Every brand marketer whose products end up in packaging should read “Keeping Up Appearances,” a recent Packaging Today piece that describes the current (fast-moving) state of packaging artwork prepress and premedia technology. You’ll learn a lot.
And not just about the “mind-blowing” technology that allows for a huge range of predictable spot colors to be generated quickly and consistently from the CMYK gamut and printed “on-demand” without extensive human interaction. It’s also the question of who should be doing color management and print management work for brands. The technology is complicated, but it also simplifies many steps: so should brands think about taking this work in-house?
There are differing views on the subject, and the article offers this one from Sharon McGuire, Schawk Business Development Director for Europe: “In theory there is nothing to stop brands bringing prepress and repro technology in house. At a base level, anyone could create their own packaging. Yet technology is only ever as good as the people who use it; the magic lies in the skills of an expert who understands the principles of packaging build and can make brand ideas come to life.”
And the views hinge on how packaging is viewed within the brand’s organization. One expert suggested that most CEOs become aware of packaging only when there’s a problem, whereas they’re personally involved major ad campaigns.
But the article ends with a strong statement from McGuire: “Our clients place the pack at the heart of their brand, increasingly thinking about communicating with their consumers from shelf out. Packaging is not only a vital brand communication tool, but also an important interactive and navigational tool which directs consumers to further brand experiences and information sources via different media including web links, QR codes, augmented reality and so forth.”