I have the credibility to answer this question since I have come across more than 200,000 Tech Packs of products like clothing, footwear, accessories, jewelry, hats that were either created myself or from other 8,000 fashion designers in 91 countries that I have worked with. ( Disclaimer: I’m the CEO of Techpacker.com, an online software for designers to create powerful tech packs and mange production with factories)
Simple answer: A Tech Pack is a set of documents created by designer with instructions that a manufacturer needs to turn the design into a product.
Elaborated: A Tach pack (short for Technical Packet or also known as specification sheets) is a set of documents which is created by a designer, tech-designer, pattern maker or sometimes product developer to explain design to a manufacturer so they can turn the information into a product. With outsourced production, many contractors and factories won’t take work unless the designer provides a clear Tech Pack. tech pack is the “contract”, it’s the “bible” of a product.
Below is the Style Cover page of a Tech Pack
(Image Courtesy: FREE Fashion App: Techpacker)
Tech pack is at the core of product development and production and all the parties involved can feed or extract information. However Tech Pack has now evolved to solves various functions like tracking everything from design decisions to fit changes to material approvals. This applies if you want to order ten pieces of a style, or ten thousand pieces. Below are the 8 reasons why Tech Packs are extremely important:
During development phase, a tech pack communicates the designer’s aesthetic intent so that the initial sample made by a pattern maker or a factory can be as close as possible to the designers look.
A factory after studying the tech pack with information such as material, consumption, time it takes for each process etc would we able to quote the price accurately.
A tech pack serves as documentation of the agreed upon materials, construction methods, significant points of measure etc.
Once production is ready to start, the tech pack becomes the reference document, the contract by which all parties operate. a tech pack becomes a de facto contract between you and your manufacturer. I don’t know how many times a contractor decided to switch materials or trims. A complete tech pack gives you support in case of problems.
When product is finished, the tech-pack is used as reference to verify if you got what you asked for and if you didn’t, it’s the tool for proving what the standards were, very important when producing with contractors or overseas. Points of measurement are used again to verify sizing quality, labeling is checked, anything that would be/should be part of the routine QA process. The tech pack becomes the bible.
As a tech pack contains and holds all information related to the product, In case something goes wrong, you have a great reference to refer back to if you have to find out the problematic area, or ever want to remake part of a style.
It tracks everything from design decisions to fit changes to material approvals. Tech packs are used in the fitting stage to document what you get in your sample vs what you asked for and what changes might have been made as the designer/tech designer review fit samples.
It may take additional time to create a tech pack in the beginning but when calculated the actual time and cost, Tech Pack saves time and money in each processes both in product development and production phase. When anytime anyone has a question, the first place they will refer to is a Tech Pack to look for answers. it’s quick and easy to find the answer there instead of loosing communication and time when checking for the answer. Loss of time and money can be avoided from wrong samples, development cost and logistics of samples by using a Tech Pack.
Tech pack creates a collaborative environment to collectively address issues that cannot be addressed individually. It bridges the boundaries so that product development decisions can be better informed and effective. The designer or the buying company may not necessarily know exact measurements but enough to illustrate design intent such as where will the skirt fall on the leg? Any placement issues of pockets trim details, any finishing details that would be important to design. Then a pattern maker and sample room managers should be able to help to make that measurements more accurate or technically correct.
There are many different ways that designers use to create Tech Packs such as Adobe Illustrator, Excel , FREE Fashion Apps like: Techpacker and some very complicated and expensive PLM or ERP solutions are also used in BIG companies. Each has it’s on pros and cons such as Illustrator and Excel doesn’t allow collaborations and has a learning curve whereas online softwares like Techpacker are more collaborative with easy interface.
References used to answer this question and further reads:
What is a tech pack? : Written by Kathaleen Fasanella, The writer of the book ‘ The Entrepreneur’s guide to sewn product manufacturing’
What is a “Tech Pack”? | Maker’s Row Blog : an online marketplace to connect American manufacturers with businesses.
What is a Techpack?: Human B Designer
Do you use Tech Pack in any other way? Let us know and we will include it above here.