Selecting paperboard for packaging:
The invisible force of attraction
What is a scent if not one of the strongest forces of attraction between living creatures? The sense of smell is the most primordial of all our senses. The scent of a perfume means something deeply personal to the user - the fragrance carries with it an invisible message. It may express glamour and wealth, or fresh and flowering youth. It may also cause an almost dreamlike impression, evoking strong feelings or images of memories long forgotten.
Perfumes are sophisticated and artistic in concept, and their packaging reflects these features. The primary container is often an exclusively designed glass bottle. This combination of fragrance and fragility demands secondary packaging which keeps its expensive contents in perfect condition - and expresses the beauty of its essences. When choosing paperboard for perfume cartons, the main criteria are strength, together with characteristics which facilitate the design of luxurious and beautiful packages.
Choice of paperboard
For a perfume, the package is a most important part of the brand image - many perfume carton designs have become classics. The visual impact is achieved by the shape of the package and its surface decoration. Elegance and luxury are always present in the design, sparklingly expressed on a glossy surface or discretely in an undertoned manner with sparse decorations on a matt and smooth surface. Use can also be made of an embossed design, lamination or hot foil stamping. A complex creative shape or a special surface texture may highlight the uniqueness of the product. Freedom of design is important with perfumes, since they reflect many different moods of living.
The paperboard should allow for a multitude of designs. Important characteristics are whiteness, smoothness and surface finish. Very high print quality is required, with good contrast between the surface and the print, to achieve excellent presentation of sharp half-tone illustrations or bold, strong colours in large solid areas. The graphical presentation calls for pure virgin fibres. The use of virgin fibres, together with selected coating ingredients, also ensures good light stability to avoid fading. Embossing, lamination and hot foil stamping require surface strength and a smooth coating. The creative and functional shape of the package calls for a strong and tough multiply paperboard.
For sampling cards the same excellent print quality on each side is required, hence a paperboard with equal surface characteristics on both sides is necessary.
The main purpose of the package is to provide physical protection of the expensive perfume and its fragile container from hazards in distribution, storage and handling. Therefore a strong paperboard is critically important. It is also important that the carton is in excellent condition at the point of sale, and that some form of tamper evidence is incorporated in the package design, to ensure the integrity of the product. The protective characteristics have to last as long as they are needed, since the carton may be kept until the perfume is fully used. In such circumstances the closure is opened and closed many times and must withstand handling without failing in function or appearance.
Important protective characteristics are compression strength and folding endurance. Together with good creasing and gluing properties these characteristics ensure a strong carton. Virgin fibres provide for creases on closure flaps which are durable to repeated opening and closing. A smooth surface provides for ease of handling. It also provides for good rub and abrasion resistance, thereby preserving the graphical presentation.
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. For prestigious cartons, produced in a multi-step process, paperboard with extremely high stability is needed, to achieve perfect registration.
The perfume cartons are usually rectangular in cross section, with tuck-in-flap closures. Sometimes a supporting fitment is inserted. Exclusive perfumes are often hand packed, whereas high volume products are packed mechanically, sometimes at high speed. The cartons are usually provided with the side seam glued for erection, filling and closing. The packaging machines require low creasing resistance and low carton opening force. For small cartons the latter is of special importance.