Pulp Fact not Fiction

Pulp Header Image

Traditionally associated with egg boxes and cup-holders, the emergence of molded pulp as a suitable medium for luxury packaging can be attributed to improved molding technologies and processes, as well as the increased need for high-end, sustainable packaging.

“Nowadays, with the technological improvements of molded fibre and pulp manufacturing, pulp can be viewed as a strong, durable and highly customisable solution able to be adapted to a variety of sophisticated packaging formats,” says Skye King, Senior Industrial Designer at IPL Packaging.

“Constructed from renewable and biodegradable resources such as recycled paper and cardboard, pulp is economical, has excellent cushioning properties, remains unaffected by extreme temperatures and can be moisture-resistant,” she says. “With recent advancements in technology we also now have a multitude of options when it comes to colour, texture and finish.”

“Thermoforming ‘wet press’ technology, for example, offers a refined ‘plastic smooth’ type finish – a style well-suited to secondary packaging for the likes of cosmetics, confectionery and fragrances, amongst others. It provides strength and rigidity.”

“With these benefits in mind we embarked on an NPD project that explored various packaging solutions, utilising pulp as a primary medium and primarily looking to test various design and printing options.”

Muller Fine Swiss Chocolate (Outer)

“For several chocolate and confectionery options we’re continuing to test foiling details, believing that foiling is particularly effective on monochromatic packaging – lending a metallic, sophisticated feel to the overall aesthetic.”

Muller Fine Swiss Chocolate (Outer)

“For yet other packaging options we continue to test options such as spot UV varnish, juxtapositioned with bright, vivid colours. Whilst for other solutions, such as the pen packaging design (pictured below), we’re able now able to bring colour through to a product with a curved, or molded shape rather than simply a flat surface,” says King.

“We also utliising embossing and deboss processes in order to determine how to maximise and make our packaging designs ‘pop’ in every way.“

Pen Packaging Design (Open)“Ultimately, our investigations have, and continue to provide great insight into pulp’s versatility,” she says. “Molded pulp is a superbly formable material providing endless design possibilities.”

“Because molded pulp is made by blending water with recycled paper or natural fibres, the different stages of pressing and drying can create different (rougher or smoother) finishes. Molded pulp can be colour-matched to any Pantone shade, ensuring your packaging aligns perfectly with your branding and product.”

“What’s more, we are able to add a variety of embellishments and design finishes to your molded pulp product, including emboss/deboss and various colour and shape options” explains King. “The final finish can range from natural – unbleached grey or brown – through to a thermo-pressed coating that looks and feels smooth and luxurious. The options and opportunities are infinite.”

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.

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