(Re)imagine packaging: 50 shades of the future

(Re)imagine packaging: 50 shades of the future

At IPL Packaging, we spend a lot of time working on and refining other people’s brands and products. Often, we are tasked to design secondary packaging that will reflect commercial objectives while keeping the brand’s stated positioning in mind. Now is a really exciting time for IPL; our marketing team has been tasked with developing messaging that showcases our new branding, as well as to portray some of our own key objectives.

We want our business partners and potential customers to know that we are focused on what is relevant today but, importantly, we are also looking at what will be significant tomorrow. We want to reinforce our own understanding of this ever-changing world and ensure that we remain innovative in the future. This will ensure that we remain a competitive supplier in the luxury packaging industry going forward.

The future of IPL Packaging

The future of IPL Packaging

“Packaging that gives you a glimpse of the future” is a strong statement to make. In developing the visual message, we agreed on a modern-looking materials with reflective qualities that would reinforce this positioning. As a fun part of the exercise, we asked our design team to portray this same message but by using different materials and textures.

This highlights how the nature of a substrate can have an impact on a brand’s identity and the perception of a pack. Certain materials will suit modern messaging, while others are more suited to traditional values. Some materials indicate a high value, while others show off eco-friendly credentials.

While this exercise was a bit of lighthearted rendering from our talented visual team, it does underpin the fact that there are 50 shades (and more) of packaging possibilities for developers to consider when determining how best to strengthen their own brand message. The choices available to luxury brands today are almost endless.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


TULLIBARDINE 15YO – A Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist

TULLIBARDINE 15YO – A Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist

A look at another of our packaging solutions nominated as a finalist in this year’s Luxury Packaging Awards – Luxury Drinks, Secondary Pack, as well as a bit about the esteemed Highland Distillery of Tullibardine itself.

For Tullibardine’s 15-Year-Old, recently awarded a Double Gold medal at the prestigious 2020 International Spirits Challenge, IPL produced a packaging solution as beguiling as the expression itself. 

The unfeigned simplicity of the paper-wrapped rigid board pack is enhanced by the varnish printed graphic depicting the beautiful, agricultural Scottish landscape. 

TULLIBARDINE 15YO – A Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist
Image: Whiskymag.com

A striking paper-wrapped rigid board buck-lock closure (complete with gold foil brand detailing) holds the double-door pack front closed. Upon opening these, one reveals the UV varnish and gold foil brand details on the inner doors and the splendid single malt contained within.

This remarkable Single Malt, distilled after the reopening of the distillery in 2003, is as full-flavoured and rich in character as the history of the location itself.

TULLIBARDINE 15YO – A Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist
Image: pbs.twimg.com

Named after the nearby village of Tullibardine, the distillery originally began as a brewery back in the 15th Century or earlier, and supplied the beer for the 15-year-old King James IV’s coronation feast in 1488. It continued as a brewery through the centuries, passing through many hands, but was re-built in 1947 as a distillery by the Welsh architect William Delme Evans. The site was later closed for many years before finally reopening in 2003. 

Tullibardine is now one of the few distilleries in Scotland to distill, mature and bottle on-site, in the age-old, handcrafted way, giving it complete control over the whisky-making process.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our News section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


SMWS tasting pack

SMWS Tasting Pack – A Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist

Here's a closer look at another of our packaging solutions nominated as a Finalist in the category: Luxury Drinks: Secondary Pack at this year’s Luxury Packaging Awards: 

 “We’re proud to have, once again, designed and developed a structural packaging solution for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) Tasting Pack, the 5th iteration of the pack’s design and development by IPL Packaging,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Design at IPL.

Combining innovation with functional minimalism, the latest evolution of the pack, developed for the world’s leading whisky club, is a robust MDF box containing rigid board drawers. 

The outer pack is wrapped in soft-touch paper and features gold foil and spot-varnished branding details to provide a luxurious, contrasting look. A PU leather carry-handle at top of the pack allows for ease of transport.

SMWS tasting pack

In the first drawer sits a paper-wrapped product card with detailed brand information and a membership booklet that conceals three 10cl whisky taster bottles located in flocked EVA fitments. The second drawer of the pack also contains flocked EVA fitments designed to hold two tasting glasses and a water jug.

“We designed a complete unveiling process that maps out layers of engagement; including first contact, reveal, product extraction and post-extraction and results in a memorable, tactile interface to ultimately deliver a memorable user experience,” says Odendaal.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


Packaging and the New Luxury Perception

Packaging and the New Luxury Perception

New consumer expectations are driving change amongst even the most established luxury brands - and an awareness of our rapidly changing world is now even more critical for packaging designers working in the luxury packaging sector today.

So what’s driving this change and how exactly is it impacting premium packaging design?

Packaging and the New Luxury Perception

Social Media and E-commerce

The rise of social media has seen an unprecedented opening up of the global luxury market to a far wider audience. With luxury items filling newsfeeds and Instagram streams, more consumers are far more ‘clued in’ to the luxury experience, bringing with it rising expectations.

Equally, with the boom of e-commerce, brands have had to play their part by focusing on packaging as a means to recreate that tactile, physical retail experience at home. Social media ‘unboxing’ trends, with countless influencer posts dedicated to filming the unpacking of a particular product, have worked to place additional focus and importance on the packaging of products. 

“With affluent consumers increasingly shopping online, providing an engaging memorable ‘unboxing experience’ that plays to their senses is now a vital role for luxury brands,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Design at IPL Packaging.

Packaging and the New Luxury Perception

Growing Environmental Concerns

Last year’s Criteo ‘Shopper’ study (conducted amongst 500 consumers), decrypted perceptions and expectations of packaging in the luxury world. A significant 81% of survey respondents reported they were sensitive to environmental messages, with the same percentage saying they could turn away from a luxury brand if the packaging proved to be non-respectful of the environment. This was of even greater concern among the under-35s, where the percentage reached 89%.

For consumers, environmental criterion must implicitly be part of the ‘luxury purchase’ experience, with nearly all consumers (97%) believing it is up to luxury goods manufacturers to take action to ensure the eco-responsibility of packaging.

“What this means is that the ‘luxury’ consumer ultimately wants to remove thinking about the environmental impact at the time of his purchase,” says Odendaal. “In 2020 and beyond, respect for the environment must be an integral part of the product and service, and brands have a growing responsibility to integrate the environmental dimension in the design of their packaging.”

Packaging and the New Luxury PerceptionImages: Weavabel and Gucci Equilibrium

The ‘Less is More’ Luxury Phenomenon

“An example of a brand at the forefront of luxury packaging for the new age is the Apple Corporation, supplying their customers with sleek, and predominantly recyclable and sustainable packaging where the high-end quality and allure of the product shines through,“ comments Odendaal. “Brands such as Apple have really re-written the rulebook on luxury, with sparse and minimalistic design now projecting an image of quality and status - and tuning into an increased need to declutter and simplify our lives.” 

“And, whilst Apple is by no means the only global brand to do this, such a large corporation making minimalism and simplicity not only a goal but a realisation has paved the way for other high-quality luxury companies to follow,” states Odendaal.

“From custom papers, and fabrics, to stock materials with customised processes, luxury and prestige is now typically a matter of restraint, not excess and this current trend of minimalist design and discreet luxury will only increase in the post-Covid era, espousing the complete opposite of flaunting logos and unnecessary embellishments,” he says. “Straightforward, easy to digest, high contrast designs that clearly and simply make a statement will continue to be a trend for some time.”

Packaging and the New Luxury Perception

Personalisation

Personalised luxury items were born a long time ago, with this aspect of branding and packaging design being seen as a valuable way to build better and stronger relationships with customers. 

But luxury buyers are also now digitally savvy and need to be engaged with personal experiences across their customer lifecycle, whether engaging and inspiring with personal content and exploration of a brand, interacting with personalised offers, or receiving customised or personalised packaging.

Packaging and the New Luxury Perception

“Personalised packaging is now being offered by many leading brands, with consumption peaking during gifting occasions, like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Whilst not a luxury product, Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaigns featuring bottle labels carrying common individual forenames, remain a well-known example of a major brand applying customisation to create a more personal connection with its consumers. Coca-Cola has sold more than 150 million of its personalised bottles!” says Odendaal.

“Premium drinks and spirits manufacturers have gone down that road by enabling consumers to add text via a website to engrave either the bottle or its outer packaging,” he says. “A number of premium brands, particularly within the Scotch whisky sector – such as Glenfiddich, Glengoyne, Gordon & MacPhail – now offer personalised labels, mainly for gifting purposes, with individual messages. Whilst new web-to-print ordering systems also allow for this in industry sectors such as jewellery and confectionary, and many more.”

“In one particularly special example of personalisation, IPL designed and customised a special gift ‘case’ for Sterling Vineyards, the official wine partner of the 69th annual Emmy Awards (2017). Each bottle gifted to individual Emmy Winners was a special, personalised keepsake that also featured a stainless steel removable and magnetic name plaque, specifically engraved with the name of each winner,” states Odendaal.

“We’ll be seeing more and more personalised touches being to the entire buyer and brand advocate journey, purely because it is one of the most effective ways of making a product unique and, at the same time, satisfy the requirements of today’s luxury consumer,” he explains. 

In closing, as the old saying goes, change is the only constant. The leading luxury brands of the future will be those who successfully recalibrate their brands, and indeed their packaging, in response to changing notions of luxury and new consumers’ expectations and, importantly, without diluting their core values.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our News section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


Tiffany & Co. - luxury packaging done right

Tiffany & Co. - Luxury packaging done right

Tiffany & Co. has been in the spotlight recently due to the on-off merger with LVMH (Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy). The two luxury brands have finally concluded an agreement that will see LVMH spending $15.8-billion to take over Tiffany & Co. This comes after a tumultuous year where the Covid-19 pandemic nearly derailed the entire merger and left the two brands in a bitter dispute. 

Now seems a good time to revisit the iconic Tiffany packaging. The blue box was once known as the only thing you couldn’t buy from Tiffany & Co. This unmistakable little box has been studied over the years as an example of what to do right when it comes to simple yet exemplary packaging.

Tiffany & Co. - luxury packaging done right
© Tiffany.com

Tiffany Blue is a trademarked colour

Many iconic brands have a unique colour or packaging material that makes them identifiable. Louis Vuitton, for example, uses a rich brown with gold details. Other big brands use certain packaging shapes and accents. The Hennessy bottle, for instance, has a unique shape that would make it identifiable even without labels.

Tiffany & Co. uses an eye-catching robin egg blue that has now become known as ‘Tiffany Blue’. Today, it is one of the most renowned packaging colours. It was introduced in the mid-1800s and was trademarked by the company in 2001. It even has a unique Pantone code of 1837 - the year Tiffany was founded. 

The colour was carefully selected based on the fashion trends of the era and it has been used by Tiffany & Co. ever since. Blue jewellery was desirable in the 19th century and turquoise gems were commonly given to wedding guests as a gift. Charles Lewis Tiffany, the company’s founder, published a book on the world’s most precious gemstones in 1845. The book was the first of many to be covered in Tiffany Blue. This colour was perfectly suited to package engagement rings and luxury jewellery; a desirable colour that is synonymous with love and happiness. 

Tiffany & Co. - luxury packaging done right
© Dexigner.com

Pop culture promoted the brand’s recognition

Tiffany & Co. have certainly got it right over the years and have ensured the brand has become entrenched in pop culture. The 1961 classic movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the 1995 hit song of the same name are just two examples. These popular culture stories portrayed the brand as a luxury lifestyle rather than just valuable jewellery.

It’s no wonder that LVMH ultimately agreed that this valuable brand would be an important part of their impressive luxury stable.

Tiffany & Co. - luxury packaging done right
© Fortune.com

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our News section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


Arran Luxury Packaging Awards finalist

Arran 21 YO – A Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist

Here’s a closer look at one of our packaging solutions recently nominated as a Finalist in the category 'Luxury Drinks: Secondary Pack' at this year’s Luxury Packaging Awards

Packaging for the Arran 21-Year-Old Single Malt (by Isle of Arran Distillers), produced by IPL Packaging and designed by London agency, Stranger & Stranger, reflects the brand’s contemporary new look in the form of an elegant paper-wrapped rigid board pack.

Arran Luxury Packaging Awards finalist

Featuring a wraparound lid and magnetic closure, embellished with foil and embossed branding details, the pack also incorporates an icon in the shape of Arran, a pair of the island’s native eagles (which nest in the beautiful village of Lochranza where the distillery was built in 1995), as well as a rippled effect that reflects the distillery’s water source and island’s mountain waterfalls. 

Braille lettering features on both the embossed lid and the bottle label. The Arran logo is repeated in deboss on side of the pack. A debossed paper-wrapped cover sheet on the inside of the pack echoes the rippled effect of water, with its ridge detailing adding an interesting textural element.  The Single Malt’s new-look bottle, with its warm ochre-colored contents, is held in place by an EVA fitment and extracted with the use of a grosgrain ribbon bottle release.

Arran 21 year old single malt
Image: Webshopapp.com
Arran 21 year old single malt
Image: Arranwhisky.com

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our News section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


Packaging for visually-impaired consumers

Should packaging companies consider the visually-impaired more?

Products should be accessible to as wide a range of consumers as possible within a target audience. Packaging could be an important tool to aid inclusivity, especially when it comes to those with visual challenges. This issue should perhaps be taken into consideration by brands during the design stage of their packaging. 

Within a target audience, there are those with visual impairments who can still appreciate design choices and stylistic elements. Is it time that packaging starts to take these consumers more into account? These sorts of considerations will also help to differentiate a brand from its competitors for the right reasons and instill vital brand loyalty in saturated markets.

Inclusivity is easier with smart packaging

Smart packaging makes use of various modern technologies to improve consumer interactions with a product. With these technologies, the use of a product can become much easier for those with visual impairments. Audio messages could, for example, be used to allow for better access to the brand and its messaging as well as access to better product information. Similarly, LED lights may assist those with partial sight to better read important messaging.

Packaging for visually-impaired consumers

Raised symbols for the visually-impaired

Tactile elements are one way to appeal to visually-impaired end-users. Packaging can easily include braille for blind consumers but because a relatively low percentage of these consumers can actually read braille, brands need to consider other methods of engagement too.

Brands should think about using raised standard symbols on their packaging to allow visually-impaired consumers to touch and understand the product better. This can be done by embossing and debossing, or through other forming processes. Tactile universal symbols would allow these buyers to feel what they are holding and as well as have better information for the kind of product contained within the packaging.

Similarly, branding and QR codes could be raised so that these consumers could feel the company name and know where to scan their smartphone to use the audio technologies that then become available. 

Accessibility appeals to consumers

Modern society is more aware of the needs of others, especially those in younger generations. A study by Accenture showed that 51% of millennials (consumers born between the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s) are more likely to buy products from brands that demonstrate awareness of inclusion and other social or environmental issues.

To be successful in our fast-changing world and marketplace, brands and products must consider the values that are becoming more important. Acknowledging those impaired consumers through thoughtful packaging choices would win over consumers across the spectrum.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our News section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


Luxury Packaging Awards 2020 finalists

IPL Packaging – Finalists In Luxury Packaging Awards 2020

Exciting News! IPL Packaging has been named as finalists in three categories for The Luxury Packaging Award 2020, and shortlisted for the most prestigious award: Luxury Packaging Supplier of the Year.

Luxury Packaging Awards 2020

CATEGORIES & PRODUCT PACKAGING FOR WHICH WE HAVE BEEN SHORTLISTED ARE: 

 

LUXURY DRINKS - SECONDARY PACK

Arran 21YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Tullibardine 15YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky

 

SPECIAL EDITION PACK - DRINKS

Glenmorangie Gifting Tin 

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting Pack

 

LUXURY PACKAGING SUPPLIER of the year 

IPL Packaging

A heartfelt thank-you to our wonderful clients & partners! We look forward to the announcement of the overall winners in December.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


Simple packaging errors to be avoided

In the packaging industry, simple errors can be made during both the design and manufacturing stages. With care, these can be avoided. While most processes in mass production packaging are automated, the higher-end luxury and premium sectors often have a greater labour component. This ensures exclusivity, but it can also be a source of errors in production. For this reason, quality control checks and visual inspections allow brands to find these mistakes and rectify them as soon as possible.

Sometimes, these errors are the result of a simple oversight or, possibly, they are made during a trial-and-error process to achieve a certain finish. Whatever the cause, here are four common packaging errors that brands can make and suggestions on how to fix or prevent them from occurring.

1. Design and artwork errors

Design and artwork errors are made before production. These can include simple spelling errors or visual problems, such as a shifting die line and misalignment of the artwork. Sometimes, these layout and visual mistakes are hard to see until they are printed out and wrapped onto a three-dimensional box in the sampling or pre-production stages.

Where there are variants of a design that will be printed on different iterations of a product in mass production, mistakes can creep into the packaging run. Dieline changes must be implemented in the layout before mass production of each variant.

Design, layout and artwork errors need to be picked up as soon as possible. They are impossible to rectify once products are manufactured, distributed and sold. These problems can often be avoided by following a certain set of parameters, from conceptual design mock-ups through to prototyping and pre-production, where strict oversight and quality controls are performed at each stage. This will ensure that these potential errors are picked up and rectified in time before becoming costly mistakes or affecting brand image in the marketplace.

Simple packaging errors to be avoided

2. Printing and production errors

Printing errors can occur during the print production process. Common examples of printing errors include out-of-register print layers, colour shifts when varnishes and coatings are applied, as well as contamination from dust or dirt on print plates. Registration and color matching are two areas that need constant attention during the printing process but these can be avoided if production runs are closely monitored by the press master and his printing team, using a light table along with other sophisticated light-measuring equipment.

When printing in cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK), each press pass adds another colour on top of the previous one. If the print plates are not property aligned (because of incorrect jigging), there can be an overlap of colours. Print runs can include 12 colours, so registration issues can become even more challenging with high wastage. Using highly-viscous spot varnishes over existing print may sometimes shrink on drying and pull back on themselves, leaving a varnish finish that is out of register.

Print errors that are not identified immediately and carried through to the end of a run can become costly as the entire lot then needs to be scrapped. If substandard print is passed to the manufacturing line for wrapping and finishing, the wastage costs will increase significantly due to high-quality rejections of the finished product. Compounding this are delays in delivery, which can then lead to very costly airfreight in order to meet deadlines.

3. Product integrity and fitment  

Many brands rely on some sort of inner fitment within the packaging to hold the primary product in place. This fitment can be made of a number of different materials and can be inserted for a number of different reasons, including being part of the aesthetic make-up of the pack. Importantly, the inner fitment is often included to protect the primary product when the package is moved about during transport. 

This ensures that the important branding elements on the product are correctly aligned when the package is opened. If the inner fitment is too loose, it may not perform as intended and the primary product could shift around. If the fit is too tight, it can make the removal of the product from the pack very difficult, resulting in an extremely frustrating consumer experience.

There are tests that can be performed to avoid fitment issues and protect product integrity. These include usage tests, where the primary product is inserted and extracted a number of times; security tests, where the loaded pack is turned face-forward to ensure it doesn’t open; and climate tests, where the pack undergoes extremes of temperature and humidity.

Simple packaging errors to be avoided

4. Transit damage

Even if a perfect pack is designed for a product and it looks and performs as intended, issues can arise during transportation. If the pack does not perform well during transit and either the product is damaged or the packaging itself is damaged, it can lead to a massive waste of time, money and effort. Damaged products and packaging can also have a negative effect on the intended brand experience. 

Products often undergo rough handling and shipment during road, sea, air or rail transport. Ensuring that the package will handle travel well is vital before mass production starts. Transit tests are often conducted before shipment. These include drop tests, where a shipper of loaded packs is dropped from a certain height, as well as a vibration test, whereby a shipper of loaded packaging is subjected to a vibration table for a number of hours. This purposefully-designed test ensures that neither products nor packaging are damaged during bumpy transit.

These are some examples of packaging errors that can affect products and brands. They are usually easy to address, provided they are spotted early in the development or production processes. By paying attention to the small details, brands can eliminate as many mistakes as possible and avoid lengthy delays, which can have profound cost implications.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our News section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.


Things to watch out for when embossing or debossing

Things to watch out for when embossing or debossing

Luxury packaging often has a tactile element that improves the feel of the packaging when in-hand. There are numerous ways to give packaging texture, but two of the most common methods are embossing and debossing. These two processes give dimension to the surface of the packaging and can offer enhanced customisability for premium brands.

When combined with foils, varnishes and other stylistic elements, an emboss or deboss can give the pack an even better quality feel. However, extra care in both the design and production processes are needed when producing packs with raised or lowered surfaces.

The substrate will have limits when embossing

Embossing is often used on paper-based substrates. Some papers work better than others. The design of the embossing tools will determine how far one can challenge the paper’s draw depth before problems start to arise. In addition, printing, foiling and lamination processes are usually done before the emboss. This means that a mistake in the emboss process could ruin all the previous applied finishes.

Whilst paper can be sensitive to the depth of an emboss, so too are substrates such as tin and aluminium sheets. Where an emboss and deboss are intended to be done close to one another, the spacing and depth of allowable draw of the substrate needs to be considered. Metals can also tear in these instances. Deep-drawing of softer metals can also create a noticeable and unwanted print colour change. Whichever substrate is being used, understanding its limitations is always very important.

Things to watch out for when embossing or debossing

Registration is a common mistake

One common issue that arises with embossing and debossing is the registration, or alignment, of the embossing tool with the printed artwork. Embossing is not a hugely complicated process, so apart from tool design, the most challenging part of the process is perfectly lining up the tools with the substrate artwork. Registration alignment of the paper with the artwork is done by using simple fixed paper guides on the press.

Poor registration will result in wastage if not picked up immediately. One way to solve misalignment of finer details is to block emboss. This involves embossing a basic shape around more detailed branding or logos. Attempting to emboss or deboss very fine details is not recommended.

Gluing paper to a substrate can flatten an emboss

Another common problem that can arise during the production process is gluing the embossed paper to a greyboard backing or other rigid substrate. When the paper goes through the rolling machine which applies the glue, it can flatten the emboss slightly. This can dilute the embossing or debossing effect, which can be further affected by the pressure of the rollers when the glue is applied.

One way to solve this problem is to glue the paper to the greyboard first and then emboss both board and paper together. This would, however, require a stronger press with more ability to apply pressure. Delamination of paper from the board does need to be considered when using this process.

Things to watch out for when embossing or debossing

What about embossing or debossing metals?

Paper and thin tin are commonly referred to as being embossed or debossed, whereas hard substrates, such as metals, wood, hard plastics will use different processes to attain similar effects, such as laser engraving, acid etching, stamping and pressing, or CNC routing and milling. The result is often the same with a raised or depressed part of the surface.  

Creating multiple levels of emboss and deboss on hard substrates, when using laser and other machining methods, is not as challenging as doing multilevel effects on soft materials. Furthermore, one needs to keep in mind that when achieving these effects on softer substrates, the required tools can be very expensive and result in larger amounts of wastage.

Other important factors to be considered when embossing and debossing various substrates:

  • Avoid embossing across a split line, such as a split door.
  • Avoid embossing around the corners of a pack.
  • Embossing extremely fine details can increase wastage significantly.
  • Trying to deep draw soft substrates can result in tearing and discolouration.
  • Embossing excessively large areas on softer substrates can result in a collapse where there is no supporting backfill.

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IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.