Stimulating the senses

Reviewing the modern innovations that lead consumers to buy one product over another based on physical composition, labeling and packaging.

Personal care product packaging has entered a new era of ultra-customisation in which nearly everything is possible, and careful choices must be made by design teams in order to effectively communicate to consumers. “In the cosmetics and personal care product industry, where competition is so high, packaging design is crucial because otherwise consumers don’t have a clear way of differentiating the quality of a product without opening it,” explains Gabriel Alvarez-Jacobo, Managing Director of Imagemme, a New York based packaging design and branding agency.

In the last three to four years, there has been an increased focus on the variety of print effects for labels and their impact on consumers, according to Simon Wildash, Head of Marketing for Payne, a global provider of packaging products that focuses on the confluence of easy opening, the ability to re-seal, and creative design and print, to provide branding communication and protection. “People are looking at tactile finishes; they are looking at smell and, obviously, at the high visual impact – building in the metallics or holographics, or very nice colour shifts and ink effects.”

Tube technologies

In the visual arena, tubes have been the focus of some of the most dramatic technological strides forward in recent years in decorative capabilities, particularly advances in inks and varnishes, and new label and printing processes. “We’re going to see a lot of development in expanding the decoration that you can traditionally do on tubes,” says Alvarez. For example, developments in techniques for printing around the entire tube and even the foil have solved the challenge of limited space on the tubes, he explains.

Bruno Lebeault, Marketing Director for Hong Kong based Viva Healthcare Packaging, points to their latest breakthrough: injection moulded tubes with in-mould labelling, “which is a revolutionary technology in the plastic industry”. Viva Healthcare makes its own cast polypropylene (CPP) that is then printed on a ten station printing press. An additional CPP layer is then over-laminated, at which point the in-mould label is ready to be inserted into the Sumitomo high precision injection moulding machine with robotics. A decorated and fully formed tube is produced, which can be topped with in-house manufactured caps. “The result gives the following benefits to the brands: outstanding graphics that are photo quality and can cover 100% of the tube surface, outstanding metallic effects, lead times that are halved and very high sustainability.”

One of most exciting modern developments in personal care products packaging is the capacity to mix printing techniques, says Lebeault. “Nowadays, a printing press can mix offset, flexo (flexography), silk screen and cold foil.”

Impactful visuals, tactile elements and even scent are being employed in beauty label design to maximise consumer appeal

Meanwhile, Switzerland based Neopac, a leading tube provider in the premium segments of the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and dental industries, has revolutionised the process of printing on its Polyfoil tubes. It offers hot stamping, silk screening, metallic and pearlescent finishes, and varnishes that protect the tube and provide a variety of effects, from high gloss and silky to coarse and matte, using lacquers. Its most sophisticated decorative process is hot foil stamping. “Whether for wafer thin gold or silver lines, lettering, logos or full surfaces with reverse script, we can create impressive relief effects with a combination of screen print and hot foil stamping,” says a spokesperson for Neopac. The company also offers product finishing with decorative closures of either metal or plastic.

Cap appearance has become a popular way to additionally differentiate a product. Companies are experimenting with new possibilities such as hydro printing or hot stamping the caps, as well as the use of metal over shells. “Benefit, for example, just recently came out with a cap for a product line that has a cork texture to it. They used hydro printing to create that cap. That’s so innovative and hasn’t been used a lot; well, not yet,” says Alvarez.

Additional benefits

Packaging companies are also adding holographic decoration capacities to their portfolio, which add significant on-shelf impact as well as a premium feel to their brands. Payne has also introduced holograph technology employing a technique that it claims differs from other companies, using hot stamps to create holographic packaging. Wildash notes: “You can never say for certain, but we believe that our combination of the print and the holographic effect is something different out there.” This new technique is called HoloSense, and became part of Payne’s range at the beginning of this year.

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