Innovations in shape andconstruction are crucial when itcomes to attracting the eye andproviding protective functionality,longevity, and full product use.
Packaging designs, along with consumer prefer-ences, change each year. Just as carmakers adapt colors and special eﬀects to reﬂect consumertastes, so must packaging designs adopt new tech-niques and technologies to create looks that respond to consumer expectations.Coatings play a crucial rolein achieving the aestheticsand haptic eﬀects intended bymodern packaging designs.So, it is no surprise thatdemand for speciﬁc pack-aging coatings shifts as newpackaging designs emerge.
Packaging design trends in2019 are a mix of adaptability,functionality, and simplicity,with an emphasis on sustainability. Topping the listof the desired packaging features is ﬂexibility, whichis driving increased use of ﬂexible packaging for agrowing range of consumer and food/beverage prod-ucts.1Advancements in production and materials havedeveloped ﬂexible packaging solutions with easy-to-use features, such as resealable food packages. Flexiblepackaging is also highly adaptable, lightweight, andrecyclable, making it a sustainable choice.
Sustainability remains a priority in the packagingindustry because consumers are increasingly aware ofthe environmental impact of the goods they pur-chase—and that extends to the products’ packaging.Today’s consumers want packaging that is recyclableand/or biodegradable and produced using eco-friendlymaterials. So, while brands need to attract buyers’attention through more personalized and unusualpackaging designs, they must also use smarter or lesspackaging materials for shipping and transport, anissue that becomes more imperative as e-commercecontinues to grow. To meet consumer expectations and lower transportation costs, packaging innovatorsare producing lightweight, adaptable options that useless material and help reduce fuel consumption.
The advancements in packaging designs also includea growing interest in vintage-inspired packaging—a trend that spans many prod-uct segments. The simple yetdistinctive look and feel ofretro-style packaging tapsinto the consumer nostal-gia reﬂected in the resur-gence of vinyl records anda renewed interest in 1980stelevision shows.
This return to simplicityinﬂuences other design ele-ments as well. Some pack-aging designs are more streamlined and oﬀer greatertransparency, such as additional product information.2Flat illustrations, which originated in printed materi-als, have migrated to minimalist packaging solutionswith crisp, clean designs.3Black and white, as well asneutral tones and pastels, are prominent in the mini-malist themes, creating a sleek and sophisticated look.Subtle and bright gradients move from the backgroundand into the overall designs, allowing the colors tostand out.2Bold typography and geometric shapes areshowing up as graphic elements, and some brands areexperimenting with storytelling approaches. As forthe physical packaging itself, innovations in shape andconstruction are crucial when it comes to attractingthe eye and providing protective functionality, longev-ity, and full product use.
Assisting in the continuous evolution of packagingdesign are packaging coatings. Coatings add aesthetic,functional, and haptic elements to packaging that helpcreate the visual and tactile experiences for the con-sumer. More important, coatings provide chemical and corrosion resistance and prevent contamination, whichprotects the integrity of product and ensures consumersafety. Among the resin technologies used in packagingcoatings, epoxies are used most often, followed by acryl-ics, polyurethanes, polyoleﬁns, and polyesters.4
The packaging coatings market, which includes coat-ings for all types of substrates, from paper to cans, seessigniﬁcant growth as more packaging innovations enterthe supply chain. Allied Market Research estimates thepackaging coating market is expanding at a compoundannual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% from $2.83 billionin 2016 to $3.865 billion by 2023.5A report from MordorIntelligence predicts the market will expand more rap-idly at a CAGR of 5.12% through 2024.4
LEONHARD KURZ, part of the KURZ Group, is onecoatings company contributing to the market growthwith its developments in thin-ﬁlm technology. At LuxePack Monaco 2019 in September, LEONHARD KURZintroduced “expressive packaging,” a concept the com-pany says reﬂects the spirit and lifestyles of the times. “Byoﬀering a diverse selection of unusual patterns, we inspiredesigners and brand name manufacturers to break awayfrom customary design patterns, to look at packaging designin a new way, and to rediscover the world of hot stampingtechnology,” the company said in a press release.6
The “Box next to Box” is a decorated drawer boxthat contains a trend collection with diﬀerent themes:
Archive celebrates the rediscovery of “old treasures andresources”; Supa Func focuses on eﬃciency, function,order, and structure; Black Mirror encourages “the con-templation of reﬂection and self-determination in times ofomnipresent digitalization and artiﬁcial intelligence”; andClearance reﬂects “the desire for true sustainability, newmaterials, and better consumer behavior.” To illustrateeach trend, KURZ developed metallized-transfer productswith surprising optical eﬀects and unusual colors. One stylefeatures underprinted designs shining through translucentsilver, a matte terra cotta, and a ﬂuorescent orange. Tocomplement the unique color motifs and optical eﬀects,KURZ enhanced the tactile experience with textures andembossing using stamping die technology from its subsidi-ary, Hinderer and Mühlich.
KURZ also exhibited its new technology Trustseal SFXMosaic, which uses holographic lenses conﬁned withina strictly symmetrical arrangement to create strikingcontrasts and a multiple, repeating-depth eﬀect.
Other companies are also exploring cutting-edgetransfer technologies for packaging applications. TorayPlastics (America) made headlines in 2016 when it intro-duced Lumirror MR20, a polyester metal-transfer ﬁlm.Lumirror MR20 transfers aluminum deposited on theﬁlm with adhesive to paper or paperboard packaging,producing a bright, reﬂective surface that can be used tocreate a luxurious look for mass-produced products.7
Also developing coatings in the luxury/specialty space isDiamond Packaging. It produces two metallic UV coatingsas part of its Sustainable Chic line™: Liquid Metal™ andMiraFoil®. The company says the Sustainable Chic pack-aging coatings deliver “beauty without compromise” usingadvancements in converting technologies.8A combina-tion of ﬂexo and oﬀset printing creates the Liquid Metaleﬀects, which Diamond Packaging touts as a more sustain-able alternative to metallized substrates and foil stamping.Meanwhile, MiraFoil’s satin metallic eﬀects are achievedthrough a process that Diamond Packaging says is “aneconomical, in-line alternative to ﬁlm and foil laminates.”Diamond Packaging’s specialty coatings also include theaward-winning DiamondGlitter and DiamondReticulate.DiamondGlitter is a shimmering ﬁnish that catches theeye, while DiamondReticulate’s subtle texture adds atactile quality that engages the consumer.9
As the coatings industry continues to develop high-performance packaging coatings that both market andprotect products, companies such as Diamond Packaging,KURZ, and Toray will continue to acknowledge con-sumer environmental concerns, emphasizing thesustainability best practices used to manufacturepackaging coatings and products’ recyclability for the lifecycle of the packaging.
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