Firstly, we want to provide a glossary of packaging terms to help keep customers and first time packaging buyers right. Most of these are relatively self explanatory, but knowing the below terms will assist with the design and print of your packaging.
- Package: The container or wrapping material used to enclose and protect a product.
- Primary Packaging: The immediate packaging that directly contains the product, such as a bottle, box, or blister pack.
- Secondary Packaging: The outer packaging used to group and protect primary packages during storage, transport, and retail display, such as a carton or shrink wrap.
- Tertiary Packaging: The packaging used for handling and transporting multiple units of secondary or primary packages, typically for bulk shipments, such as pallets or stretch wrap.
- Packaging Materials: The materials used to create packaging, including paperboard, corrugated board, plastic, glass, metal, and flexible materials like films and foils.
- Labeling: The process of attaching labels or tags to packages for identification, information, or branding purposes.
- Barcoding: The use of barcode symbols on packaging for automated product identification and tracking.
- Tamper-evident: Packaging features or seals designed to indicate if a package has been tampered with or opened.
- Sustainable Packaging: Packaging materials and practices that minimize environmental impact, such as using recyclable, biodegradable, or renewable materials.
- Child-resistant Packaging: Packaging designed to prevent children from accessing potentially harmful substances or objects.
- Overpackaging: The excessive use of packaging materials, resulting in unnecessary waste and environmental impact.
- Shelf Life: The period during which a product remains usable, safe, and maintains its quality under specified storage conditions.
- Package Testing: The process of evaluating the performance, durability, and functionality of packaging through various tests, including drop tests, compression tests, and transportation simulation.
- Package Design: The creation of visually appealing and functional packaging that communicates the product’s identity, brand, and features.
- Cushioning: The materials used to provide protection and absorb shocks during transportation or handling, such as foam, air pillows, or bubble wrap.
- Palletization: The arrangement of packages or products on a pallet for efficient storage, handling, and transportation.
- Print Finishing: The application of decorative or protective finishes to packaging, including coatings, varnishes, laminates, or embossing.
- Point of Purchase (POP) Display: Promotional displays or stands placed at retail locations to attract customers’ attention and encourage product sales.
- Graphics and Branding: The visual elements, colours, logos, and information displayed on packaging to communicate the brand’s identity and attract customers.
Next we will get into more of the technical terms, firstly-
What does Dieline mean?
A dieline is a digital or physical blueprint or template that represents the shape and layout of a packaging design. It is essentially a 2D representation of the packaging design that includes all the necessary structural and design elements of the packaging, such as the dimensions, cut lines, folds, and glue areas.
A dieline serves as a guide for packaging manufacturers or printers to create the physical packaging. The dieline is typically created by a packaging designer using specialiSed software such as Adobe Illustrator or ArtiosCAD. The dieline can be provided to the manufacturer as a digital file or printed on paper.
Once the manufacturer receives the dieline, they will use it to create a physical mockup or prototype of the packaging design. The manufacturer will print the design on flat sheets of the packaging material, cut and score it along the dieline, and then fold and glue the pieces together to create the final packaging product.
A dieline is a crucial element in the packaging design process because it ensures that the final product will meet the design specifications and fit the product it is intended to contain. It also ensures that the packaging design can be efficiently produced in large quantities and with minimal waste.
Spot Colour in packaging
Spot colours, also known as solid colours or Pantone colours, are specific premixed ink colours that are used in printing, including printed packaging. Unlike process colours (CMYK), which are created by combining different percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, spot colors are pre-defined and standardised inks with specific colour formulas.
Spot colours are created by using inks that are mixed according to the Pantone Matching System (PMS), which is a widely recognised colour matching system used in the printing industry. Each spot colour is assigned a unique number, such as “PMS 185” for a specific shade of red.
Using spot colours in printed packaging offers several advantages:
- Colour Accuracy: Spot colours provide consistent and predictable colour reproduction across different printing processes and substrates. This is particularly important for maintaining brand identity and ensuring that specific colours match corporate branding guidelines.
- Vibrancy and Intensity: Spot colours often offer more vibrant and intense colour results compared to process colours, which can be important for creating impactful packaging designs.
- Special Effects: Spot colours can include metallic, fluorescent, or other special-effect inks that are not achievable with standard process colours. These inks can add unique visual elements to packaging designs.
- Colour Matching: Spot colours can be precisely matched across different printing projects and over time, allowing for colour consistency in packaging designs even if produced by different printers or at different times.
- Limited Colour Palette: Spot colours can be useful for designs that require a limited number of colours, reducing the complexity and cost associated with using multiple process colours.
It’s worth noting that spot colours may require additional production steps and incur extra costs compared to using process colours. However, they are often used in packaging designs where colour accuracy, vibrancy, and consistency are of utmost importance.
Embossing in Packaging
Embossing is a decorative technique used in packaging to create raised or three-dimensional designs or patterns on the surface of paper, cardboard, or other packaging materials. It involves the use of special dies and pressure to press the material, creating a raised effect.
The embossing process typically involves the following steps:
- Design Preparation: A design or pattern is created specifically for embossing, taking into account the desired raised areas and overall aesthetic effect.
- Die Creation: A metal die is made to match the desired design. The die consists of a raised surface that will create the embossed pattern when pressed onto the packaging material.
- Application of Heat and Pressure: The packaging material is placed between the embossing die and a counter die, which provides support from the opposite side. Heat and pressure are applied to the dies, causing the material to deform and take on the raised pattern of the embossing die.
- Cooling and Setting: After the embossing process, the material is allowed to cool and set, retaining the raised design.
Embossing can be used to add texture, depth, and visual interest to packaging designs. It can enhance the tactile experience of the packaging, making it more engaging and memorable for consumers. Embossed elements can include brand logos, patterns, text, or other decorative motifs.
There are different types of embossing techniques used in packaging, including blind embossing (where the raised design is created without any additional ink or foil), registered embossing (where the embossed design is aligned with printed elements), and combination embossing (which combines embossing with other techniques like foiling or printing).
Embossing is often used in high-end or luxury packaging to create a premium look and feel. It can be found on various packaging components, such as cartons, labels, sleeves, or even on the surface of flexible packaging materials.
Flexographic printing, also known as flexo printing, is a popular printing method used in packaging. It is a versatile and cost-effective printing technique that is particularly well-suited for large-scale production runs. Flexographic printing is commonly used for a wide range of packaging materials, including flexible films, labels, corrugated boxes, paperboard, and more.
In flexographic printing, the design to be printed is engraved onto a flexible relief plate, typically made of rubber or polymer. The plate is mounted onto a rotating cylinder known as the plate cylinder. The printing surface of the plate contains raised areas that correspond to the desired image or text to be printed.
The flexographic printing process involves the following steps:
- Prepress Preparation: The design or artwork is prepared for printing, including colour separation, image setting, and plate creation. The design is divided into separate colours or layers, and each colour requires a dedicated printing plate.
- Plate Mounting: The relief plates are mounted onto the plate cylinders of the flexographic printing press. The plate cylinders transfer the ink onto the packaging material.
- Ink Application: The ink is applied to the ink fountain or chambered doctor blade system of the printing press. As the plate cylinder rotates, the ink is transferred from the plate to the printing surface, while excess ink is wiped away by the doctor blade.
- Printing: The packaging material is fed through the flexographic press, and the plate cylinder comes into contact with the material, transferring the ink onto the substrate. The printing can be done on various substrates, including paper, plastic films, and corrugated board.
- Drying and Finishing: After printing, the ink on the packaging material needs to be dried or cured, typically using a combination of heat, air, or UV light. Once dry, the printed material can undergo additional finishing processes such as varnishing, laminating, or die-cutting.
Flexographic printing offers several advantages in packaging:
- Versatility: Flexo printing can be used on various substrates, including both porous and non-porous materials, making it suitable for a wide range of packaging applications.
- High-Speed Production: Flexo presses can run at high speeds, allowing for efficient production of large quantities of packaging.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Flexographic printing is generally more cost-effective than other printing methods for large production runs, as it offers fast setup times and minimal waste.
- Solid Coverage and Vibrant Colours: Flexo printing can achieve vibrant colours and solid coverage, making it suitable for bold and impactful packaging designs.
- Compatibility with Different Inks: Flexo printing can utilise a variety of inks, including water-based, solvent-based, and UV-curable inks, providing flexibility in choosing the right ink for specific packaging requirements.
Flexographic printing is widely used in the packaging industry, particularly for applications such as flexible packaging, labels, corrugated boxes, and folding cartons.
Lithographic printing, also known as litho printing or offset printing, is a popular printing method used in packaging. It is a high-quality printing technique that is well-suited for a wide range of packaging materials, including paperboard, cardboard, and other flat substrates.
In lithographic printing, the image or design to be printed is transferred from a printing plate to a rubber blanket and then onto the packaging material. The process involves the following steps:
- Prepress Preparation: The design or artwork is prepared for printing, including colour separation, image setting, and plate creation. Each colour requires a separate plate, and the design is divided into the necessary colour components.
- Plate Production: The design is transferred onto metal plates through a photosensitive process. Each plate corresponds to one colour in the design.
- Ink Application: Ink is applied to a series of rollers within the printing press, which then transfers the ink to the printing plates. The ink is typically oil-based or UV-curable.
- Image Transfer: The inked image is transferred from the printing plates to a rubber blanket cylinder. The blanket cylinder then presses the image onto the packaging material, with the inked image being offset or transferred indirectly to the substrate.
- Printing: The packaging material is fed through the lithographic press, and the rubber blanket cylinder comes into contact with the material, transferring the inked image onto the substrate.
- Drying and Finishing: After printing, the ink on the packaging material needs to be dried or cured. Drying can be achieved through air drying, heat drying, or UV curing. Once dry, the printed material can undergo additional finishing processes such as varnishing, laminating, or die-cutting.
Lithographic printing offers several advantages in packaging:
- High-Quality Printing: Litho printing provides excellent print quality with sharp details, smooth gradients, and accurate color reproduction, making it suitable for intricate packaging designs and high-end products.
- Wide Substrate Compatibility: Litho printing can be used on various substrates, including paperboard, cardboard, and other flat materials, allowing for versatility in packaging applications.
- Large Print Runs: Litho printing is efficient for large production runs, making it cost-effective for packaging jobs with high volume requirements.
- Pantone Colour Matching: Litho printing allows for precise colour control, including the use of Pantone spot colours, ensuring colour consistency across different packaging materials and print runs.
- Finishing Options: Litho-printed packaging materials can be easily combined with additional finishing techniques such as embossing, foiling, and spot varnishing, enhancing the visual appeal and value of the packaging.
Lithographic printing is commonly used for various types of packaging, including folding cartons, labels, high-end product packaging, and promotional materials.
Digital Printing in Packaging
Digital printing is a modern printing method that involves the direct transfer of digital files onto various substrates without the need for traditional printing plates or cylinders. It is a versatile and flexible printing technology that is widely used in packaging and other printing applications.
In digital printing, the image or design to be printed is created or prepared digitally using computer software. The digital file is then sent directly to a digital printer, which uses advanced inkjet or laser technology to apply the ink or toner onto the packaging material. The printing process involves the following steps:
- Prepress Preparation: The design or artwork is prepared digitally, including colour adjustments, image resizing, and layout optimisation. The digital file is typically in a format such as PDF, TIFF, or JPEG.
- Printing: The digital file is sent to a digital printing press, which contains inkjet printheads or laser beams. The inkjet printheads spray tiny droplets of ink onto the packaging material, while the laser beams create electrostatic charges to attract toner particles onto the substrate.
- Ink or Toner Fixation: After the ink or toner is applied to the packaging material, it undergoes a fixation process to ensure adhesion and durability. This can involve heat, pressure, or UV light, depending on the specific digital printing technology.
Digital printing offers several advantages in packaging:
- Shorter Turnaround Time: Digital printing eliminates the need for traditional plate-making processes, reducing setup time and allowing for quicker production turnaround. This makes it ideal for on-demand or just-in-time production.
- Variable Data Printing: Digital printing allows for customisation and personalisation of each printed item. This means that different packaging units can have unique content, such as personalised text, images, or barcodes.
- Cost-Effective for Short Runs: Digital printing is cost-effective for small to medium print runs, as there are no plate or setup costs involved. This makes it suitable for limited edition or custom packaging.
- Design Flexibility: Digital printing enables high-resolution printing with sharp details, vibrant colours, and smooth gradients. It supports intricate designs, complex artwork, and fine text rendering.
- Reduced Waste: Digital printing produces minimal setup waste since there are no printing plates or cylinders involved. This reduces material waste and is environmentally friendly.
Digital printing is commonly used for packaging applications such as labels, folding cartons, flexible packaging, prototypes, and promotional materials. It offers flexibility, speed, and customisation options that make it suitable for various packaging requirements.
- Dieline: A dieline is a template or blueprint that represents the shape and layout of a packaging design, including dimensions, cut lines, folds, and glue areas. It serves as a guide for packaging manufacturers to create the physical packaging.
- Spot Colours: Spot colours, also known as solid colours or Pantone colours, are specific premixed ink colours used in printing. They provide consistent and predictable colour reproduction, vibrant colours, and special effects in packaging designs.
- Embossing: Embossing is a decorative technique used in packaging to create raised or three-dimensional designs or patterns on the surface of packaging materials. It enhances the tactile experience and adds visual interest to packaging designs.
- Flexographic Printing: Flexographic printing, or flexo printing, is a versatile and cost-effective printing method used in packaging. It involves transferring ink from flexible relief plates onto the packaging material. It offers versatility, high-speed production, and solid color coverage.
- Lithographic Printing: Lithographic printing, or litho printing, is a high-quality printing method used in packaging. It transfers ink from metal plates to a rubber blanket and then onto the packaging material. It provides excellent print quality, wide substrate compatibility, and is suitable for large print runs.
- Digital Printing: Digital printing is a modern printing method that directly transfers digital files onto packaging materials. It eliminates the need for traditional plates, allows for customisation and variable data printing, and offers shorter turnaround times, design flexibility, and cost-effectiveness for short runs.
These are the key points regarding each topic. If you have any further questions or need more detailed information, feel free to reach out to our team. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org