We have a reputation for working closely with design agencies in order to push the boundaries of creative packaging, supporting our clients strategically with new ideas and imaginative approaches to ensure their products stand out on shelf.
Part of our role is to identify production processes that enable us to create more possibilities for clients and partners, enabling us to develop concepts that are truly original but totally deliverable.
Amongst those production techniques are new advances in Flexographic printing (Flexo), a process that involves a raised image impressed onto a flexible relief surface, which can then be used to turn the image out onto a variety of packaging materials. Unlike the letterpress technology that is often viewed as Flexo’s predecessor, Flexo is not limited to restricted ink types or substrates. It’s a flexible and versatile technique that creates a world of opportunity both in terms of the detail of the design and in the possibilities for using different substrates or creating a design range that works across a number of substrates.
Familiarity with Flexo ensures that we’re able to support brand owners and manufacturers to present an incredible design on pack while ensuring that the finished product on shelf is both cost-effective and true to the initial creative work, regardless of the pack substrate, shape or size. Flexo is suitable for just about any substrate, it can be used as a flat image or provide options for circular, curved or wraparound designs and it offers true color production across a variety of ink types. Seamless patterns in continuous, unbroken design become possible, with Flexo’s rotary operation and consistent ink control enabling printing of the same design over and over without interruption.
Enabling a broad choice of both solvent and water-based inks to be used, Flexo allows rapid drying with an array of five different curing methods, depending on the substrate and ink used. Drying times are reduced, to virtually zero in some cases, with electron beam or ultraviolet curing inks offering a popular choice when printing onto plastic and cellophane. Flexo technology also enables printing on both porous and non-porous substrates, creating improved design flexibility, particularly in the growing area of environmentally-responsible packaging and the use of recycled substrates. And regardless of the substrate, Flexo provides excellent color saturation, with solid colors delivered in a single process and the potential to apply several layers of color within a short time period.
Quality is also assured, with consistent image reproduction of millions of images with a single Flexo plate and zero smudging. Flexo helps brands and retailers to build food safety into their packaging design too. Many traditional inks will not adhere to some plastic, cellophane or other non-porous materials and Flexo processes can be used to ensure that ink does not wear off, flake, separate or otherwise degrade. This provides complete confidence that the pack will continue to look great throughout its shelf life while complying with food safety regulations.
Understanding how different printing techniques will affect the design possibilities is part of our job, as is supporting clients with materials selection. We see ourselves as a true extension of your team, so we’re always mindful of costs and production lead times and keeping up to speed with innovations in Flexo is just one of the ways we do that.