By Gerry Mulvaney, Senior Copywriter
It’s said that the last thing a printer does to a job is the first thing his customer sees. And never is this statement more true than in the world of folding carton printing. In most print jobs, a lot of work goes into the prepress and printing, but when it comes to folding carton printing, a whole lot more goes into the design and finishing of the box.
It is certainly accurate to call it cardboard engineering because increasingly the structure of the finished article is becoming more complex, with both visual and practical demands of the brands being engineered into the design. Once the carton is designed and printed, then an increasingly complex array of finishing techniques are employed to deliver the designer’s vision.
On a practical note for the brands, the need to provide “Shelf Ready Packaging” (SRP) is now a major demand from the supermarket chains who want to eliminate the tedious practice of unpacking transit cartons and shelf stacking, by having the product delivered in packaging that can be part of the display and carried away by the consumer. Some of this is now being achieved by printing onto paper or plastic which is then laminated onto the board structure, while other methods include printing directly onto the board.
There were some fine examples of the art form on display at the Paperboard Packaging Council awards dinner in the autumn of last year. The overall winner of the Paper Board Package of the year was a superbly designed series of Toblerone gift boxes, radically different from the triangular cartons we are familiar with in Europe. These were SRP boxes, incorporating a gift ribbon and with angular sides that stayed true to the Toblerone brand.
“Shelf Ready Packaging” (SRP) by Toblerone
Another winner, this time the Judges’ Award, was a carrier for beer cans, with a retractable carrying handle. The design meant that the box could be stacked for transport and display but easily picked up by the customer to take to the till.
A 6-pack carrier for cans with a retractable handle by PaperWorks Industries
Another one that caught my attention, (partly because we don’t see the product legally in the UK) was the Innovation award for a medicinal marijuana box. Imitating a wine presentation box, the hexagonal container with a telescopic lid, is colour coded to represent the different types of marijuana inside.
Packaging for medicinal marijuana by the All Packaging Company
In Europe too, converters are coming up with imaginative ways to help sell brands. Supermarket Tesco for example are giving customer’s wine caddies which enable up to six bottles to be carried off the supermarket shelf and taken home with ease. Purely in the interests of research I tried out the carton and can confirm it sells more wine!!
Tesco supermarket’s giveaway wine caddies
(painstakingly tested by Gerry and proven effective at promoting wine sales)
Tools that Produce Innovative Folding Carton Packaging
At the upcoming drupa in June, Landa Digital Printing will show how the Nanography® printing process can assist in this trend of packaging innovation. The extended colour gamut, variable data printing and ability to print onto a very wide range of substrates in a B1 (41 in.) format will excite the cardboard engineers and designers opening the door to new and innovative packaging design.
The Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Press for mainstream production
of folding carton, POP/POS and corrugated boxes
Main page images: http://www.paperbox.org/Programs-Events/Carton-Competition/2015-Award-Winners