Designing Desirability Series: The Benefits of Metal Packaging

Beverage cans
Friday, April 20, 2018

In part I of this Designing Desirability blog series, we explored some of the factors our design team considers when helping customers develop a packaging concept. In this second and final post in this series, Thomas Maxwell-Wood, Senior Packaging Designer, CROWN Technology, talks about how metal packaging is perceived and how designers can work with the format.

How do consumers perceive metal packaging?

Metal packaging spans a wide range of iconic formats that each come with their own consumer perceptions. The food can is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, and as such is a trusted format that has evolved over the years into an incredibly efficient method of delivering nutrition to the masses. The beverage can is the perfect synergy of product and packaging, with the carbonated product providing the pressure to strengthen the can in the supply chain. Consumers appreciate this symbiotic relationship – lightweight, highly engineered and infinitely recyclable – it embodies the sustainable ideal.

The popularity of beverage cans in the craft beer market has led to a proliferation of print technologies as new players try to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Brands can now play with texture, or inks that react to temperature and light. Beverage customers can even vary their design from can to can, with AccentsTM technology enabling up to 24 different designs in a production run.

Promotional packaging is also fertile ground for metal packaging. Brands have long understood its association with quality and have utilized the substrate to enhance the impression of premium and luxury. Crown has developed a range of ways to further enhance the substrate, giving designers a fantastic toolkit to play with. An extensive list of print finishes and varnishes are available, from effective matte/gloss combinations to more exotic metallic and holographic effects.

Consumers recognize the environmental benefits of metal packaging. Metal is 100% and infinitely recyclable with no degradation in quality or performance. In fact, it is the most recycled packaging material in the world. This alone makes metal packaging more relevant than it has ever been.

How does metal work in a designer’s favor?

Brands are increasingly talking about multisensory experiences, developing packaging that engages all of the consumer’s senses. Metal is inherently multisensory, and customers have often utilized its ability to reflect, cool and condensate. Crown has developed a multitude of ways to further enhance its sensory credentials. The substrate can be embossed to add tactile qualities or even perforated to offer tantalizing glimpses of the product inside. Print effects like Crown’s Soft Touch create a warmer paper like quality to the surface, extending the breadth of metals appeal. There are endless combinations of print, structure and substrate enhancements, working with Crown to combine these effects creates compelling packaging solutions. A well designed pack can earn pride of place in the consumer’s home, a powerful tool for brand exposure and inspiring consumer loyalty.

At Crown, customers collaborate with our Packaging Design Team to establish requirements and discuss ideas. The team is based at our Innovation Center in Wantage, where we have a wide range of in-house capabilities that enable us to take a new pack from initial concept through development, prototypes, testing and implementation. Our engineers work closely with the design team to create a pack that is not only impactful, but also achievable within time, cost and technical constraints. A collaborative approach is the secret to designing successful packaging, combining the brands vision, marketing and product knowledge with the packaging knowledge base at Crown.

For a glimpse at how metal packaging has successfully brought brands’ vision to life, check out our Inspiration Gallery.