Selecting paperboard for packaging
- Clothing (hosiery, lingerie, shirts)
- Toys and games
- Leisure products
- Gifts and souvenirs
- Sports goods
- Electrical and gardening
Protective and promotional packaging
General merchandise incorporates a variety of products such as clothing and textiles, games and toys, glassware and gifts, electrical and gardening products, many of which are displayed in attractive cartons, often incorporating a window. The packaging communicates product benefits and highlights the most appropriate characteristics of the product, whether this is for luxury, leisure or everyday usefulness. These packages are designed to meet the branding strategy of the different manufacturers for effective presentation of their products at the point of sale.
The graphics and structure of the packaging is a part of sales promotion and the choice of paperboard is decisive. The packaging has to communicate the benefits of the product, to display the product and, indirectly, the measures taken to protect the product. Many of the products have highly branded identities, featuring a co-ordinated graphical presentation of a range of items.
Choice of paperboard
The choice of paperboard is determined by the appearance and performance needs of each product and its packaging in printing, distribution and storage, at the point of sale, and in consumer use. The products are purchased over the counter, from shelf displays or by mail order vending. The main promotional aspect in general is shelf appeal, achieved by the visual impact of shape and surface decoration. Use can be made of a huge variety of decorative means to create a distinct and expressive visual impact. The choice of a special surface finish is part of the visual impact; high gloss or a smooth, silky surface. Freedom for surface design is essential.
Important promotional characteristics of paper board are whiteness, smoothness and surface finish, often required on both sides. Very high print quality, with good contrast between the surface and the print, is required to achieve excellent presentation of sharp half-tone illustrations or bold, strong colours in large solid areas. Sharp presentation of printed text is also necessary, sometimes on both sides. Even without the need of print, a white or cream coloured reverse side can enhance the presentation of the product. The creative and functional shape of the package calls for a strong and tough multiply paperboard.
Of course the choice of paperboard from a protective point of view is decisive for the purpose intended; textiles and glassware, for example, require different packaging characteristics. The functional shape of the packaging meets needs for protection from damage by compression or impact. Fitments within the packaging design may support fragile products and ensure durability during distribution, storage and display at the point of sale. Other products must rely on shape stability by means of a strong and tough paperboard.
Important protective characteristics of the paperboard are compression strength and folding endurance which, together with good creasing and gluing properties, ensure a strong carton. Many cartons are disposed of immediately when first opened, others are utilised for storage at home. In those circumstances the packages must withstand frequent opening and closing without deteriorating in shape or function. The use of virgin fibres provides for durable creases on closure flaps. They may also be needed to maintain printed user instructions or safety precautions. Virgin fibres, together with selected coating ingredients, also ensure good light stability. Protective coatings and additives, together with the board, comply with national and international regulations e. g. EN 91 Part 3 for toys.
Printing and conversion
To obtain efficiency in printing and conversion a flat, stable and dust free paperboard is required. Good absorption and drying properties, as well as good cutting, creasing and gluing properties are important. Thus a high print quality is ensured, whilst process stoppages and material waste are minimised.
The packaging operation may be carried out by hand, mechanically aided or wholly automatically, depending on the product and the output required. Packaging machines require low creasing resistance and, for side seam glued cartons, low carton opening force.