The carton for Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea Cherry Blossom uses an uncoated stock with intricate hot stamping from Curtis Packaging.
New Norms in ­Cartons

Beauty brands are eyeing sensory-stimulating display cartons that are sustainable and quick to produce.

Overall, beauty packaging is a strong growth market for folding cartons, according to the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) in Springfield, MA. U.S. sales of cosmetics and toiletries grew 2.4% to reach $36.5 billion in 2010, topping pre-recession sales levels. “Researchers attribute this boom to advancements in product efficiency, higher consumer confidence and compelling marketing promotions, explains Kim Guarnaccia, director of marketing and communications, at PPC.

Currently, the skin care industry comprises the largest portion of total beauty industry sales, accounting for 25% of the market share. The fastest growth was seen in makeup, where sales grew 4.4% in 2010. One trend noted here: Rather than purchasing individual products, consumers are saving money by buying cosmetic kits that contain various components of an entire makeup routine or skin-care regimen, as well as attractive extras, such as instructional booklets. “This represents an opportunity for the folding carton industry, as the majority of these kits are made of paperboard,” says Guarnaccia.

Sales of anti-aging cosmetics, many of which also are packaged in paperboard, are expected to increase 5.8% per year and should reach $8.5 billion by 2015. Additionally, as non-white consumers gain purchasing power globally, ethnic cosmetics and hair care products have become a growing segment of the beauty industry and many of these products are packaged in paper-based cartons, Guarnaccia says.

As sustainability becomes more important to both consumers and retailers, more widespread eco-related changes are expected to occur in packaging, such as greater use of recycled paper products, according to The Paperboard Council. PPC members report that a majority of their customers are now specifically requesting to use paperboard made from certified, managed forests. “Using paperboard packaging rather than other, less sustainable substrates such as plastic is an obvious choice for eco-conscious brand-owners, as paperboard is unmatched in terms of its sustainability, recyclability and sturdiness,” she notes.

Quick Turnaround

With speed to market a growing criterion, some beauty companies have turned to hybrid folding cartons instead of rigid set-up boxes, due to cost and lead times, according to Dennis Bacchetta, director of marketing, at Diamond Packaging. “Diamond’s QuikSet hybrid design provides an attractive alternative to rigid set-up boxes, featuring direct application of graphics and stamping or embossing, flat shipping and storage and easy set-up,” he explains. The company also offers assembly through its contract packaging division, Diamond Contract Manufacturing (DCM). The proximity of DCM, adjacent to its folding carton plant, helps minimize shipping costs and reduce turnaround times.

The QuikSet structure consists of a lid and a base that is reinforced so that it has the feel and finished edges of a rigid set-up box. “Due to Diamond’s design and production efficiencies, we can provide a cost-effective replacement for rigid set-up boxes, with shorter lead times since they are manufactured and assembled in the U.S. rather than overseas (e.g., China),” Bacchetta says.

Elizabeth Arden’s White Diamonds gift set employs Diamond Packaging’s QuikSet design for a set-up box look.
Elizabeth Arden’s White Diamonds Gift Set employs the QuikSet design. “White Diamonds epitomizes singular star quality—radiant, extraordinarily rare, and overwhelmingly beautiful. The gift set packaging needed to be as captivating as the product,” he explains.

The carton features metallized polyester board and intricate embossing accents. The mirror-like finish of the metallized polyester film makes it a perfect choice for conveying the striking graphics, Bacchetta notes. The carton was offset printed with transparent gold, dense black and opaque white inks, in-line with UV high gloss coating. Dome-embossed round diamonds reinforce the White Diamonds brand. DCM provided fulfillment, including adding pad stiffeners to the base and lid, fully assembling vacuum form trays and polybagging the units.

“The result is a gift set package that delivers impact in the retail environment, with the look and feel of a rigid set-up box, in a fraction of the time and at less cost,” he says.

Sustainable Options

To meet the growing requests for sustainable products, Diamond recently introduced its Green Chic packaging, which incorporates multiple technologies, which are all applied in-line: TruColor expanded color gamut (ECG), specialty coatings (e.g., Emboss, Pearl, Soft Touch, Texture), and effects and decorations (e.g., Liquid Metal and MiraFoil metallic UV coatings, Cast and Cure holographic effects). “Upscale or luxury brands can now support environmental concerns without sacrificing identity,” explains Bacchetta.

The company’s new “Four Seasons” carton series demonstrates these technologies in packaging that represents each of the four seasons. All of the samples were created utilizing Diamond’s unique Synergy (tapered tuck and seal end) structure. The cartons also incorporate a QR code which, when scanned, directs users to Diamond’s green website. “The upscale decorative techniques are a natural evolution of Diamond’s greenbox initiative and exemplify Diamond’s Green Chic model—“Beauty without Compromise”—by capturing the essence of luxury brands through more sustainable converting methods. Through creative design, careful material selection, and best practices at the plant level (including the use of 100% renewable wind energy), companies can minimize waste, reduce shipping costs and increase efficiencies—all of which support a sustainable use of resources and cultivate a positive emotional connection to the brand,” says Bacchetta.

Creating a Unique Look

Beauty brands are constantly looking for ways to make their products pop. Paperboard packaging is versatile, and new decorative techniques and materials provide a wide range of options.

“At Tullis Russell, we have noticed a definite trend in the requirement for a higher whiteness of board.For example, perfume and cosmetic boxes which were previously fully covered with heavy solid inks are now opting for lighter ink coverage,” says Arnaud Jouvance, premium packaging sector manager, Tullis Russell Papermakers.

“Higher whiteness can not only make the product more attractive, but can make it stand out from the crowd on shelf, giving it an understated luxury quality,” he says, noting that this must not involve any compromise in the aging performance of the board. “Our new trucard bright white 1 and 2 matte is such a great choice for printers and brand holders alike.”

Jouvance points out that there is also a very definite trend toward the use of uncoated grades such as the company’s trucard 0 matte and felt. “The natural surfaces of board like this respond to the desire to make brands feel more ‘human’ and match up well with the increasing use of natural ingredients in the products themselves,” he says.

Donald R. Droppo, Jr., president & CEO, Curtis Packaging, has also seen some companies choosing uncoated stocks or the inside of a Coated One Side (C1S) SBS board. “In 2012, we’ve produced numerous global launches on either uncoated stocks or the inside of a Coated One Side (C1S) SBS board.This trend combines the softness of the printed colors and the “tooth” of an uncoated stock for a tactile feel that designers revere,” he explains.

Details, Details, Details

Beauty packaging requires an incredible amount of precision and creativity to execute to the level customers demand.

Printing on uncoated stocks or on the backside of C1S SBS is an art, says Droppo.“The challenge with printing on uncoated stocks is that the ink gets absorbed into the substrate.It acts as a sponge.As a general rule, crisper images can be printed on coated boards as the inks don’t absorb into the coating.However, the softness and tactile feel of the uncoated stocks provide a unique finish that can’t be easily replicated on coated stock.”

For example, says Droppo, the color blending on vignettes provides a spectacular look on uncoated board. “What’s also critical about UV printing on uncoated stocks is anticipating how much ink will seep into the board and still have it come out of the press completely dry, thus preventing off-set. At the end of the day, our clients need these more sophisticated tactile effects to demand attention on crowded shelves,” he says.

The Beyoncé line was recently awarded Best Applied Decorative Hologram by the International Hologram Manufacturers Association.
Elizabeth Arden, for instance, recently launched Green Tea Cherry Blossom on an uncoated stock with intricate hot stamping, achieved by Curtis.

Droppo says embossing has “also become standard on virtually all beauty cartons regardless of mass or prestige.What was once an option appears to be the norm.” He adds:“I can’t remember the last time we produced a launch for the beauty industry that didn’t include embossing.”

Micro embossing for cartons is also gaining in popularity.“This decorative technique allows a large surface of the box to have an embossed paper look, while leaving other sections smooth,” explains Howie Greenberg of Allstate Paper Box. “When used with a mylar paper, this makes for a great looking foil enhancement on the packaging.”

Greenberg also notes that borders are becoming more popular: “Printing and wrapping borders on setup boxes adds a level of difficulty, but with proper planning and production, the end result can really make the package shine.”

Registered holography is a new development that Curtis is embracing. “Coty used it for the first time in a beauty packaging application for the Beyoncé Pulse line, which was recently awarded Best Applied Decorative Hologram by the International Hologram Manufacturers Association. “In this process a dedicated hologram creates a template for the rest of the design to overprint. The technique allows a designer to create a truly three dimensional image with movement behind it,” Droppo explains.

Curtis is also investing in a new digital precision coating press that will be online in Q4 2012. The new technology will allow customers to achieve detailed and super-raised high gloss effects with a tactile feel.

Feel Appeal

Estée Lauder's Mad Men, with an embossed texture, harnesses the power of touch. The carton was supplied by Arkay Packaging Corp.
The sense of touch is also being used increasingly at Arkay Packaging, where Gregg Goldman, director of sales, says, “A trend that we are seeing at Arkay is anything that gives the carton unique tactile properties.” He adds: “In the past, this may have required additional cost and lead time through the use of rare boards or materials. So we’ve worked to address that challenge.”

Arkay created a coating called “Touch,” which has a powdery feel. “When someone touches a carton with this coating, you can see them hang onto it to feel the unique texture,” he says.
Another way to provide a tactile experience is through embossed textures, either overall or in spot areas—sometimes combined with spot coatings for visual contrast. “If a consumer is drawn visually to a package, that’s great. But if that same person then holds the package—and has a memorable sensory experience—the odds are that they will purchase the product,” Goldman notes.

HLP Klearfold’s clear packaging adds stature to product launches and produces maximum shelf appeal.
A Clear Option

Sometimes the best allure is having the product shine right through the carton. When this is the case, a brand often selects a clear carton. HLP Klearfold supplies a range of clear packaging, including plastic folding cartons, and supplies clear tubes, rounds and custom thermoforming. “The well-executed visual packaging adds stature to product launches and produces maximum shelf appeal,” says Steve Frazier, president of HLP Klearfold North America.

Transparent Packaging Inc. features a variety of scented transparent cartons that smell like baby powder or fresh cotton, for example. “We created a Baby Powder scented A-PET folding carton, which was a retail success for apparel maker QSD,” says Pascal Rapone, operation manager at Transparent Packaging Inc.

For the project, Transparent Packaging’s team designed a hexagon shaped folding carton and then an encapsulated fragrance varnish was applied to the outside of the carton. It releases the fragrance when a consumer handles the package. If it is intentionally rubbed, it will release more fragrance.Transparent Packaging has more than 60 stock fragrances available, plus the ability to apply custom fragrances. The process has been used for beauty applications with a scented plastic carton for hair care product packaging, perfume packaging, and promotional packages.