Front Panel: August 2016 Issue

Posted: August 22, 2016

5 tips for designing and developing flexible packages

Each package type has its unique challenges and opportunities, Amanda Whaley, product manager at Toray Plastics (America) in
Rhode Island, notes, “There’s plenty that meets the eye on the surface of a packaging structure, and even more beneath it.” Toray
( and Package Design’s art director Don Heyl co-created these five informative graphics, and Package Design’s
editors and Whaley share primary considerations when creating a new flexible package or redesigning an existing one.

Consider all options

There are several film options that can help your packaged product stand out on shelves, in store and virtual. Be sure to look at all of them, including metallized, white, clear barrier, glossy, matte-finish and bio-based.

Build in time to get it right

Your brand took great care in developing the product in the package, so be sure to dedicate the time in your planning schedule to consider the protective qualities, including moisture- and oxygen-barrier requirements for keeping the product fresh, required of the product’s package. Also, be sure to build time in your schedule to consider the printing requirements of your chosen film and make sure that your files can be prepared in such a way to meet those requirements.

Look at all the environments

Designers and marketers know to test a design’s performance in different lighting scenarios, and there’s even software that helps them determine if a retail outlet’s fluorescent and ambient lighting will negatively impact the package’s shelf impact. But don’t forget about the other environmental characteristics of all the geographies the package will be in!

Distribution channels can take a package product through several geographical variations and that can affect a package’s performance. For example, low air pressure in high-altitude regions places great stress on seals and may cause packages to burst or deflate. Consider a film with seal-strength powerful enough to withstand nationwide distribution.

Always aim to delight

Marketers and designers want to delight their customers at all touchpoints. Don’t forget about the multiple opportunities to delight through package design. Whaley suggest marketers and designers ask, “How can you ensure the person opening your package will want to come back for more?”

Features such as new linear-tear films, easy-peel lidding, and stand-up pouches are advanced technologies that ensure a customer can easily open, use and then reclose a package. Delivering a better package opening and product use scenario is a great way to help ensure shoppers will come back to your brand and its products repeatedly.

Be a good global citizen

Recycling flexible packaging isn’t as straight forward as it is for rigid packaging—yet. Emerging technologies are helping meet shopper and retailer demands for more environment-friendly ways to dispose of flexible packaging. Packaging films can be created from renewable resources (making some films biodegradable) and recyclable materials. Whaley also suggests taking a more holistic view of the eco impacts of packaging and suggests considering “if your supplier is a good environmental steward.”