Produce CAD, carton design and sample making

Business Sectors (Suites): Carton Manufacture
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 29 Feb 2020


This standard is for print finishers who produce CAD, carton designs or samples.

This standard involves:

  1. interpretation of briefs;
  2. programming and using software;
  3. identifying materials for best end of use solutions;
  4. creating or choosing shapes;
  5. checking products are suitable for manufacture;
  6. ensuring designs are economical;
  7. creating carton profiles.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. make samples for a given carton using CAD software
  2. programme plotters to cut samples by machine
  3. create hand cut samples using knife and scoring sticks to meet specifications
  4. prepare fully dimensioned blueprints from the CAD software, showing grain direction to meet specifications
  5. make CAD prepared layouts to show multi-up sheets considering internal waste, gripper, back edge, side and off lay
  6. indicate internal waste, varnish and ink free areas, glue patterns and board grain direction
  7. show cost efficient use of boards, both in single pack and overall sheet utilisation
  8. use CAD software to demonstrate modulation of one up designs into a tooling specifications for die, matrix, stripping and blanking tools

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. how written brief translates into practical solutions for carton end use
  2. how print restrictions/attributes affect final appearance of cartons
  3. how carton folds, and function of creases, scores and skip cuts
  4. how features such as opening devices, tear-strips, point of sale billboard and locking features enhance carton performance
  5. how to programme and use CAD software
  6. how to programme and use sample cutting machines (plotters)
  7. how to cut samples by hand
  8. different materials (stock) available
  9. how different types of stock affect carton performance
  10. importance of grain direction to the performance of cartons
  11. coatings and finishes available on boards and their characteristics
  12. library of folding carton shapes
  13. different styles of erecting machines
  14. functions of proprietary and non-proprietary machines
  15. the implication of licences and patents, including intellectual property of carton design features
  16. how graphics are applied to carton shapes for production requirements
  17. how cartons interlock and economically fit on flat production sheets
  18. how and why to estimate for waste for gripper, back edge, side and off lay
  19. how to prepare drawings for alternative options to suit production
  20. purpose and scope of cutting and creasing machine tooling, to include cutting die (forme); female matrix – engraved counter plate and plastic counters, male and female stripping tool; male and female blanking tool
  21. how tooling is manufactured and used
  22. how cutting and creasing machinery works (not operated)
  23. cutting pressures and how this affects crease quality
  24. dynamic waste ejection
  25. how folder gluing machinery works (not operated)
  26. how make-ready and machine set-up affects the quality of carton creases
  27. styles used
  28. how ancillary equipment such as foil blocking, windowing and other attachments can enhance cartons
  29. cost efficient features of designs to aid better production capability
  30. decisions made for styles and features on designs
  31. machine erecting capabilities and patent features
  32. features which restrict ink and varnish coverage and how the graphics will 'sit' on outlined profiles
  33. line patterns and legend
  34. how designs impact on estimated cost of producing production orders
  35. carton finishing features from folding and gluing to added enhancements such as window patching


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

28 Feb 2025





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Printers, Printing Machine Minders and Assistants, Printing Trades

SOC Code



Print; printing; mechanised print finishing and binding; finishing; binding; newspaper; periodical; machine; litho; web offset; flexo; screen print; gravure; pad print; carton manufacture; fibreboard