The Curve brands of men's and women's fragrances are tied irrevocably to the rectangular tin cans that enclose every product in the line. When Liz Claiborne wanted to introduce a limited run line extension called "Curve Wave" for the summer season, they relied on their partners at Independent Can Company in Belcamp, MD.
The first Curve package was introduced in 1996, with a green tinted can for the men's fragrance and a blue tinted can for the women's. The recent introduction of the Curve Crush line was designed to appeal to a younger audience than the cosmetic company's flagship Curve brand, and Independent Can supplied the hot pink and gray metal tins to house the Crush fragrances.
Paul McLaughlin, creative director at Liz Claiborne, explains the appeal of the tins as differentiating in more ways than just presenting a category-defying material. The bright fluorescent lighting in most department stores helps illuminate the shiny colors on the smooth metal, which also reflects "shadows" of nearby darker objects. McLaughlin believes that the tin has an inherently stronger appeal to a younger audience.
Independent Can was able to determine color schemes and develop new tooling in a very short period of time in order to meet Liz Claiborne's launch date of the Crush project. "Independent Can was selected as the vendor for this project based on their reputation for print quality and reliability," says Michelle Barreres, director of packaging at Liz Claiborne. "We both maintained a continuous line of communication every step of the way on this critical project. The results have been exactly what we expected."
The four-color offset printing process uses UV inks and a UV curing system. "Colors had to be created, then matched across all media," explains Neil DeFrancisco, senior sales representative at Independent Can. The can is only one part of a complete retail strategy that includes the perfume the can, the bottle itself, the nozzle tab, the protective insert, advertising, collateral, and gift boxes. Independent Can's technical team in lithography developed a several-stage process that involved hand-mixing the inks as well as curing and varnishing stages.
Liz Claiborne's expectations were also high for the Curve Wave seasonal line extension. In both projects, they confirmed color approval on press, trusting that Independent Can's production would match the quality of the samples they ran. The Curve Wave cans were run on a machine that is the first of its kind in metal lithography in the U.S. The Bauer & Kunzie Metal Star II printing press with "continuous grip" was able to achieve the tight registration on this six-color printing job.
The colors for the Curve Wave packages were inspired by the ingredients of each fragrance. The women's orange glow comes from the citrus emphasis and the men's green shimmer comes from the aquatic hints in the fragrance. DeFrancisco was well aware of the weight of brand expectation that came with the responsibility of extending the signature Curve brand to both the Crush and Wave lines. "The brand almost seems identified with the tin," DeFrancisco explains, ultimately very pleased with the results. "I think the men's colors are spectacular."