User login

Prototypes and Packaging

(May 2011) posted on Wed May 11, 2011

Bringing wide-format options to the short-run experience.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Mike Antoniak

Cre8 Strategic Package Design: Initiating the sales dialog
As the design group for the two Protective Business Food Packaging business units of food-packaging supplier Sealed Air, Cre8 Strategic Package Design ( produces samples that the company’s sales reps rely on to assist customers in the development and refinement of their packaging.

“Sealed Air engineers, develops, and manufactures high-performance, durable packaging materials for food,” explains Marc Edlein, manager of Cre8, based in Duncan, South Carolina. “When you visit a grocery store and see all the refrigerated foods, that’s the type of packaging we provide. Our customers are the processors who package and ship those items.” Their products encompass a broad range of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, cheese, and specialty-food items.

Since consumers expect to see what they are buying, most of that packaging usually features some share of clear film. Before full production of new packaging can take place, though, processors want assurance it will effectively promote their products on store shelves while also offering protection during shipping.

“As they consider new packaging formats for these products, they need to address how their products will be labeled, and how the brand will be presented to consumers,” notes Edlein. “We work with our sales and marketing teams to create virtual or physical mockup packing for them to consider.” The typical job requires one to five prototypes.

In the past, building those physical mockups could be a timely and expensive process, as Cre8 outsourced printing of the graphics then built a prototype. Last May, however, Cre8 brought in-house an Epson Stylus Pro WT7900 with white ink, the latter feature being particularly critical to the shop’s work.

“When you design graphics for clear flexible films, you want a strong white backup to block the color of the food and provide contrast,” says Edlein. And, he adds, since the WT7900 uses aqueous inks, prototypes aren’t tainted with the residual smell of solvent-basked inks, something no customer wants associated with food packaging, even in a mockup.

All printing at Cre8 is done with Epson inks, onto coated Epson media. For paper mockups, printing is done direct to the substrate used to construct the sample; for prototypes requiring clear film, the graphics are printed on substrates with adhesive backings or on film or paper, which are then taped or secured to the film with spray adhesives.