It’s a win-win for product developers and flexible packaging providers. When developers are prepared, packagers deliver the best results. Many of the so-called ducks to line up are elements of common sense, but they bear repeating as sort of checklist reminders. Other items on the list are not as obvious to developers who may have a great concept, but are new to flexible packaging or some of its aspects.

One way to look at project preparation is to first remember what makes a good package. Layering the principles of successful packaging elements on top of a particular set of project goals is helpful.

10 Considerations for Creating a Package

  • Is the package aesthetically pleasing? Trendy? Face it; buyers are always swayed by the visual impact of packages. Some products that used to be stored under the sink or away in a cabinet are now out on the counter, due to cool packaging.
  • Is it ergonomically appropriate? Some of the latest ergonomically updated packages also deliver a better ratio of content-to-package­, for a less-wasteful result.
  • How well does the package protect its contents? What is the shelf life? What are consumer expectatio­­ns?
  • How well does the package provide access to the product? Do you need a tool kit to open it?
  • What are the package convenience factors? Is it portable for travel or in the car?
  • Does the container work well in opening after repeated usage? Does it keep contents fresh?
  • Is there a technique to opening or using it? For example, preventing easy access for children in certain instances.
  • Is the package mistake-tolerant? And it may need to be age-tolerant when targeted to certain demographics, such as aging populations.
  • Is the package easy to store? If it is sold on a store shelf, are there considerations to maximize shelf exposure and additional point-of-purchase containment?
  • What are the package’s disposability, “green” aspects, and advancements? Review the merits of recycling versus biodegradability.

Reviewing these considerations against a specific brand message is also key to flexible packaging success. Ask the question, at every design step: Is it consistent with our brand image? There are times to acquiesce to the manufacturer’s suggested changes in design, and there are others when the developer cannot betray the vision that spurred the concept.

Before You Manufacture

Preventing a lot of future headaches is the objective prior to the manufacturing phase. Experts advise prototyping early to work out some of the more costly “do-overs” that could otherwise occur.

Lab work and prototyping also have limits, caution manufacturers. According to Daniel Nielsen of Innovative Machine Corporation, “It’s best if we can touch it, feel it, hold it.” Even then, says Nielsen, “We often have to overcome problems in actual production.” He cites an example where tension control in process may be pushed to previously unpredicted limits.

Carefully examining whether a product is even capable of being processed is an actual, practical question. In a surprising number of instances, the answer is: Not as easily as you thought. Or, there are more steps, and greater cost, to the process that you imagined. Nielsen remembers a customer’s goal to build a machine that would run very fast without deforming a special substrate, a real challenge.

Sometimes large corporations with a new product idea, and more often smaller developers, do not understand the manufacturing processes required to bring a concept to market. In one case, product developer Karen Jarostchuk, who has retail backing for her brand, says she has had to learn all about flexographic printing, laminating and die-cutting. Jarostchuk has also realized that she might have to work with multiple providers to get the product manufactured and costs have been a continuing challenge.

The complex nature of creating new flexible packages is clear when cross checking all these issues with the substrates required. Whether the materials are strong or weak, prone to curl, withstand stresses of processing, and so many other physical property issues, material type must be considered. The manufacturer’s expertise and knowledge of particular substrates can address these aspects.

Ultimately, flexible packaging manufacturers make it easier for developer-collaborators to deliver new high-value products. The proof is in the continuing march of new product roll-outs into their respective markets.

Converting Influence LLC
(920) 265-6407