IPL Packaging - Royal Salute - 1-Preview

Fit for Royalty

IPL Packaging - Royal Salute - 1-Header

Fit for Royalty

It’s always a privilege to produce exquisite packaging, perhaps even more so when the design displays an enchanting visual identity and, in this case, encapsulates the rich British Heritage of one of the world’s finest whisky brands.

IPL Packaging translated creative designs by London agency, Boundless Brand Design, into two resplendent paper-wrapped rigid board packaging solutions for distinctive Royal Salute whisky expressions, the 32 Year Old (The Precious Jewel) and the 38 Year Old (Stone of Destiny).

IPL Packaging - Royal Salute - Together

Both packs feature overlapping front doors complete with foil stamping and branded, diamond shaped aluminium plaques (one large and one small) featuring in silver on the rich blue 32YO pack and gold on the red 38YO pack. Both boxes also include double-sided magnets and metal plates to secure closure as well as keep doors secure when flapped open. A ribbon is centered on the outer door edge to assist with opening.

The inner doors and compartments of both boxes reflect intricate illustrations in beautiful foil stamped, matte varnished detail that perpetuate the feeling of luxury and indulgence. Complementing the exquisite decanters within, the fine detailing helps the brand to deliver boldly on shelf and to exceed typical gifting expectations.

32 YEAR OLD

IPL Packaging - Royal Salute - 32YO

The Inspiration: The Honours of Scotland (known as the Scottish Crown Jewels), an iconic set of jewels belonging to the British Monarchy, that have long since been protected by the Scots and hidden away from those who sought to destroy them.

The Design: Much like the tapestries adorning the walls of British royal palaces, the gift box design is filled with intricate details that bring to life the incredible stories connected to the British Monarchy, Scottish landscape and flavour profile of the whisky itself.

38 YEAR OLD

IPL Packaging - Royal Salute - 38YO

The Inspiration: The Stone of Destiny, a legendary symbol of Scotland’s Monarchy. Now housed at Edinburgh Castle, this sacred object – a block of red sandstone – has been an integral part of the inauguration ceremony of the monarchs of Scotland, and later the Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom, for centuries.

The Design: All Kings and Queens of Scotland have their own unique stories, though what entwines them is being crowned atop the Stone of Destiny at Scone Palace. The gift box design pays tribute to the unique journey of each ruling monarch and their ability to influence their own destiny.


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 lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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


IPL Packaging - Metaverse - Header

The Metaverse: A Virtual World offering Real Opportunity?

IPL Packaging - Metaverse - Header

The Metaverse: A Virtual World offering Real Opportunity?

By now, we’re all aware that the future is digital, but does this mean that the future will also be virtual?

The ‘Metaverse’ is being hallmarked as the next giant step in human communication and commerce, but to many it remains a foreign concept associated with Mark Zuckerberg and Meta. That’s because attempting to picture a future controlled by a new abstract technology can be rather overwhelming and it’s easy to feel lost.

Here we aim to take a broad view of this new reality, and what it potentially means, at this fledgling stage, for the future of both retail and packaging.

A (Tentative) Look into the Metaverse

So, what exactly IS the Metaverse?

In short, the Metaverse is a virtual-reality space in which users are able to interact with a computer-generated environment and with other users. The term originated with gaming platforms such as ‘Second Life’ that create virtual worlds in which virtual characters could explore and socialise.

Given how integrated the Metaverse currently is with the internet and current technologies, mainstream audiences fail to grasp what is so unique about it. That’s because, in its current state, the metaverse is largely just an extension of the internet and another tool to connect virtually. This is set to change rapidly though. Zuckerberg and many other leaders of the industry have said we are 5-10 years away from the metaverse truly being realised.

However, the very early stages of e-commerce in the metaverse are already here. Amazon has incorporated early Metaverse technology into its marketplace. Its newest AR shopping tool, Room Decorator, allows users to see what furniture and other home décor will look like in their own spaces. They can view multiple products together, and even save the AR snapshots of their room to review later.

© architecturaldigest.com

In another example, high-end sunglass brand, Warby Parker, has a virtual try-on app that allows users to try on every pair of frames in its product catalogue before buying. This enables them to buy products online without having to take a leap of faith as to the product’s fit for their face.

Offering new ways for brands to reach their customers, enhancing experiences and facilitating new revenue streams, the Metaverse symbolises incredible new potential for e-commerce particularly as, more recently, this has expanded to online retail and packaging experiences able to connect a physical product with a digital world.

Luxury in the Virtual World

There’s always an expectation for luxury brands to provide more than simply their wares; customer experience, bespoke add-ons, personalisation and cutting-edge innovations are part and parcel of the industry. But, as the market evolves with an up-and-coming generation and digital demands grow, luxury retail needs to adapt to serve the evolving needs of consumers.

The very concept of the metaverse is changing the face of the luxury industry. Today, there is now an expectation from consumers in this space that they will be met with enhanced customer experiences, especially of the digital kind.

In terms of providing a more remarkable customer experience, Gucci took to gaming platform Roblox to host a virtual exhibition. Players could purchase digital models of genuine Gucci products for a small amount of in-game currency. It was a new and unique experience for Gucci fans. It was also a way to create a new revenue stream as they sold digital representations of Gucci products in the form of NFTs.

IPL Packaging - Metaverse - vendomtalents.com

© vendomtalents.com

As part of a multi-experience campaign Johnnie Walker launched its seven bottles from its rare Master of Flavour series, each valued at US$35,000. They were all sold in crypto currency within just three minutes – via a virtual experience that offered buyers the chance to own seven extremely rare, vaulted bottles of blended Scotch whisky paired with seven one-of-a-kind works of art.

IPL Packaging - Metaverse - robbreport.com

© robbreport.com

Adapting to The Future of Digital Packaging

In an ever-changing world, it’s vital for both brands and packaging designers and suppliers to seek out longevity and innovation by delivering ever-more engaging experiences to consumers.

In evolving their secondary packaging solutions for the Metaverse, brands can create an exceptionally unique experience for consumers because, though digitally enhanced packaging is becoming more commonplace, it’s essentially still unique.

By adapting to the future of digital packaging early, brands can be viewed as cutting-edge and forward-thinking. By integrating products and packaging into the Metaverse brands can also engage consumers in an entirely new and interactive way, utilising the opportunity to make strong and meaningful connections with younger audiences and creating an intimate level of marketing to a generation who have scrolled on social media for over a decade.

How Would it Work?

We have ideas about how the Metaverse will unfold, but beyond these insights, there is also a significant amount of ‘white noise’. What we do know, at this stage, is that the virtual world opens up new scenarios for customised packaging experiences, virtual unboxing, and testing new designs

For a start, ‘Metaverse Packaging’ can be created through Augmented Reality. This entails allowing consumers to view products digitally within their environment, for example, by clicking on a web link or by scanning a QR code. The link or QR code could then bring up a product in 3D on a user’s interface (e.g. a mobile phone or tablet) and allow them to place this within their physical environment through the camera on their device. Thus, integrating the physical and digital world.

Retail environments can also be created virtually for a consumer to experience a ‘store’ in the Metaverse. This could be a replica of an existing store or something completely new and artificial! Naturally, this would require virtual packaging! The future of virtual retail opens the door for new opportunities in unique interactive packaging experiences. Not only that, but brands will also have to start thinking about how their packaging design may differ for this virtual world, just as they had to rethink packaging design for ecommerce.

IPL Packaging - Metaverse - campaignlive.co.uk

© campaignlive.co.uk

Options and Opportunities

Packaging for products online and in-store could also differ, as there are unlimited abilities with digital packaging and the way products can be presented to consumers in the digital world. Packaging in the virtual world can be enhanced with interactive visual effects and providing virtual ‘unboxing’ experiences where consumers can digitally unbox the product.

A whole array of options exist; on-shelf packaging maybe doesn’t have to be as protective or have the same regulatory requirements. So you may actually be able to have different packaging. In other instances the packaging may need to be accurate to exactly what the consumer receives. There may be a variety of different requirements depending on the product or industry. There are multiple facets that this whole new digital or physical packaging world can encompass.

However, whatever the question marks today, by learning more about the Metaverse and becoming more involved, opportunities to succeed will become easier.

Embracing the Metaverse may be challenging right now, but taking on that challenge will reap long-term benefits tomorrow. A new door for e-commerce is open for brands and packaging suppliers that dare step through it.

See you in the Metaverse!


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 lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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


IPL Perspectives - Preview - Rene Lombard - Gerhard Daniels

IPL Perspectives | Rene Lombard & Gerhard Daniels

IPL Perspectives - Banner - Rene Lombard - Gerhard Daniels

IPL Perspectives:

Rene Lombard & Gerhard Daniels

In July’s IPL Perspectives feature, we sat down with two of our experienced project managers, Rene Lombard and Gerhard Daniels.

Often responsible for ensuring projects tick over smoothly, it’s not always plain sailing in the project management department. Our PMs are often faced with navigating extensive briefs, coordinating multiple stakeholders and delivering on client expectations. What does it take to get a brief into production and a project over the line? Hear from Rene and Gerhard on the below topic:

In your opinion, what are some of the common mistakes associated with packaging briefs and how do you overcome them?

Read their responses below.

Rene Lombard | Project Manager

I would list the following points as some of the more common challenges faced with packaging briefs:

  • Unrealistic turnaround times i.e. from inception of the brief to delivery of finished product;
  • Luxury packaging expectations delivered at rock bottom prices;
  • Automation vs Manual processes that deliver varied advantages and disadvantages and need to be taken into account;
  • An unclear, open-ended brief or indistinct direction with too many options to be explored;
  • Expectation of perfection with zero tolerance for necessary changes or amendments where required;
  • Lack of understanding sustainable goals related to brand, finding the balance between sustainable goals (waste reduction) and associated material costs.

Special materials, the design, look and functionality, the quality requirements, whether the product is sustainable, how it should be received in the market; these are all aspects to be considered when sourcing for the perfect packaging solution.

Each buyer feels that their product deserves a place in the world and one cannot displace the “wants” from the “needs” and this is where the challenges originate. I feel it’s important that a customer understands that one needs to be open-minded to understand that changes to a brief are sometimes inevitable.

I feel this quote covers the right approach to facing the challenges; “It does not matter how sweet you can sing a song of love. You must know how to dance along with it. You can’t dance “salsa dance” on a “reggae song”.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

As global packaging specialists we take a hands-on approach to guiding and assisting our clients in finding exactly the right direction, materials and methods recommended for their specific needs and addressing their desired outcome. And that’s the magic, when it all comes together like a sweet symphony!

Gerhard Daniels | Project Manager

It’s always exciting to see new ideas come across my desk, knowing that I could be part of bringing a concept to life. What begins as a seed of inspiration, rolls out to a brief – and ultimately the delivery of an end product.

The devil lies in the details though. For any project to be executed timeously, the brief is a crucial element as it sets the tone – it also helps to dictate how we approach our buying sources – and could have a major impact on the timeline of the project.

Many of the more challenging briefs to execute are those where visual stimulation essentially overrules practicality. When it comes to secondary packaging, functionality and aesthetic appeal are both of crucial importance. A buyer should always ask: what do I want, what am I willing to pay, and when do I need it? These questions outline what a good brief should encompass.

Converting an idea into a final product requires methodical thinking, planning, executing and managing all aspects of the production process. To bring this all together: the brief should take into account the brand identity, the right choice of materials for the product, the product’s intended purpose, the manufacture packaging to intended requirements, where it is required, and if the product is sustainable.

For the end product to appear on a shelf, it needs to travel through various departments in the business – as a basic overview:

  • Design needs to execute how the product will identify with the brand;
  • Engineers must study the design to see if it is structurally sound, is fit for purpose and functions within the parameters of the brief;
  • Operations and Logistics must check how the product will travel to the markets and what the packaging requirements are to deliver the product in good condition;
  • Project Management needs to ensure the smooth dialogue between sales and supply.

Challenges inherent in a brief could include:

1. Unique designs that are dependent on significant development and testing; 2. Requested materials that are not fit for purpose; 3. Unrealistic timelines; 4. Submitted artworks that are not print-ready; 5. Unworkable budget constraints.

I would urge all buyers to factor these elements in their brand brainstorming sessions. Effectively addressing these issues will assist greatly in minimising any delays in cost estimates or having to extend development and testing periods and run the risk of projects exceeding their budgets and missing crucial deadlines.

GET INTO

THE MIND OF...


Each month we ask our “Perspectives” features a few questions to provide you with a little more context and insight into their job roles as well as themselves.

RENE LOMBARD

I’m a Project Manager responsible for planning, organising and allocating the resources needed to execute the completion of specific secondary packaging requirements while ensuring these projects are on time, on budget, and within scope. I champion promoting respect, kindness and consideration amongst co-workers. I’m the head of the Social Committee promoting fun and interaction within the workplace. This part of the role is not on the payroll!

My morning starts with a bit of meditation and reflection which helps keep my brain fresh and ready to tackle any challenge presented in the day! Positive thinking plays a key role in obtaining the results. Oh, and of course the oh-so-important cuppa java….the racing fuel to ‘rev up my engine’.

The flexible working model, part in office, part off-site works really well, it ticks all the boxes.The brain actually is stimulated more in this type of model because there is variety. For me it breaks the cycle of monotonous routine being exposed to different surroundings. This, in turn, contributes to a higher level of creativity and productivity.

To learn to operate a wider range of power tools as I do enjoy DIY Projects!

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Rene Lombard
Gerhard Daniels

GERHARD DANIELS

As project manager, my role is to ensure smooth communication, control and management between the expectations from our client via our sales teams versus the requirements from our various supply project teams, in what’s needed from our suppliers.

On the mornings that I commute to work, it’s all about dealing with traffic and having my first cup of coffee. It’s then a dive into discussions with our supply project teams and dealing with and reviewing and discussing challenges and general catch up on project timelines.

I prefer a hybrid work schedule. On the one hand it’s vital to have face-to-face interaction with colleagues, on the other there’s a benefit in not having to deal with traffic on a daily basis.

I’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language and plan to take up French lessons in due course.

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Cincoro Header Banner

A Slam Dunk for Cincoro

Cincoro Header Banner

A Slam Dunk for Cincoro

The name Cincoro translates to ‘five gold’ in Spanish (‘cinco’ – five, ‘oro’ – gold) and pays homage to the five founding partners of Cincoro Tequila and their pursuit to create the gold standard in tequila. As proud packaging partners for this ultra-premium brand, IPL Packaging designed and produced a pack that would distinctively complement the exquisite Cincoro tequila itself.

Cincoro-Paul-Aresu-forbes.com

©Paul Aresu forbes.com

Beyond the fact that Cincoro is uniquely made with 100% Weber Blue agave, the original story behind the brand is a compelling one. In 2016, a group of friendly professional basketball rivals, Emilia Fazzalari and Wye Grousbeck, Jeanie Buss, Michael Jordan and Wes Edens met for dinner.

Not long thereafter, the five new friends took the bold step of starting a company from scratch, ensuring their vision for a new style of tequila that today offers four luxurious, award-winning expressions.

Behind the Pack:

Designed as an impressively tall box, enabling it to hold a 1.75L bottle of tequila, the pack is constructed primarily of black MDF with a gloss varnish that lends it a lustrous finish.

Created in the shape of a pentagram in order to mirror the cross-section of an agave leaf, the pack creates a visually arresting appearance. Both the front (the apex) and top of the box feature striking electroform decal logos in gold, with the sides and back of the pack each displaying a metallic silk screened logo and matt black branding details

A sleek, electroplated black metal handle assists with opening and closing the magnetized ‘door’.

Cincoro Image 2

Black electroplated piano hinges (covered in a black suede-like fabric on the interior) allow for a 180-degree opening of the box in order to fully showcase the splendor of the bottle within.

The lid and base of the inner box both contain full length EVA fitments wrapped in black suede lining with the tequila bottle shape recess. This recess is designed to contain a sleek, contemporary and unique bottle; a glass ‘sculpture’ of the agave leaf that highlights the liquid, with a five-sided base and topped with a king’s crown crystal stopper.

Cincoro Image 3

The entire case is contained in a drawstring black suede-like bag, finished with a gold Cincoro logo. This is offered further protection with the provision of a sturdy, Cincoro-branded rigid board carry case with handle.


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 lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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


IPL Perspectives - Preview - Glen Broomberg - Este van der Merwe

IPL Perspectives | Glen Broomberg & Esté van der Merwe

IPL Perspectives - Banner - Glen Broomberg - Este van der Merwe

IPL Perspectives:

Glen Broomberg & Esté van der Merwe

This month we spoke to our Head of Global Business Development, Glen Broomberg, and our Senior Graphic Designer, Esté van der Merwe, for our IPL Perspectives feature.

A hot topic we’re often faced with in the packaging industry is the difference between luxury and premium, which can often come down to an individual’s perception. This is why we asked Glen and Esté to share their unique perspectives on the topic, relating to their different job roles:

In your opinion, what qualifies certain packaging solutions as ‘luxury’ vs ‘premium’…and what do you see as the differentiators between these packaging segments?

Read their responses below.

Glen Broomberg | Head Global Business Development

Sometimes it’s really a hard ask to separate the terms ‘premium’ and ‘luxury’, most especially for brand owners who would like to believe their premium brand fits into a luxury category. I think, for me, a lot of this is driven by WHO the customer is, WHAT the product is and WHERE it is positioned in the market.

Premium products are those that are seen by the consumer as being of a top-level quality and comparable to other category leaders in that space. They generally cost more than average and to justify this, they need to be superior.

From a Packaging point of view, they also need to therefore “look nicer” so the consumer believes the product is differentiated and worth the premium price.

Luxury items, however, can often be viewed on their own, and surrounded by less ‘noise’ or ‘clutter’ in terms of potential similar items in their space. Luxury is the step above and, more often than not, the packaging we design for these products reflects this in the final execution.

Buyers purchase luxury products almost always for emotional reasons or those to do with prestige. Therefore In the world of ‘luxury’ packaging, details and visual impact matter tremendously.

It all starts with choosing the right substrate. Different materials excel at different things, of course.

The key luxury brand (and by extension, packaging) challenge: to create a credible status symbol and differentiate from other products that are just as desirable, sought-after or luxurious.

All products however, need to sit on shelf and stand out as unique. For us as packaging suppliers (and for our design team) this comes through in creating extraordinary differentiation, whether this is for the premium or the luxury space.

One of the most important aspects of getting this right would be to ensure that branding marketing teams and the packaging supplier (incl. product management and design teams) are on the same page about the product positioning!

Esté van der Merwe | Senior Graphic Designer

When tasked with a request for secondary packaging the first things to consider are BRAND, PERCEPTION and CURRENT COMPETITORS.

As designers, we need to effectively convey brand identity through all aspects of the packaging, not just create something aesthetically pleasing or that simply delivers from a functionality standpoint. This requires an in-depth look at all those details that ultimately bring the pack and brand together.

The difference between ‘Premium’ vs ‘Luxury’ comes down to a delicate balance. I feel the differentiation is through the ‘message’ the packaging sends to consumers and how this is conveyed. ‘Premium’ packaging does so with a strong sense of ownership, there’s, of course, real purpose in what materials are chosen, which latch or fitment is used (i.e. a custom latch taking inspiration from the logo, for e.g.)

The devil is not always in too much detail though. Seemingly simpler, more minimalistic looking packs can appear more premium than those featuring multiple foils, emboss, varnishes or UV inks. Premium design is decisive and clever – utilising the full arsenal at a designer’s disposal but, at the same time, always taking into factors such as cost and remaining true to the brand’s sustainability objectives..

‘Luxury’ is a different mindset. Here we are often tasked to create packaging for a product that is regarded as exclusive, limited edition or even ‘one of a kind’. The packaging needs to reflect this exclusivity through use of materials or substrates of the same nature. With the ideal packaging substrate, structure, coatings and finishes, you will impress high-end buyers and stand out from the competition.

A 50 year old whiskey is rare, worthy of materials that seem like they have aged with the product. With these more limited pieces, packaging materials such as solid wood, glass, metal inlays and leather finishes can often be used to demonstrate superior quality.

In a nutshell, creating ‘premium packaging’ is about working smart, exercising enough restraint to compete with other market leaders but not over-capitalising on the packaging. ‘Luxury packaging’ starts with a luxury product and the packaging must differentiate it and reinforce its value. Sophistication and that ‘something special’ is expected when exclusivity is on the table and the packaging needs to underpin the fact that the product is worth its price. It’s also essential to bear in mind that more and more luxury consumers are aware of waste, and so sustainable (yet luxurious ) materials play a vital role in this segment too.

In the instance of both premium and luxury brands, it’s important that both consider design changes once in a while. Even though luxury brands often have fewer competitors to worry about, it’s still possible for loyal customers to grow tired of the same design cues. Maintaining the same identity and values is important, but it’s still advantageous to add creative energy to a package to generate renewed or continued interest.

GET INTO

THE MIND OF...


Each month we ask our “Perspectives” features a few questions to provide you with a little more context and insight into their job roles as well as themselves.

GLEN BROOMBERG

My job is to enhance and develop relationships globally with key clients, old and new, finding opportunities and developing these with our sales teams, creative teams and the clients’ own internal resources.

I get up every morning between 5:30 and 5:45, make a cup of coffee and then spend the first hour of my day responding to various emails from clients or our teams and also reviewing any web enquiries that have come through that portal.

Definitely the office! It always seems to contribute to better efficiency without being distracted by the comforts of home.

To be more measured and patient and recognize that everything takes time. It’s that part that sometimes frustrates me…the time it always takes to do things.

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Glen Broomberg
Esté van der Merwe

ESTÉ van der MERWE

I am a Senior Graphic Designer who specialises in visual communication in secondary packaging. I find ways to translate client needs into feasible and functional packaging concepts that deliver on the consumer, design and brand levels.

Strong coffee (a big cup too) – then a verbal catchup with the team. Creatives are a community and we celebrate that by challenging each other and our ideas. Devil’s advocate is a happy role we play to suss out any potential problems in our packaging designs. A thick skin is a necessity in this line of work!

I enjoy both. I like the weekly round table with the team, it’s a good stimulus and enriches concepts and helps put ideas into perspective – or helps you bin the ones that just never would have worked. At home I get the opposite as I also enjoy the hours spent unravelling a creative thread down to the last mm with no distractions.

I would love to write children’s books, then illustrate them as well. I love storytelling and do that through my job daily – but to live on someone’s little person’s shelf as a favourite author would be a hidden dream come true!

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The Cost of Conflict - Header

The Costs of Conflict

The Cost of Conflict - Header

The Costs of Conflict

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves through the global economic system and oil prices soaring into the stratosphere. Moreover, the shuttering of two global markets has had immediate implications for shipping, particularly within Europe, and has significantly impacted critical brand commodities, including wheat, aluminium, glass, paper and steel.

All of this creates yet new challenges for brands and packaging suppliers and other industrial casualties of war. On top of existing supply chain issues, lingering COVID uncertainty and labour shortages, already unstable oil and gas supplies have been thrown into further turmoil as Europe phases out its dependency on Russian energy as part of its portfolio of sanctions.

Almost no economic sector will emerge unscathed following the Ukraine war. Though Russia and Ukraine’s global trade share does not exceed 2%, both countries remain crucial commodity exporters. In addition to energy exports, Russia and Ukraine export agricultural products such as wheat, corn, sunflower oil and fertilisers. Russia is also one of the world’s largest suppliers of rare metals, while Ukraine is the world’s leading supplier of rare gases. This significantly impacts the global semiconductor and automobile industries, amongst so many others.

Commodities as Casualties

Impacting the sourcing of so many materials and substrates, the ongoing conflict naturally has many ramifications on the packaging industry:

The Cost of Conflict - Materials

At first glance, the European paper packaging sector seemed to be relatively unaffected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. However, on 28 April CEPI (the European Association representing the paper industry through its 18 member countries and some 895 pulp, paper and board mills across Europe) stated its mills were taking the difficult decision to temporarily stop production due to the extreme energy price increases following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The organisation stated the situation appears unlikely to improve in the months to come and that the lasting impact of the currently ongoing crisis and recent breakdown of the energy system is deeply concerning.

Price and supply of raw materials like fiber, starch and other chemicals is further escalating paper packaging production costs.

In addition, the supply of wood is set to undergo a series of changes due to both harvests reaching their peak in Central Europe and the ongoing war on Ukraine. Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine also supply a considerable amount of the softwood used to manufacture pallets and packaging in Europe. The European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) predicts significant pressure on the supply of pallets and packaging in Europe as soon as in the coming weeks.

Wood Sourcing on the Line

Wood-based packaging appears one of the most impacted sectors for now due to European suppliers’ dependence on timber from the region. According to the European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB), Ukraine is a key source of sawn softwood timber for Western European markets.

“The severe slowdown in the Ukrainian economy and halted production will have a serious and direct impact on big importers of softwood: Hungary, Italy and Germany. Across Europe we will see growing competition for more limited wood supplies and an upwards pressure on prices,” said the FEFPEB in a statement. The trade sanctions against Russia, a major exporter of spruce and pine, and Belarus will “significantly impact Europe as well,” added the Federation, warning that the industry should also be prepared for rising energy costs.

There are also few commodities precious to as many industries as steel. Alongside oil, this ubiquitous commodity underpins the world as we know it – a key material in everything from skyscrapers and cars to washing machines, railway and secondary packaging materials. One reason for concern is the sheer size of the Russian and Ukrainian steel industries. Russia is the world’s third biggest steel exporter, behind only China and Japan, while Ukraine is the eighth largest. Now Russia’s invasion threatens to turn steel into a luxury commodity. Shortages are imminent, prices have surged, and the rally is likely to be felt everywhere, adding to global inflationary pressures.

Another energy-intensive industry (as well as one that largely relies on petrochemicals), it is likely that the war in Ukraine is bound to pose additional challenges for the plastics value chain as many producers reduce activity whilst watching profit margins collapse.

Packaging procurement: ‘Just in Case’ replacing ‘Just in Time’?

The Cost of Conflict - Procurement Planning

© Masterclass.com

“Successful packaging procurement and supply chain configuration lies in the complex co-ordination of product, process and logistics. The complexity has intensified with recent events like the U.S.-China trade war, Covid-induced disruptions and the current Russia-Ukraine military conflict,” says Faizal Kassim, Operations Director at IPL Packaging. “Many companies once sceptical about the idea of re-shoring and multi-sourcing are starting to reexamine their options,” he states. “They are living through an era of extreme uncertainty, and all of a sudden ‘just-in-case’ sounds more reasonable than ‘just-in-time,” he says.

“Ultimately, procurement teams will need to rely on a robust and resilient packaging supply ecosystem and full transparency of packaging material specifications,” says Kassim. “For packaging suppliers, it is now more imperative than ever to have a centralised, effective, in-house system for understanding packaging specifications. This would enable one to seek or switch to alternative suppliers where necessary, explore avenues for replacing materials, and identify where bottlenecks may occur,” he says. “This approach can help companies to make targeted interventions to still meet sustainability targets. In fact, reusable or secondary packaging could also be a potential solution to supply shortages or establishing more sustainable alternatives.”

Close Collaboration is Key

The Cost of Conflict - Collaboration

© internetworld.de

“Packaging suppliers are operating at maximum capacity as demand surges and the availability of raw materials tightens,” continues Kassim. “As lead times escalate, brands and businesses may have to prioritise particular shipments.”

“Brands will therefore need to establish an ever closer and more collaborative relationship with their packaging suppliers to secure order fulfilment. Similarly, packaging suppliers will need to rely ever more heavily on their established relationships with manufacturing partners and consistently investigate and look to alternative sources,” he says. “This could include negotiating material substitutions or alternative production facilities, as well as looking at streamlined supplier onboarding as a potential solution.”

“The aim should therefore be to gain a better understanding of how to cope with supply shortages in each segment. Each element of the packaging process – from material to manufacturing (incl. energy usage), transport and logistics has its own set of risks that need to be factored into strategies to mitigate supply shortages and provide a strong base for decision-making,” states Kassim.

“The ongoing conflict has tragically impacted lives and livelihoods all over the globe and we need to stand united in the time of need. We can only hope for peace and stability across Europe moving forward.”


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 lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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


Transit Testing Header Banner -colour

Shakes, Rattles and Rolls

Transit Testing Header Banner -colour

Shakes, Rattles and Rolls

One of the most vital elements protecting a product from structural or environmental damage is the packaging in which it ships. Whichever packaging substrate is employed, the utmost care needs to be taken to ensure the packaging meets requirements to avoid damage during transit.

Packaging and Quality Control experts are proficient in the requirements and steps needed to take to ensure product integrity during shipment. Transit or Packaging Testing offers brands, retailers and manufacturers the best means to anticipate how products will perform in shipping – and can also evaluate whether any sustainability changes (i.e newer and have more eco-friendly packaging alternatives) have jeopardised the protective quality of the packaging.

Key Benefits of Packaging Testing

  • Protect and Safeguard the Product;
  • Save on Costs. Each Time a Product is Damaged During Shipping, Money;
  • Strengthen Customer Satisfaction;
  • Reduce the Need for Trial Shipments;
  • Reduce Product Claim Headaches;
  • On-going production monitoring, product design changes for sustainability efforts or other reasons.

Transit Testing - Banner 1

Packaging testing can be done at many stages of the product cycle: prior to new product launch, with new packaging redesigns, when product damage is an issue in your company, or when your clients require testing. The best way to prepare is to include testing as early in the packaging design as possible.

Testing for package product integrity and performance is conducted by certified packaging laboratory professionals to a wide variety of ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) performance testing procedures. ISTA is an international organisation dedicated to improving packaging methods – a leader in specifications for the testing of packaged products worldwide.

At IPL, an in-house Quality Control Team oversees all Transit Testing – which falls into 4 overarching categories.

Below are prime examples of each – though this is by no means all of the tests conducted:

1. PRINTING/COATING QUALITY TESTS

  • Coating adhesion (Handred Grid) testing to evaluate the performance of paint/electroplated coatings;
  • Alcohol resistance testing to assess ink solubility in alcohol;
  • Sutherland Rub to evaluate the abrasion resistance of paper-wrapped coatings;
  • UV light fastness testing to evaluate the light-fastness of coatings;
  • Scotch 3M Tap test to determine adhesion of foils, varnish, paints etc.

2. FUNCTIONALITY

  • Bottle fitting to ensure filled bottles can be held securely when placed both upward and inverted;
  • Bottle Pull strength tests to determine the extraction force required by the consumer;
  • Clasp function to ensure optimum operability;
  • Magnetic Flux strength to verify the gauss value and ensure any magnetic component function effectively.

Transit Testing - Banner 2

3. SAFETY

  • Sharp edge testing to assess the risk of puncture or scratches that may arise under normal or reasonable use;
  • Lid and Base strength tests to ensure product safety;
  • Hinges, handle and neck fitment strength tests;
  • Mildew test to assess whether flocked or microfiber parts face being compromised under wet atmospheric conditions;
  • Odour tests to ensure product is unharmful to human health;
  • Salt Spray tests to assess whether any metallic components are prone to oxidation or rust under prolonged wet weather conditions.

Are your packages being handled with care? 😉

4. RELIABILITY

  • Shock testing (Unit and Carton) to assess handling, drop and impact;
  • Vibration testing to assess transportation vibration;
  • Torque Testing to assess the impact of twisting force of parts is reasonable;
  • Atmosphere testing to assess environmental effects (temperature, humidity, and pressure);
  • ECT (comprehensive resistance) test to assess whether the material of the shipper/Outer meets the requirements of usage.

Each and every packaging solution entails detailed audits, supervision of production lines and verified outputs in order to achieve the exacting standards brands have come to expect in a competitive global marketplace. Packaging suppliers and partners must adhere to the highest standards in product safety and reliability, safe working conditions, fair treatment of workers, and environmentally safe manufacturing and transportation of products.

Transit Testing - Banner 3

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 lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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


Gulfstream Mooncake Box_header

Fly Me to the Moon

Gulfstream Mooncake Box_header

Fly Me to the Moon

There’s often a story behind luxury packaging…and sometimes a little magic. That’s certainly what we felt in producing Gulfstream Aerospace’s custom mooncake boxes, a packaging solution celebrating The Chinese Moon Festival and the magical legends that surround it.

But first, some context: The Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Mooncake or Mid-Autumn Festival, brings families together to celebrate the autumn harvest under a full moon. One of the most common practices of this annual festival is the eating of mooncakes – dense, sweet pastries that are baked or steamed and typically enjoyed with tea. Mooncakes are presented to relatives and friends to wish them a long and happy life.

Gulfstream Mooncake Box-Image 3

Gulfstream, one of the best known names in business aviation and a world leader in the manufacture of private aircraft, tasked IPL with producing a striking gift set, comprising four packages housed in a luxurious box to be sent to customers and prospects in celebration of the festival.​​​​​​​ The gift pack was successfully delivered last year, and led to a repeat order for 2022.

Gulfstream Mooncake Box-Image 2

The 2021 pack is comprised of a rigid board outer box wrapped in pre-dyed paper with copper-toned foil stamping and an inner rigid board frame wrapped in a Metpol (foil) paper to provide a striking offset to the deep blue outer-box.

Inside the box sit four mooncake 400gsm softcard boxes, each portraying a simple, rich image (by means of foil stamping and including anti-scratch gloss lamination) and introducing a warmth, richness and holiday spirit of fun to the pack.

Gulfstream Mooncake Box-Image 1

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 lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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


IPL Perspectives - Preview - Karen Groenewald - Patrick Leclezio

IPL Perspectives | Karen Groenewald & Patrick Leclezio

IPL Perspectives - Banner - Karen Groenewald - Patrick Leclezio

IPL Perspectives:

Karen Groenewald & Patrick Leclezio

In our most recent IPL Perspectives feature, we spoke with Karen Groenewald and Patrick Leclezio.

Karen works within our design department as a Senior Packaging Designer, while Pat heads up the Product Development and Innovation for IPL Packaging in the UK.

This month’s feature focused on the various challenges when it comes to aspirations and implementations – something our design and NPD teams need to work closely together on to ensure seamless execution. We asked Karen and Pat to share their unique perspectives on the below question, relating to their job role:

What are some of the challenges you face in ‘matching’ a client’s design aspirations to practical implementation?

Read their responses below.

Karen Groenewald | Senior Packaging Designer

The design of luxury packaging needs to pay homage to the prestige of the contents, with painstaking attention to detail and refined elements – the visual hallmarks of luxury. The challenge for myself and others, as packaging designers, is therefore to ensure that the final product successfully upholds and enhances the brand messaging and identity, creating desire, portraying quality and prestige and ensuring continuity and cohesion in brand messaging. Functionality should also be considered, down to the ease and elegance of handling or opening of each package.

A further consideration is that, with the exponential growth in social media and e-commerce activity, we’ve seen an increased focus on the ‘unboxing experience’ of luxury goods. For many brands, consumers expect a sensory feast that engages their senses and ‘closes the gap’ between online shopping and the tactile enjoyment associated with the physical or in-store experience. In these instances, where excellent packaging is memorable, worthy of special gifts, and tempting to share on an individual’s social networks, one of our main challenges will always be to create an experience of anticipation and discovery, a ‘unique personal journey’ as each feature is revealed.

A significant challenge we face as designers is marrying the above objectives with the strong push to environmentally friendly packaging. Sustainable practices and materials are also no longer optional. Eco-conscious shoppers expect the reduction or eradication of extraneous materials and the use of more environmentally sound materials, in conjunction with high style and attention to detail.

This is an exciting and challenging area for us in packaging design especially as new materials and eco-innovations are unveiled, and as our knowledge and understanding of new materials and supplier capabilities are expanded.

In some instances, sustainable packaging alternatives are not yet as cost-efficient as the more traditional materials and production practices and in other areas it is difficult to achieve the same luxury cues whilst being completely sustainable. Really understanding the client’s brief and objectives becomes critical. Most times it is not an ‘all or nothing’ scenario but rather understanding finding the ‘sweet spot’ that will deliver the best outcome for the client.

In some instances, the challenge is actually not only to reduce the amount of packaging (and therefore waste), but also to make what you do use as luxurious and reusable as possible. This often entails looking at other ways that the packaging can have a secondary life, not simply as a vessel to carry the products or to display the product. Our aim as designers must be to try to minimise any costs through clever design and material usage, production efficiency and the utilisation of improved supply chain solutions.

Patrick Leclezio | Head of Product Development and Innovation

I find that these challenges for the most part fall into one of three categories:

Firstly, a client’s packaging aspirations may have been inspired by designs with inherent manufacturing problems, which would then need to be overcome, worst case at the expense of an element dear to the client. Ideally we would be given the opportunity to guide and influence the design process, as we would do when working with our own Design Team, to mitigate against such problems arising, but this is not consistently likely.

Secondly, and often related to the first point, the design or materials specified are not feasible at the budget available to the client, or within their time-frame. This would typically require “value-engineering” solutions, or other workable alternatives, to be developed and proposed to resolve the impasse. The best result would be to arrive at a satisfactory outcome without compromising on any critical elements, but typically a sacrifice of some sort has to be considered.

Thirdly, a ‘value-add’ is expected, which in recent times has been mostly focused on making a design more eco-friendly and enabling clients to progress their sustainability goals. This challenge at its core requires solutions that maintain the same performance standards without adding material cost.

In each case the set of skills that we, as an NPD team, look to bring is to surmount these challenges without detracting from the spirit of the design, or by improving on the design.

GET INTO

THE MIND OF...


Each month we ask our “Perspectives” features a few questions to provide you with a little more context and insight into their job roles as well as themselves.

KAREN GROENEWALD

I look to understand our clients’ brand DNA and their unique packaging design requirements. This requires in-depth research, ideation, conceptual design and development. Once a particular direction has been established, every fine detail of the design is placed under the lens. The final step is the creation of the final artwork for production.

In addition to this, I always look to share interesting packaging, design & innovation news and insights with the marketing and sales teams in a bid to inspire creativity and encourage innovation.

First, I check that the snooze function on my phone is still working 😉 Coffee helps me get going with the rest!

I prefer working from home. I find it easier to focus and creatively ‘zone in’ when I’m in my own space.

Connect on LinkedIn
Karen B&W2
Pat B&W

PATRICK LECLEZIO

I am the Head of Product Development and Innovations, in addition, I manage with Neil Macaulay, our UK Director, the day-to-day operations of our European business, my focus being the supply side of things.

I dedicate the first portion of my day to engaging with our team in China. At 8am in Cape Town it’s 2pm in Guangzhou, so there’s a limited window of time to deal with pressing matters.

I have no real preference. I’ve become accustomed, over time, to working from a laptop from a variety of locations – from airports, aircraft, hotel rooms, cars during the long commutes to factories, from various offices, and from home. The transition to working remotely, and then to a blended format during the pandemic, has been fairly seamless for me as I’ve been doing this, in one way or another, for many years.

To play an instrument or to learn to dance well, neither of which I have any great aptitude for. I guess this will make it even more satisfying if I get there!

Connect on LinkedIn

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Header Image

Sustainability that Beats the Boring

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Header Image

Sustainability that Beats the Boring

Ongoing research, combined with testing and trialling initiatives, are enabling packaging suppliers at the forefront of environmental trends to supply a wide variety of materials and components designed to exceed client expectations and, ultimately, achieve their sustainability objectives, whilst also ‘beating the bland’.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Sustainability Sample Set 3

As part of our desire to fulfil our clients’ eco-objectives, we developed a Sustainable Material Sample Set showcasing a variety of tried-and-tested, practical and, naturally, environmentally conscious packaging alternatives.

The result is a ‘snapshot’ of different green options amid ongoing efforts to test sustainable packaging approaches and materials.

To us, it’s a brief glimpse into what the future of packaging holds.
…Stay tuned for more!

Solutions for tomorrow. Already available today.

Designed as a series of eight wrist watch boxes, each outer pack boasts a series of striking designs, printed using soy and water-based inks, and finished with emboss, deboss and biodegradable foil detailing.

Utilising rigid board as the base material, each element of the packaging was tested, trialled and selected with a commitment to quality and efficiency at every step.

All paper-wraps are sustainable and reflect options such as stone paper (a type of paper made from calcium carbonate 80% (limestone) and bio-polyethylene resin 20% (HDPE)), wood-free paper (created exclusively from chemical pulp rather than mechanical), and bamboo paper, with no lamination.

Each box has a different inner fitment showcasing different sustainable options.
The variety of inner fitments showcase:

Soft card, cork, PET felt, IXPE Foam, wood, moulded pulp and biofoam.

1. Stone paper wrap, emboss & deboss, soy-based ink.

Moulded pulp inner fitment.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Stone paper wrap, emboss & deboss, soy-based ink

2. Wood-free paper wrap, emboss & deboss, soy-based ink.

Biofoam inner fitment.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Wood-free paper wrap, emboss & deboss, soy-based ink

3. Wood-free paper wrap, emboss & PU-free foil, soy-based ink.

Recycled PET felt inner fitment.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Wood-free paper wrap, emboss & PU-free foil, soy-based ink

4. Bamboo paper wrap, emboss detailing, soy-based ink.

IXPE foam fitment.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Bamboo paper wrap, emboss detailing, soy-based ink

5. Stone paper wrap, PU-free foiling, soy-based ink.

Two-part soft card inner fitment.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Stone paper wrap, PU-free foiling, soy-based ink

6. Textured bamboo paper wrap, deboss, soy-based ink.

Two-part wrapped rigid board inner fitment (FSC greyboard).

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Textured bamboo paper wrap, deboss, soy-based ink

7. Bamboo paper wrap, emboss, soy-based ink.

Solid wood inner fitment.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Bamboo paper wrap, emboss, soy-based ink

8. Wood-free paper wrap, textured soy-based ink print.

Cork fitment.

Sustainability that Beats the Boring - Wood-free paper wrap, textured soy-based ink print

The scope of opportunity and innovation for sustainable packaging has multiple dimensions and, though valuable in reflecting the options available, the Sustainable Sample Pack places emphasis only on the relevance of packaging materials in the sustainable packaging development.

Renewable, recyclable and biodegradable materials are not the only option for a better carbon footprint for your product and it’s imperative that we view this as a holistic process that will hopefully continue indefinitely as brands and suppliers work together to reinvent and simplify sustainable packaging approaches across the packaging supply chain.


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 lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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