How to Create Premium CPG Packaging with Varnish and Coatings

Manchester, England

It is amazing to think that the printing process has been around for over 500 years — around the same time, English playwright and actor, William Shakespeare’s beautiful plays and poems were being distributed and read county-wide.

Since then, brands have grown ever more creative in finding new ways to catch the attention of their audiences and differentiate their products or services from the competition.

The (un)varnished truth.

The use of varnishes is a good example of this. These coatings can add texture and gloss — giving a premium feel to make a product stand out on the shelf. A well-known crisp brand is doing this using a matte varnish to create an inviting tactile finish.

How can matte-finish packaging help brands stand out?

Particularly for CPG packaging, when you think of how light impacts printing and packaging within a well-lit retail space, matte finishes absorb the light; reducing the glare on branding. Matte finish also gives the appearance of ‘naturalness’ — which we all know is an incredible driving factor in consumer choice today.

When it comes to premium packaging, brands face fierce competition. Differentiating packaging to add premium appeal gives brands the opportunity to leverage new categories. The consumer experience is enhanced when brands use different materials and use unique visual characteristics. While consumer continue to demand packaging that adheres to an on-the-go lifestyle, added functionality also enables a premium experience for the consumer.

What are the challenges?

As with many print quality standards, there are challenges when using coatings and other printing techniques. Printing becomes an intermediate step in the process and the varnish will visually alter the final printed result. So, this raises the question: “how do you know your colour is correct at the printing stage if we know that once it's varnished the colour will change?” Just about anyone passing a print run at press side has experienced this obstacle.

Typically, this would be a back and forth, trial and error process with varying success. But this could be costly with a lot of press time and effort. It doesn’t need to be this way!

We have an answer!

We solve this in the ColourLab by creating colour standards following a process where the pre and post varnish colours are established during our initial analysis. As a result, we can supply a physical colour standard prior to varnishing that matches your brand colour once varnished.

Just think of how much time and effort could be saved! Being prepared up front would allow any colour issues to be resolved earlier in the run; not to be glossed over!

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” - Alexander Graham Bell

Get ready to see your brand colour before the effect of the product finish (varnish/coating) and learn how printers in the supply chain know when colour is right before the job is finished.

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