this area. Look up on website in the Production Management area. We also have fit courses in pattern making like PM255 this are all night courses.

    • Deborah Beard

      I agree with everything you said. At Fashion Institute of Technology in our Technical Design BS program we have courses in all of the above and including Technical Illustrator sketching, Fitting wovens and knits, computerized pattern making and grading and marking and lot’s of pattern making. Along with that we have everything single machine in industry so students learn about every type of sewing possible. It is a great program and our students are highly sought out in industry. I have 100 percent placement at graduation.

      Deborah Beard
      Chair of Technical
      Design at FIT

  • Lantie Foster

    Here is my #1 tip in a perfect world, make sure you have your perfect fitting sample FIRST, then send that prefect sample to the technical designer to create the tech pack for PRODUCTION.

    • http://techpacks.co TECHPACKS.CO

      Agreed! Tech packs are an investment but can be time consuming to produce. You’ll save money and time later if you’ve developed a prototype you are happy with beforehand.

  • http://www.maderight.com Jason Maderight

    As a manufacturer, these are the 4 things I need from you in the techpack.
    1. Technical Sketch – (vector sketch)
    2. Spec sheet – points of measurement(POM)
    3. Grade Rules – how to scale your different sizes
    4. Bill of Materials – overview of materials

    We talk more about it here: http://academy.maderight.com/2016/01/18/manufacturing-101-what-is-a-tech-pack/

    • http://techpacks.co TECHPACKS.CO

      It’s also great to include construction info as well as any embellishments, & labels.

  • Madhu S

    Does it also include a production cost sheet?

    • yuk tech

      Hello Madhu. I am a designer and manufacturer . I can get your prototoypes done in a short time.

      • Hunter dedio

        Any chance you can help me? I need some information on starting a clothing company

        • yuk tech

          Hello. Yes i can help you. Whats your email?

          • Tzi

            Hi, im intrested in starting a clothing line do you do everything from the pattern to manufaturing?

          • yuk tech

            Yes That’s exactly what i do. including everything labels inside etc. my email elarnaca@gmail.com

          • Tzi

            Ok Thank you, I emailed you.

  • Vaida

    Also, have in mind that no matter how great and detailed your techpack is, it’s as good as the shop/factorys inderstanding is. Some factory shop owners are self taught and have no clue about standartzed language or how to follow a tech pack. Real world is much more complicated and staying flexible will get youfurther than your dry knawledge. At the begining of my designer career, I brought my extensive super detailed teck pack to one factory in CA and they were looking at me dumfouded. They opened the teckpack, closed it within second and told me to just bring the pattern and the sample. Done lol