We’ve all heard the expression, “first impressions are everything,” and this is especially true in manufacturing. Those who produce goods and products for purchase have long recognized the value of bright, vibrant colors and finishes in packaging as a means of grabbing the attention of consumers.
Industry experts predict that this practice will increase in 2018 with a trend of bold colors and finishes gracing shelves and online marketplaces in increasing numbers. In this article, we’ll offer some key considerations and tips to help stay on top of this trend and gain a competitive advantage.
Achieve Balance and Accuracy Through Digital and Physical References
The use of physical references is not a new concept in designing color workflows, as this practice has been in place for many years. However, physical references are not without their drawbacks. They are susceptible to wear and tear, and even fading. By using both physical and digital references – balancing the time-tested with the latest technologies – the accuracy of colors can be ensured, as well as consistency and accuracy across the entire team.
Adoption of CxF/X based communication of data with the goal of relaying color information is increasing among various brands and printers. Trends related to standards bodies are important to watch, as they can help provide standardization and streamline complex processes such as supply chain.
Control the Process, Control the Outcomes
Process control is critical in all packaging processes and operations, but its importance is magnified when working with bright finishes and colors. Process control software provides consistency and accuracy and ensures quality standards are met.
Measure with the Right Tools for the Job
As previously mentioned, bright, vibrant colors and special finishes require a unique and specialized approach. Choosing the right spectrophotometer for the job is key to ensuring bright colors and finishes are printed properly.
When working with bright colors and finishes, the right tool for the job is likely not the 45:0 spectrophotometer typically used by packaging converters to measure color. For measurements on a glossy surface, sphere instruments offer an effective solution as their readings are not skewed by the substrate’s surface effects.
Color Intent vs. Color Implementation
Slight differences in coloration between the design phase and printing phase are not uncommon. For this reason, it is important to check packaging colors for accuracy to ensure that everything is correct. Some programs and plug-ins, such as Adobe’s PantoneLive Design, allow users to preview how colors will appear in printing and identify any discrepancies and areas of concern. Still, you need to bear in mind that even if you can visualize non printable zones, you can’t know whether those colors are slightly non printable hence slightly too saturated or very saturated hence far from the original. For that to be really accurate, you would need very wide gamut monitors to be sure, and really understand how to use your color image software to properly define your printer’s color gamut given the inaccuracies of your monitor. In many cases, it is still preferable to see a printed “proof” just to make sure.
From the packaging industry perspective, 2018 promises to be a great year. This year has already produced exciting developments and progressive designs. Trends that have already taken hold have provided us with bright, eye-catching colors, and by all indications, this is just the beginning. The tips, considerations, and insights outlined above will help ensure you are up-to-speed on industry trends and prepared to capitalize on new opportunities.
The MCT Advantage
At MCT Digital, we stay on top of industry trends to best serve our clients and provide access to the latest best practices, patterns, and technology.
We have more experience in the development of digital finishing than any other American organization; pioneering the use of digital flatbed cutters to accurately “cut to print.”
Our team offers extensive knowledge and experience in the digital finishing arena – from substrates to applications and insights into how best to finish them.
Contact us today to set up a demo and learn more about MCT Digital’s standard as well as customized, innovative solutions, and client-centric approach. With a large and varied product line and cost-effective pricing, we are confident in our ability to provide a package prototyping or short-run production solution to both meet your needs and fall within your budget.