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The Simple Story of Wonderfully Complex Color Packaging

By: Kevin Marshall
Posted: August 28, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Fortunately, creative types don’t have to look very far for new technology or materials from which to draw inspiration. Today, suppliers are pushing the boundaries in order to offer brands unique and differentiating products. Companies such as HCT Packaging, 3C Inc., Albéa Packaging, Eastman Chemical and Cosmopak, as well as many others, continue to invest considerable R&D resources as they develop packages, materials or delivery systems that will ultimately help their customer’s brands stand out and address burgeoning packaging/consumer trends.

One such packaging trend is the increasing use of metallization or metallized details and decoration techniques on packages to add sparkle and perceived value to a program. HCT Packaging’s metal division is a prime example of a supplier dedicating attention and assets to this end. It produces compacts, color cosmetics components (like its patented metal tips for cosmetics), mirrors and a score of other beauty items, all in-house. This fall, the company will be launching Kevin Aucoin’s new lipstick, which is a mix of different metals and nonmetallic materials.

Metal connotes “luxe,” and brands are capitalizing on what this infers. Anomatic is another company serving the beauty industry with literally hundreds of metallic or anodized custom color options, and it too has seen an upsurge in popularity in the use and application of metallics on primary packaging.

Burberry’s new color cosmetics program takes full advantage of metallized effects, although in a subtle and sophisticated way. Made by Topline Products, the elegant line is a success story of refined manufacturing and decoration techniques, among them self-aligning magnetic closures, textured screening processes in the Burberry plaid and, yes, metallized edges on a charged plastic base. A sharp-looking program, it is made all the richer by the delicate addition of the gunmetal-colored metallization, which ultimately gives the line a wonderful glow, without being too shiny.

A nicely designed market standout also making dramatic use of metal is Guerlain’s “Rouge Automatique” lipstick, in lustrous gold. Seemingly a simple, classic lipstick case in the Guerlain tradition, this product incorporates a clever technology twist—on the outside of the case, a wonderful sliding button lifts the bullet from within. Smooth and streamlined, this design makes accessing the product all the easier and looks good while doing so.