Creativity in Folding Cartons

140837-2014_05311 eggbox 10er Hofer Goldland02 W540 100dpi

From cereals to confectionary to ready meals to pharmaceuticals folding cartons are a key product in the global packaging market. According to Smithers Pira this market had a value of USD 140 billion in 2012, and is said to grow to be worth USD184 billion in 2018.

In its report “The Future of Folding Cartons to 2018” Smithers Pira argues that this growth will be fed mainly by the continued and growing demand for health care products, as well as cigarettes, dry foods and frozen/chilled foods, especially in emerging economies, while demand in the developed regions is likely to be somewhat muted in comparison.

The report identifies five key trends, which are expected to affect the market for folding cartons. I give them here, with my comments in between, as I am a bit critical at Smithers Pira choice of trends.

140837-2014_021bc Daniela Katzenberger Glitter Cat W540 100dpi

Daniela Katzenberger Glitter Cat

1. The migration of contaminants from mineral oils from recycled newsprint used in food packaging and a potential threat to consumer health, led to a surge in the development of a migration barrier.
2. Smithers Pira still lives in the era of downsizing. I thought we had that chapter as a serious trend behind us, but apparently not. The report claims that driven by the need to reduce costs, as well as the desire to attract positive publicity, companies still are constantly striving to reduce the amount of packaging by downsizing.
3. The report is contradicting itself a minute later, when claiming that the move towards single serve packs tends to result in overall packaging volumes increasing as smaller packs consume more material in their packaging than the larger packs they replace, per volume of packed product.
4. It’s obvious that new printing techniques are stimulating innovation in graphic design, but not only with additions such as QR codes, holographic images, Fresnel lenses and other 3D devices. There is much more to it.
5. Developments in printed electronics are bringing the development of smart packaging closer to economical implementation by reducing the previously prohibitive costs associated with this technology.

140837-2014_081nf Gift box Heinemann W540 100dpi

Gift box Heinemann

For me the report is not complete and the conclusions too simple. What I miss in the report is the stimulating effect of creative structural design in folding cartons. Many a company doesn’t seem to realise that you can do much more with paperboard than just making, cost reducing and downsizing a square folding carton with the minimum of material, printed with some fancy graphics.

It all comes back to the question: “What does the consumer want?” Smithers Pira doesn’t seem to know this consumer. Well, let me elaborate.

140837-2014_100c1 Lindt Giant Carrot W540 100dpi

Lindt Giant Carrot

Although the consumer demographic is complicated, some facts about the modern consumer are undeniable. He is busy and engaged in everything. He always is on the move, extremely well-informed and highly critical. And most importantly, although always looking for a bargain, he isn’t just buying a product, but looking for a solution for a specific occasion. This means that he will look at a packaging to see whether it is offering him something extra.

The consumer has long since discovered that the four fundamental functions of packaging (contain, protect/preserve, transport, and communicate) aren’t sufficient to satisfy his needs. He expects some extra feature incorporated in the packaging to guarantee an enhancement of his consuming experience. In other words there has to be at least a fifth function added to the basic packaging in order to attract the consumer.

140837-2014_0371 Jim Beam Honey Promotional Packaging W540 100dpi

Jim Beam Honey Promotional Packaging

Packaging needs to do more than just look good on a shelf. And that’s exactly where the growth in usage of paperboard for packaging will come from, as paperboard invites challenges creativity in folding techniques. The consumer wants something special, some extra feature, which justifies the purchasing decision.

The following examples show it. I took a selection of the finalists in the 2014 ProCarton/Ecma awards and took the details of the designs from its website. To clarify: ProCarton/Ecma is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers.

Perfect function
The structural design is from eggbox GmbH and manufactured by Cartonic Packaging Group GmbH.
140837-2014_05311 eggbox 10er Hofer Goldland W540 100dpi

The structural stability of the 10’s egg box offers a high level of protection for the fragile content. The easy-to-open lid allows the consumer easy checking of the contents and safe reclosing. Graphic designer Frank Brockmann used the large printable outer surface for brand recognition. In Austria, the eggbox GmbH supplies Hofer Goldland/Freiland, which belongs to the Aldi Süd Group, exclusively with the eggbox egg packing system. The box is manufactured entirely from FSC-certified recycled materials from Careo and Papierfabrik Adolf Jass.

140837-2014_054_55f eggbox Doppel-4er Alnatura02 W540 100dpi

eggbox GmbH also came with two variants. One Doppel-4er for Alnatura/Eier Petersen eggs and one Doppel-6er for Sylter Freilandeier, both produced by Cartonic Packaging Group GmbH with Careo paperboard and graphic designs from Alnatura/P.R.-Verlag Sylt.

Cartularia Ice cream with charm
With paperboard from Stora Enso, Pringraf S.r.l. in Italy created as structural as well as graphic designer a new packaging for dairy producer Aloha S.r.l.

140837-2014_1111 Gelato Box02 W540 100dpiInitially Aloha wanted a wicker basket and was of the opinion that a paperboard solution was impossible. However, wicker baskets are expensive and Pringraf was able to convince the customer to test paperboard. The original shape was kept and the wicker structure was applied through a lasered surface. This resulted in a more ecologically sustainable and less expensive concept. The shape and decoration on both sides of the carton convey a feeling of an exclusive and natural product.

Jack of all trades
The idea originated from PAWI Verpackungen AG: a sustainable and innovative solution for attractively presenting chocolate, biscuits or confectionary in separate compartments and completely dispensing with plastic.

140837-2014_0721 Multiflex W540 100dpi

Structural designer Stephan Springer and PAWI Verpackungen AG created the Multiflex insert, which adds special value to chocolates, as the paperboard, supplied by Papeterie de Mandeure, provides an attractive appearance due to its naturalness and simplicity. The insert paperboard is approved for direct contact with foods and includes grease barrier properties. The customer, Bäckerei Kuhn, is given here as an example.

Viva bottle-hanger
Bayer Kartonagen GmbH, Austria derived the idea for this design from a hand produced sample from the market. It is a simple eye catcher with the option of using it to hang up the Swiss Sigg Viva bottle.

140837-2014_0342 VIVA bottle-hanger W540 100dpi

Easy handling and optimal machine processing distinguish this product. The bottle is secured firmly by snapping it into place. The “stopper” promotional space is simply opened by finger pressure. The one sided printed construction, used by graphic design studio Thank You Studio, can be machine bonded in a single run. Bayer Kartonagen was the carton producer as well as the structural designer using BillerudKorsnäs paperboard that can be recycled 100%.

Exclusive variety – The Origin Box
“Origin” chocolate, manufactured by Barry Callebaut in Belgium, is a journey into the world of taste, the chocolate taste of cocoas from across the globe.

140837-2014_113c The Origin Box W540 100dpi

Chocolate is very sensitive to external flavours, and therefore it was extremely important that Du Caju Printing had considerable experience in selecting suitable paperboards and choose its material from Iggesund Paperboard. The outer box depicts the logo as well as typical images from the various destinations. Inside are ten small boxes with powerful colours and graphic design by Berlin, which highlights the individuality of each type of chocolate.

Christmas special
With paperboard from MeadWestvaco, Alzamora Packaging SA in Spain created a display case for jams of the Catalan cooperative La Fageda.

140837-2014_033f Display case of La Fageda jams02 W540 100dpi

The original idea was to create the silhouette of a Christmas tree using two symmetrically arranged triangles. Each of the two cartons can also be purchased separately. One contains sweet jams, the other one relish to accompany fish or meats. The greatest challenge during development was to get the elaborate presentation packaging, which has to perfectly present the glass container as well as protecting it, machine ready. Using environmentally friendly paperboard, the result was a brilliant and very successful solution!
Alzamora Packaging SA itself took care of the structural design, while the graphic design was executed by Gelis Dissenyadors.

Italian flair – Gondola Shopper
Italian Orizzonti S.r.l. wanted a type of bottle packaging for its export markets that could convey the “Made in Italy” message and that could be easy to carry.

140837-2014_024b Gondola Shopper W540 100dpi

The packaging, made from BillerudKorsnäs paperboard by Lucaprint S.p.A., fits the product like a made-to-measure garment, enhancing it at the same time. The bottle sits perfectly in the case and small side flaps hold it by the neck. The graphics by Queruli Bruna, a faithful reproduction of the Venetian gondola, are symbolic of Italy in a very aesthetic manner. Hot foil finishing, glossy lamination and double sided print further add to the elegance of this pack.

After Eight Selection
Nestlé Deutschland AG required an attractive solution to replace the pouch for its After Eight with which one could offer guests the contents for mutual pleasure.

140837-2014_022 After Eight Selection W540 100dpi

The structural design by Multi Packaging Solutions Stuttgart GmbH and Klaus R. Viergutz resulted in a relatively simple, re-closeable carton, made from Metsä Board by Multi Packaging Solutions Düren, which presents the product perfectly. It is suitable for shelves, can be glued automatically and is supplied flat. Seven colour printing on the front together with large scale intricate hot foil embossing provides an attractive appearance. The recessed, easy to grip flaps make the carton easy to open and reclose.
The graphic design is by Helium in Wiesbaden

Fernanda Brandao pure dynamics
For Carl Edelmann GmbH the task was as simple as it was difficult. The carton for Fernanda Brandao, a product of Cura Marketing GmbH, was to reflect the shape of the bottle and provide maximum focus and dynamics.

140837-2014_01951 Fernanda Brandao W540 100dpi

The idea originated from the brand owner. Content and packaging blend perfectly, communication of the product promise is exemplary. The detailed fit of the carton to the bottle provides optimal product protection. The special design also allows for flat delivery and automatic erecting and filling of the cartons.
Paperboard used: Stora Enso, graphic design: Lifestyle Distribution GmbH

So these were 10 examples of creative folding cartons.

In many articles and on blogs, even the ProCarton one, you read the term “Cardboard”. Although, Cardboard is a popular name for “paperboard”, technically, cardboard is not a proper term for a packaging material. Using the term when referring to “corrugated” boxes, is most egregious and should be avoided. Also incorrect is the use of the term “cardboard” when referring to “paperboard”. While there are some gray areas, “paperboard” is generally defined as paper in thicknesses over 0.012 inches. Depending on the area of the country (or world) and the industry, you may hear the terms “boxboard”, “folding carton board”, “container board”, “folding box board” or “cardboard”.
However, “paperboard” is the correct and overarching term.
Source: Packaging Dictionary

4 responses to “Creativity in Folding Cartons

  1. Hi Anton,
    I have the same impression of you, after working 16 years with PET, seeing innovations all the time. Now working with the cartoning I feel the same.
    The market of paperboard don’t have the same “innovation culture”, probably is just starting now ??
    Good article as usual..!

    • Andres, thanks for your comment and yes, I also think that structural creativty is etering the folding carton arena. If so, it certainly will boost the panorama on the supermarket shelves, which are now, with the monotony shapes of PET-bottles, beverage cans, folding carton boxes and dull stand-up pouches, all with their blaring coloured printing sleep-inducing, when walking the aisle. It’s time the design agencies introduce structural design in their craft.

  2. G. Morning,
    We are a little free range egg Farm based in New Caledonia and I would like to get a quote regarding your cereals egg boxes. Our production is around 100 000 eggs per year. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
    Guiot Frederik

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