Optimal use of flexible packaging requires that designers have a working understanding of materials and meet carefully-considered design criteria, weaving the effort into 'a combination of art and technology,' design consultant says

LOS ANGELES , April 17, 2012 () –

Flexible packaging is being more widely used, but optimal use requires a clear understanding of materials and how they meet various design considerations, said a design consultant, reported Packaging World Magazine on April 13.

“All flexible packaging done well is a combination of technology and art,” said Jackie DeLise, VP of new business development at Zunda Group. The “key word,” she said, is probably “portability.”

Packaging goals can be more effectively realized when package designers have a working knowledge of materials, film resins, application techniques, film shrinkage, and printing, among other things, Packaging World reported.

In designing the package, designers should take into consideration the package’s objectives for such things as strength properties, the shelf life and its role in the marketing effort, its appeal to targeted consumers, the performance criteria, and the printing process to be used.

Safety and the environment in which the product will be exposed should also be considered. The distribution channel will also have an affect on packaging, reported Packaging World.

Another consideration is printing. While flexography and gravure were rated first and second, respectively, in choices for flexible packaging by packaging consultant Sterling Anthony, Pira International forecasts that digital package and label printing will triple in growth by 2014.

Selecting the right film is critical. Pressure-sensitive film, for instance, is now being used for things other than labels, such as for product security, authenticity and consumer protection, Packaging World reported.

To achieve desired results, marketers and designers need at least a general understanding of the physical properties of different types of flexible film. Film resins have different properties and perform best under different conditions.

There are many cases of flexible packaging projects that were delayed or started over because the packaging designed on a computer did not stand up to the challenges of a production line, distribution channel, or product usage and storage, reported Packaging World.

Consideration of how the packaging will differentiate the product is more important now than ever. Only 8% of consumers attributed their purchases to advertising and 35% were linked to packaging, according to a 2010 American Marketing Association/Market Force Information poll.

An understanding of how packaging draws the consumer also is helpful. For instance, kids like squeezable, spouted pouches; while food packaged in vented flexible bags appeal to those looking for easy meal preparation, Packaging World reported.

The primary source of this article is Packaging World Magazine, Chicago, Illinois, on April 13, 2012.

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