Packaging is much more than a practical means of containing a product: it’s an opportunity to articulate the brand, achieve stand-out on shelf and deliver memorable creativity. Here at Herbert Walkers, we are able to leverage 75 years of experience in creative print projects across a range of other sectors, including commercial and greetings cards, to bring eye-catching flair and innovative techniques to packaging projects.
With specialist knowledge and experience of luxury food and drink packaging, gifting and premiumisation of carton-based pack concepts, we know that packaging not only protects and showcases the product; it is often an integral part of what the consumer is buying. In the gifting world, the purchaser and the recipient may both perceive the box as something that might be kept, as a container for odds and ends, for example. Or it may simply be held on to as a keepsake because it is decorative and has sentimental value, in the same way as a favourite greetings card. There is a clear synergy between the two sectors in consumer behaviour, so it should be not a surprise that there are also synergies in the way we approach the creative design and technical print possibilities.
Unlike greetings cards, however, premium packs not only have aesthetic appeal and sentimental value, they also connect the end user to the brand, so the brand values must be embedded in the design, the materials and the sustainability credentials of the pack. Even if the consumer intends to keep rather than recycle the pack, they will want to see that it is recyclable and brands are equally invested in ensuring that their packs are environmentally responsible because sustainability lies at the core of so many brand footprints.
This is an area where the innovation we have pioneered in the greetings card sector is transferrable to the packaging industry. In the past, flitter – a glitter finish – was commonly used as an attractive, premium design feature of greetings cards. But, as a non-recyclable material that compromised the recyclability of the entire product, it is no longer in vogue. However, our greetings cards customers wanted to continue creating designs with multi-dimensional, reflective finishes to add depth and aesthetic appeal to their products and we have used our foiling expertise and in-house die making capabilities to develop comparable effects using recyclable foils.
By combining an understanding of the print finishing techniques used to enable wide ranging creative possibilities in greetings cards, with a focus on the commercial considerations of printing packaging at scale, and the ethical drivers for improved sustainability, Herbert Walkers is able to bring expertise beyond conventional packaging thinking into the packaging world. Our approach is to work collaboratively with the client and their design team to understand what they aim to achieve from the pack and combine their creative goals and the level of premiumisation required with a practical, commercially-focused solution.
Whether the result is a premium brand favourite, a product designed for gifting or a seasonal pack that will sit shoulder to shoulder with the strong competition of peak shopping periods, applying knowledge from the greetings card sector gives us a country mile head start on keepsake-worthy finishes and how to achieve them.
As we continue to invest in new equipment and skills, the digital printing used to deliver short print runs of greetings cards is invaluable in providing rapid turnaround samples for packaging design options. And, of course, our foiling capabilities continue to grow to enhance the design possibilities we can cater to, along with throughput and capacity.
These days, the cards we buy are carefully selected and the ones we keep are equally carefully curated. Increasingly, the same can be said for the gifts we choose and the packs we keep. At Herbert Walkers, bringing our greetings card expertise into packaging print builds on those principles.