The Decorating’s in the Details
Suppliers have pushed the envelope as far as decorating bottles and cartons, and now some exciting new processes are on the threshold.
Bormioli Luigi used a two-tone spray, and applied a metal emblem to decorate the boldly colored bottle for the new VS Seduction Dark Orchid fragrance.
There are so many decorating techniques suppliers are using to achieve a multitude of different looks. Bottles are being sprayed with vibrant colors. Cartons are sporting flashy holographic foils. Metal caps and collars are often anodized or engraved.
Some suppliers are also addressing budget constraints, while others offer “green” decorating options. New processes and innovative materials have also been in development, which will make it possible for more complex designs to be executed in the future.
Spray coating continues to be a popular decorating option that’s requested often, especially for fragrance bottles. Richard Engel, executive vice president, Decotech, says, “The majority of our work includes using a spray coating, in some form. We often hear requests for opaque, translucent, multicolor, fades, frosted effects, pearlescent looks, masked out spray patterns and more.”
Decotech used a translucent spray and screen printing process to decorate the vibrantly colored bottles in Polo Ralph Lauren’s Big Pony collection.
Spraying glass can be an easy way for a brand to help consumers differentiate and select scent options, such as with Polo Ralph Lauren’s Big Pony collection. Customers can choose from one of four different scents. They are all packaged in the same bottle, which features the same design in different colors—blue, red, green or orange. The brand even allows buyers to customize their bottle by adding their name to the front.
Decotech decorated the bottles in the Big Pony collection. They feature vibrant colors, and Ralph Lauren’s logo. The supplier used a translucent spray with a one-color screen print on the front and back.
“Spray coating opens up the possibilities for what you can do with bottle deco without paying for feeder glass color or switching to plastic,” says Engel. “More and more clients are thinking of a bottle as a canvas. It almost doesn’t matter what the bottle shape is, if you have a stunning decoration on it,” he adds.
Olga Bursac, vice president of sales, Bormioli Luigi, agrees that spray coating is very popular— especially with the use of bold colors. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in requests for spray colors lately, and have been receiving a lot of requests for specialized colors from our customers,” says Bursac. Bormioli Luigi offers more than 170 different specialized color options, which are formulated in its lab.
The new fragrance by Victoria’s Secret Beauty, VS Seduction Dark Orchid, is in a bold fuchsia square bottle, supplied and decorated by Bormioli Luigi. The color was achieved using a two-tone spray. “Our customer wanted a very specific color, as well as a metal emblem applied to the middle of the bottle. This was a difficult project to execute, and one which had to meet our customer’s exact specifications,” explains Bursac, commenting on the VS bottle.
Bormioli Luigi is about to “officially” announce a new decorating technique and process it has developed that will allow a spray color to be applied to a bottle’s inner walls. When this technique is used on a bottle, it makes the decoration look very different than if the color was applied to the outside, which is typical.
Coloring a bottle’s inner walls has been done before, but the technique has some limitations. For instance, it requires a bottle to have a certain neck size, according to Bursac.
The new specialized spray tool that Bormioli Luigi has developed, in conjunction with a partner in Germany, will take this decorative effect to the next level. “It’s an amazing, beautiful process, which we will be officially unveiling soon,” says Bursac.
It will also offer more possibilities for unique decorative effects. The outside of the bottle can be decorated, in addition to the inside—for a huge number of different design combinations. For instance, two different colors can be used. Or, use one color on the inner walls of a bottle, and a logo on the outside.
“It was a very challenging development process, so we’re very excited about this launch,” says Bursac. “It also took a long time to ensure that all fragrance resistance tests were done on the color,” she explains.
When a fragrance bottle is sprayed, metal caps and collars can be colored in complimentary shades. This is often achieved using an anodizing process, or by buffering and lacquering.
“Anodizing, as well as buff and lacquer, are popular finishes for metal caps and collars. We offer both finishes in a rainbow of colors,” says Jim Bigham, sales manager, Eyelet Crafters.
Another technique that Eyelet Crafters has been using lately is decorating a stock cap all around—360 degrees. “Stamping or engraving all around can turn an ordinary cap into something that looks very special,” says Bigham.
Another fancy decorative effect is to add sparkle to a cap. “Different types of particles, such as brass or aluminum can be ground, and then suspended in a lacquer coating,” explains Bigham. “Different types of particles will result in either a shiny or subtle look,” he adds. For instance, brass becomes a shiny gold flake after grinding.
Colorful foils from Inifinty Foils
Foils are another popular decorating option—especially when a marketer wants a carton to pop on a store shelf. A large portion of a foil can be used as a design element, covering a carton in its entirety. Or, a metallic foil can be used to hot-stamp a product name or logo onto a carton, for a touch of glitz. Foils can also be used as a label on a primary package, such as a bottle.
“Foil stamping and embossing add an intrinsic value to a package,” says Jim Hutchison, president, Infinity Foils. The supplier’s sister company, Universal Engraving, manufactures the engraved dyes that suppliers use to apply foil and/or embossing onto a package.
“Foils aren’t reserved for premium packages anymore. Some of our customers have been using foils to represent a brand’s core value, and maintain a product’s image throughout its lifecycle,” says Hutchison.
Some of the trends in colored foils that are being used for beauty packaging that Hutchison has been spotting include deep metallics—in gunmetal, bronze, and even metallic black.
Hutchison also describes a unique effect that can be created using multiple foils. “When holographic foils in two different patterns are used, it causes light to move in different directions, while creating one unique image,” Hutchison explains. “This has been a popular technique.”
Other decorating options that package designers have been using more often is micro-texture embossing and Unifraxion on cartons, according to Hutchison. “These processes create different textures with micro-embossing, and refracting light and movement with Unifraxion patterns when the consumer picks up the package,” he explains.
“I’ve been seeing texture patterns that resemble animal skins, such as an alligator print, and dramatic eye-catching Unifraxion used on cartons and labels,” he adds.
Another trend many package designers and manufacturers are incorporating is debossing an image rather than embossing. “When combining a foil with a deboss effect, not only is the carton’s pick-up value increased, but now that the foil image is sub-surfaced the carton’s abrasion resistance is improved,” Hutchison explains.
When you want to create a unique decorative effect—but being ‘green’ is also important, you might expect that a flashy foil would not be environmentally friendly. But, when sustainability is your goal, your decorating options aren’t as limited as you might think.
“Fancy decorative effects, and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive anymore,” says David Lunati, vice president of marketing and business development, Monadnock Paper Mills. The supplier has a few new sustainable packaging options called Envi Portfolio. It includes many durable fiber-based secondary packaging options that can be decorated in different ways, and take the place of plastic.
Monadnock has partnered with Hazen Paper Company to offer its customers, which include Gap Inc. and Burt’s Bees, a number of new “green” decorating options—many of which can make a green carton shine. Hazen Paper Company’s Envirofoil can be used to decorate Monadnock’s FSC-certified paperboard, for a transfer-metallized or film lamination
Envirofoil by Hazen Paper Company is recyclable, unlike traditional foils.
What makes this type of decorative effect eco-friendly?The metal that is used in the paper to give it a metallic look is designed to remove easily during the de-inking process. Third-party recycling experts have tested Hazen Paper’s Envirofoil, and verified its recyclability. The supplier offers a range of holographic patterns, which can be converted to Envirofoil, and applied to a variety of products, including folding cartons, box wraps and labels.
Envirofoil isn’t new, but for many years its cost was an obstacle for most companies, according to Hazen. “Even if a beauty company wanted to be green, they didn’t want to pay more for packaging—and knew that consumers wouldn’t either. So we have been working to bring costs down, and we have—significantly,” explains Gloria Hazen. “All our manufacturing is now done in-house, which means a huge-cost-savings, which we can pass on to our customers,” she adds.
Durability can be another concern when a company chooses green materials, but Hazen says that it’s not an issue. “The technology has changed tremendously,” says Hazen. “Ten years ago, scuffing was a big issue on cartons made with greener materials, but these types of compromises aren’t necessary anymore,” she explains. “Plus, there are specific ways to properly design a carton, and certain coatings that can be used to ensure durability,” she adds.
Many brand owners have sustainability as part of their agenda, according to Lunati. “Consumers have shown that they care. Every beauty company should be pushing their suppliers to use greener materials and processes for decorating packages, because there are so many more affordable options now,” he explains.
Suppliers often have a few tricks reserved for executing the most difficult designs. Decotech uses its organic chromography technique when decorating an unusual bottle shape. “We use this technique for special jobs when it is difficult to decorate around corners and curved surfaces,” explains Engel. “It is a very specialized technique, and we are currently developing three items that will be decorated this way, over difficult angles,” he says.
Bormioli Luigi’s Bursac says they will often develop new processes and tools necessary to accomplish new design challenges. “Our clients expect us to reach new levels in decorating techniques, with each new project,” says Bursac.
Next time you need your supplier to surprise you with innovation, try letting them suggest a decorating process that would be best to execute your design concept. Engel says that the best innovations always happen when his customers don’t specify how they want a design achieved. “This allows us to figure out how to most effectively execute a customer’s design concept. Approaching each new project in this way often leads to the creation of a few new decorating tricks, and fantastic techniques,” he explains.
There have been quite a few recent challenges at Decotech that sparked the creation of innovative decorating techniques. Engel recalls one project, when an extremely complex spray mask had to be developed in order to execute the design. Another project involved hot-stamping three custom foil colors, and overlapping them on the same panel.
Engel adds, “The relationship we have with our customers will continue to make it possible for us to keep pushing the envelope, and continue to achieve even more difficult designs in the future.