For centuries, paper and similar sheet materials have been printed using ink to keep records, distribute knowledge and share ideas. Printing is a fundamental part of society and the industry is well established. The processes have evolved rapidly (some more than others), techniques have been combined and computer software has greatly accelerated the production of printing plates, known as computer to plate (CTP).
In principal, there are five categories of printing; relief, intaglio, planography, stencil and digital. In relief printing the ink is applied onto raised areas of the print plate and then transferred onto the paper or other material. Letterpress and flexography are examples of relief printing. Intaglio processes are the opposite; ink is collected in recesses on the print plate, which is wiped clean and then the ink is transferred onto the paper or other material such as rotogravure.
Packaging should protect its contents, provide relevant information for the consumer, differentiate the product from the competition, communicate brand’s values and be cost effective. Combining all these elements seamlessly and avoiding an over complex design is very challenging.
The strike colour of this packaging for Fry’s Turkish delight is achieved by printing directly onto metal foil using a clear rather than an opaque basecoat. The aluminum visible through the ink, providing a bright, reflective and metallic backdrop.
This unique and distinctive packaging design by MadeThought for Yauatcha, a dim sum teahouse in London, combines die cutting, laser (the decorative pattern) and foil blocking (silver logo)
Gu Yue Shan Chinese Rice Wine
Packaging plays a significant part in the overall enjoyment of products. The packaging for Gu Yue Long Shan Chinese rice wine represents luxury, quality and craftsmanship, with the use of wood, ceramic and fine printing. These qualities transfer to the contents in the mind of the consumer.
La Vie de la Vosgienne sweets
Produced by offset lithography printing onto tinplate, which is press formed, this packaging is simple, cost effective and long lasting
Die cutting sometimes cross over with finishing processes because it is used to cut printed materials such as this catalogue cover created by Hawaii Design for Designerblock
Moschino Perfume Packaging
Dry sublimation printing is a versatile process; it is used to print onto flat and 3D surfaces. The quality of the print reproduction is determined by ink jet printing, which is used to print the transfer medium. Alternatively, ink jet printing can be used to print directly onto flat surfaces in a process known as direct to material (DTM)
Royal VKB nutcracker
Designed by Ineke Hans for Royal VKB, the lid of the nutcracker is polyamide (PA) nylon and the clear container is polycarbonate (PC). Pad printing in used to apply ink directly onto 3D surfaces, such as the logo on this nutcracker, which would not be practical to print any other way.
Greece is for Lovers ‘No sleep Till Hades’ collection
Screen printing is versatile and many different types of ink can be used and so it is possible to print the same design directly onto many different materials, such as textile and ceramic. This collection, created by Greece is for Lovers, is single colour screen printed
Pantone is a standard colour system used for specifying colours to printers. It provides a master against which printed colour or coated finishes can be checked.
Half – tone detail
Half tone is the removal or addition of printed area on the paper or other material. Due to the orientation of the screens, the clusters of dots look like rosettes. This is a close-up photograph of a print produced using offset lithography. As the concentration of dots for each colour is reduced, the visible colour changes. Half tone dots are measured as lines per inch (dpi), which is used to measure the quality of output devices such as screens and printers.
Campbell Hay wedding Stationery
Designed by Campbell Hay for their friends, the Pullens, in 2009. Foil blocking is used to crate high quality solid colour and metallic graphic, which are perfectly suited to stationery for weddings and special events. For solid colours it is possible to colour match using a reference such as Pantone.
embossing is used on unprinted materials, known as blind embossing, to produce high quality and finely detailed designs. Finishing was the only process used in the case of this Versace card.
Article by: THE MANUFACTURING GUIDES – Graphics and packaging production by Rob Thompson and Martin Thompson