During Interpack 2014, brand owners and converters were shown a physical example of how their packaging can look when using a variety of Sun Chemical ink and coating solutions, thanks to seven prototype packages on display at the booth.
Originally designed by Sun Branding Solutions, a global brand lifecycle management agency and subsidiary of Sun Chemical, the prototypes were brought to life with the help of Haney, a brand packaging innovation resource for brand design, packaging R&D, prototyping and samples.
Dan Haney, president of Haney; William Dickson, creative director at Haney; and John Edwards, director of business development at Sun Chemical, answered questions related to the prototypes and the importance of color management in the process.
Q: Why is a project like this – where two companies like Sun Chemical and Haney work together – so important?
Haney: It is important for us to collaborate with companies like Sun Chemical. Brand owners expect us to work together to provide exactly what they are looking for. We can turn to Sun Chemical for feedback on how to address a brand owner’s concern about sustainability, color consistency or other issues they may be facing. We have a wonderful partnership with Sun Chemical.
Edwards: We are fortunate to have a relationship with Haney and feel like we have brand owners’ best interest in mind when we work together. In this situation, we needed a prototype that used our products and Haney executed exactly what we had designed, 100 percent.
Q: What are some packaging trends you are seeing?
Dickson: Packaging is an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. Thanks to digital video recorders and other technologies, it is now harder than ever to reach the desired audience with a specific media tool, but the target audience will certainly see and interact with a brand’s package. This means that brand owners are now relying more on packaging to communicate the brand experience than ever before.
Edwards: We’re also seeing an obvious trend toward sustainability, recycling and the lightweighting of packaging, while at the same time maximizing the decorative techniques on the package for increased visual interest.
Q: Explain how color management is an important part of the package.
Edwards: Maintaining brand color on packaging is critically important. In fact, color is a primary reason for buying a product. We conducted an experiment a few years ago where we intentionally printed soup-can labels that were pink instead of the brand’s normal red color. The pink cans were stocked on the shelves with the normal red cans. What we found is that the red cans were restocked over and over again, while the pink cans were left alone. Brand color consistency matters.
Dickson: Color has true emotional implications across product types and cultures. It affects consumers significantly at the point of purchase and beyond. Designers can’t afford to guess when it comes to color usage and performance. Color is the first or second most important tool in a designer’s visual toolbox. Designers strive to employ colors that will accurately represent the brand’s attributes on shelf and at home. Based on the traditional method of designing in an RGB (red, green and blue colors) environment, that can be difficult, because monitors don’t inherently represent color the same way as printing. Now we’re seeing some exciting things in the industry with PantoneLIVE, which allows us to determine in the design phase what a color will look like when printed on various substrates in real time.
Q: How can color management seamlessly be integrated into the creative community?
Dickson: There are specific packaging design tools like PantoneLIVE and others from Esko that help make the color management process from design to the shelf operate in a seamless way. PantoneLIVE, for example, helps from an ink and substrate standpoint. Designers that use Adobe Illustrator can work in that program for 8-10 hours a day without working with ‘real color.’ It is outside of the printing color gamut. Brands that use a system in place with the right tools in front of you, will have a distinct advantage.
Haney: Color management is critical to consumer communication, but it’s just as important for colors to be accurately set and managed for internal alignment with brand owners. We have clients that depend on accurate or “true to life” representations of packaging concepts to make informed decisions that have true pre-consumer cost implications. Color-correct prototypes are a huge part of the design-to-printing evaluation that clients demand in order to make informed decisions.
Edwards: The keys to success in color management are what I call the “Four P’s” – people, process, production and profits. We have to be surrounded by good people who can deliver results. We then have to empower them with the tools that they need, like PantoneLIVE. Giving them a tool like this helps our people to ask whether this creative packaging design will work or not. And if this option won’t work, what is a viable alternative solution? People are the key to success. You give them the tools they need to succeed and it will increase production and lead to profitability.
Sun Chemical Corp.
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This article was supplied by Sun Chemical Corp.