Imagine that you are surveying your packaged product against those of your competitors.
Whether it’s on the shelf or in a catalog, your goal as a marketer or brand manager is to have that design jump to the buyer’s attention, standing out from the blur of similar products. This attribute is known as “shelf appeal.”
Of course, the goal of shelf appeal begins with your package design. But the next step, which is sometimes overlooked, is equally important: the printing you receive from your flexible packager. For that reason, it is important to seek the following qualities from your suppliers’ print department:
1. Act as Gatekeeper of the Process, End to End — A highly professional print department has cross-functional knowledge of all aspects of printing, such as inks, drafting, designing, purchasing and more. For example, here at Fres-co, one our print managers was able to help a customer with their inventory control when he found that the same name and SKU was applied to two different packages. Some other organizations may not have had that critical insight, nor would they have taken the initiative to correct it.
2. Ability to Analyze the Technical Quality of Your Design — No, this point is not advocating analyzing or second-guessing the design. We refer here to finding printers who have a designer’s mentality like your own. In that way, they can find elements in the design that could undermine it in production, such as building type from multiple colors or when the design doesn’t meet the printer’s minimum standards. When situations like these arise, the best printers are able to propose a solution that maintains the design’s integrity.
3. Outstanding Knowledge of Color Separation — In order to handle the design you give your flexible packaging supplier, their skills in color separation is an added value. The first discussion between you should be on the number of colors in your design. Second, you need to discuss how well and easily the supplier’s printing process can handle those colors. For example, if your design calls for more colors than are available (e.g., 12 colors for a 10-color press), a skilled print department is more likely to give you a suitable alternative. (In this case, a simple tint can take the place of one of the colors.) In fact, a knowledgeable print department should be able to offer you cost-saving options. Some artists are not aware of the costs they have built into your package’s design. On the other hand, a proactive, highly experienced print department that is essentially your advocate is able to identify these spots and offer cost-cutting alternatives.
BONUS: Look for a flexible packaging supplier that doesn’t charge for color separation. That saving goes right to your bottom line.
4. Available Finishes — Beyond the high-quality, high-definition printing processes available, look at the finishes that your print advisers may offer you. The proprietary custom laminations and coatings these professionals suggest to you can help draw extra attention to your package wherever it is displayed. For example, here at Fres-co, our Matte Finish Select® finishing option applies a matte lacquer over specific areas of the package surface. This finish makes those portions more distinctive.
As flexible packaging grows strongly in the U.S., superior print production will likely be a distinguishing factor as packages compete for attention in the same space. The more distinctive a package looks, the better it is likely to sell, so look for the competitive advantage a strong, outstanding print department can give you.
Click here to review Fres-co’s wide range of industry-leading, award-winning print capabilities.
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