Why Custom Packaging is Better than off-the-shelf Stock Packaging: What You Need to Know

There are undoubtedly a lot of trends of which you can take advantage in the packaging industry. Thanks to advancements in technology, you can now benefit from a range of packaging designs and solutions. There are now advanced machines as well as advanced printing equipment which allow you to design your product’s packaging in the best possible way. The trends in packaging today include (but are not limited to) more innovative fresh food packaging, more environmentally-friendly packaging, flexible packaging, and even edible and micro-packaging as well as packaging which is not only water-soluble, but anti-microbial as well! Indeed, the possibilities are endless if you are looking for the perfect packaging solution for your products.

And with all the choices out there, you can benefit from more affordable custom packaging as well. Whilst pre-made packaging is still available, why settle for it if you can have better-quality and value-for-money custom packaging? Here’s why custom packaging is better than pre-made packaging: what you need to know.

A better product fit

When it comes to custom packaging, you can have packaging made that is an exact fit for whatever product you may have. Custom packaging means you can choose different shapes, sizes, designs, and colours for your product packaging; your choices are not limited by pre-existing designs. This allows for a better product fit, particularly if you have a product that has a unique size, shape, or other qualities that are not standard.

Better recognition for your brand

When your product is placed on a shop’s shelves, you want it to be easily seen and attract attention. But you can only achieve this if your brand is easily recognised with the proper colours and the proper logo. If you settle for pre-made packaging, you won’t have the advantage of choosing your preferred colours, and your logo may not even be incorporated into the packaging at all. If you want instant brand recognition and instant recall (and who doesn’t?), then you’re better off with custom packaging. Additionally, if your brand is instantly recognised, you’re establishing enhanced loyalty for your brand and the product(s) you are offering. Your customers will be more likely to remain loyal to a brand they can recognise and form a connection with.

The best silent salesman for your needs

As you may already know, the term ‘silent salesman’ refers to displays, promotional products, signs, and packaging which are expressly designed to increase your company’s sales and your profits. If you have effective custom packaging, you can have an instant connection with your target market. If you go for custom packaging and you have an energy drink, for instance, you can more easily establish a connection and a bond with your target market if you display an image such as a fit person with an active lifestyle on the label. The same is true if you are offering environmentally-friendly packaging to shoppers who are concerned about the environment. A connection is easier to establish if you have the right packaging.

Custom packaging equals better perceived value

If you opt for generic, run-of-the-mill pre-made packaging, your product will not only not get noticed – it may also give your customers the impression that your product is not as useful or valuable to them. Generic packaging can put some customers off purchasing your product just because it gives them the feeling that not enough attention was given to the packaging – which may add to their impression that the product inside the packaging may not be as good either.


Image courtesy of

Some Brilliant ideas for Re-Using your Food and Beverage Containers in and around your Home

Reusable packaging

Most of us do our grocery shopping at least once a week, and we buy a lot of food and beverage items. And the food and beverage as well as household items we buy most often come with their own containers. The result? We end up with a lot of containers, most of which we just throw away and relegate to the landfill.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you want to be a more efficient home-maker and would also like to do your bit for the environment, there are different ways to make use of the packaging containers you purchase from the supermarket and from shops. Do you want to save money as well as be more environmentally-conscious and efficient in your home? Here are some brilliant ideas for re-using your food and beverage containers in and around the home.

Yoghurt containers

Yoghurt may well be one of the most popular food items in any grocery shop. But the problem with yoghurt is that it comes in small, compact containers which we just end up throwing away. If your household consumes a lot of yoghurt, there is a way to make use of those plastic containers. One option would be to use the containers as actual measuring cups when you cook or bake. If you have a standard yoghurt container, that’s 8 ounces. Fill it up, and it amounts to a cup – a cup of flour, for instance, or a cup of water. If you have a quart, this is equal to around 4 cups. Smaller, 4-ounce yoghurt cups are equivalent to half a cup, whilst 6-ounce yoghurt containers are equal to ¾ of a cup. One more tip: you can also use yoghurt containers for plant seedlings. Rather than buying a small pot just for seedlings, simply make use of yoghurt containers!

Jars of baby food

Another creative way to deal with food items would be to make use of them as containers for spices. This is something that you can do with jars of baby food, which are often small. Instead of spending money for an expensive spice rack, why not just put your spices in your collection of baby food jars? This will retain the spices’ freshness, and you can even re-paint the jars and label them attractively to display the name of the spice inside the jar.

Jam, mayonnaise, or peanut butter jars

Most households have an array of spreads and condiments such as jam, mayonnaise, peanut butter, and more. Throw in your pickle jars, mustard jars, and other condiment jars and you really do have a huge selection of jars you don’t know what to do with. But one of the best solutions for these jars is to re-use them as vases, dough cutters (for baking biscuits), or as storage for other food items or even for toys. There are indeed plenty of uses for those jars, and they can really come in handy if you’re looking for somewhere to store items such as biscuits, tea, coffee, oats, and even salt and sugar, and small items such as marbles, coins, hair ties, ribbons, nails, and more.

Liquor bottles

Some liquor bottles come in very attractive containers, and these bottled containers can still be useful in your home. How? Simple: use them as containers for drinking water. Just clean them out, strip off their labels, and you have yourself an attractive and unique drinking water container.

Top Trends Affecting the Packaging Industry in 2017

Packaging Design Trends

Trends affecting the packaging industry can be seen from more than one perspective. Among the different perspectives, the ones affecting the industry at the most would be taken from the packaging professionals in terms of technology advancements; and the consumers perspective in terms of modern lifestyles.

However, research shows that there are certain key trends starting from the consumer, which are impacting the packaging industry the most.

Today we’re going to take a look at what these top trends are, why and how they are affecting the packaging industry, and what this means for brands and consumers alike.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to it…

Sustainability and functionality

The on-the-go lifestyles trend of the leading population segments, which are the Millennials and Gen Z, has brought along the demand for sustainable and functional packaging. In other words, consumers want packaging which is functional, easy to use, and reusable.

This trend is integral with the other trends we will be mentioning here. But it’s important to point out that transparent and flexible packaging are an innovation for an adequate response to that demand.

Research shows that functionality also requires portioning. Put simply, products should have small, portable, one-time consumption versions wherever possible. This is mostly notable in the food and cosmetic industry.

According to the Mintel Packaging Trends 2017 research study, 33% of US adults agree that there are not enough conveniently packaged snacks. Whereas a huge 94% of U.S. adults snack at least once daily, with 50% snacking an average of 2-3 times per day.

When it comes to on-the-go convenience, one great example is from The Pacific Shaving Company. They partnered up with a soluble packaging technology leader MonoSol, to develop the “Single Use Shaving Cream Minis”.

The minis are one shaving dose pods packed in soluble film, in one flexible package bag. In contact with water on the palm of a user’s hand, the film dissolves and the cream gets a foamy consistency ready to be applied.

As well as hitting the mark of convenience and ease of use for travellers, this partnership created a combined sustainable and eco friendly package solution. This is because the amount of material waste is reduced to a minimum through the combination of flexible and soluble packaging.

Transparent packaging

The Transparent packaging trend has emerged with the increase of the consumer awareness of food consumption.

However, transparent packaging is also beneficial in cosmetics. Past research has shown that not being able to tell how much product is left in a container is one of the top frustrations of consumers.

Again, among members of the largest population segments, mostly people aged 18 to 34, 60% of them agree that it’s highly important to be able to see what’s inside of a package, especially when it comes to food.

Research shows that transparent packaging is key to building trust and customer loyalty.

A great example of leveraging the transparent packaging trend to increase brand recognition is from ‘Sonoco’ – the company behind the “TrueVue” plastic, transparent, can.

Flexible packaging

The packaging industry is one of great innovations over the last few years. This is reflected through technology advancements, and the use of different resources and materials. In such a demanding industry, packaging and labeling companies are continuously striving to develop solutions which meet all of the greatest trends.

One of these solutions, is flexible packaging. Flexible packaging, according to Esko, “…is headed for an annual growth rate of 3%, resulting in an overall market value of $210 billion by 2020. Asia is the largest market for flexible packaging today, accounting for 40% of global market volume, followed by Western Europe and North America. Flexible packaging is mostly used in the food sector, with flexible food packaging showing an annual growth rate of 4% in terms of volume over the last five years. The beverage sector and pharmaceutical sector follow close behind.”

Flexible packaging is the answer to consumer functionality and sustainability demands. Additionally, flexible packaging uses less material, which makes it more environment friendly. The reduced resource use makes it cheaper to ship. Plus, it extends shelf-life.

Eco-friendliness and recycling

In the last decade, people across the globe have become way more aware of pollution issues, and this seems to be a growing trend.

Recent studies indicate that 62% of customers feel negatively toward brands that don’t use eco-friendly packaging.

Research shows that 21% of Canadian consumers are interested in a resealable or re-closable packaging in order to reduce waste.

Switching to sustainable and eco-friendly packaging gives brands the competitive edge to climb the market ladder higher up.

Take Tetra Pak’s Tetra Evero Aseptic milk bottle for example. Not only does it hit the mark with functionality for consumers as well as manufacturers, but it is also recyclable and leaves a way smaller carbon footprint in the recycling process.

Smart packaging

Technology advancements continue to follow and adapt to trending consumer demands. As the modern hi-tech era is a time of all things smart, the packaging industry follows the trend through creative innovations which are focused on giving consumers what they need in terms of convenience and functionality.

Color code indicators are a smart packaging innovation which was a response to the very common issues concerning best before dates. Consumers often find the use by/sell by dates confusing. Additionally, some retailers have been known to tamper with packaging dates.

A great example of a freshness indicator is the Insignia Nova label, which has a color code and a large dot which changes color with time which indicates the freshness of the product.

Smart packaging is active. Paired with technologies such as QR Codes and NFC, smart packaging becomes a powerful customer engagement tool which effectively impacts customer loyalty as well as the buying decision.

Leveraging technology to connect with consumers directly through a product began with QR Codes. With technology advancements, NFC brings more speed and convenience. This type of technology makes for a great marketing tool.

Smart packaging plays a big role in pharma. So medical products are packaged in a way that they are paired with tech and apps which enable dosage tracking, health event management, and so on.

The Xerox ThinFilm label is a great example of hi tech innovation in smart packaging. The smart label is a small flexible label with 36 bits of rewritable memory and it serves as a practical, low-cost solution against counterfeiting.

Unique design and experience

With the increase of ecommerce and online retail businesses, packaging has become a key element in brands marketing strategies. Personalized, unique design packaging is developed with the goal of providing unique unpackaging experiences.

Cognitive cues are a part of every good content marketing strategy. In other words, the information being represented on a package, the colors, the phrasing, and the visual appeal and imaging, should match the target consumers – their desires, demands, and lifestyles.

Consumer behavior is the basis of content marketing, which is further proof that the design of a package should be based on a well developed content marketing strategy.

36% of UK consumers agree that unique packaging designs make a product more appealing. Under-25s are the keenest on one-ofa-kind packaging, with agreement reaching 53%.

Combining the trends in packaging design and development

The online world provides lots of opportunity and convenience, but it has also led to an increase in competition, especially in retail.

Brands must consider these top trends during package development. They need to find the most effective way to respond to the consumer issue which is reflected through one of these trends along with designing a package which provides a unique experience to consumers.

Some Essential Trends in Summer Packaging You Should Know

When it’s in vogue, it’s popular – when it’s popular, you have to take advantage of it and sell it as much as you can. This goes for all sorts of things, but most of all for clothing, for movies, for food, for everything else. Most people don’t realise it, but it goes for packaging trends as well. Like everything else, packaging undergoes changes throughout the year, and it should actually be adjusted according to the likes of the consumer and the trends of the time or season. Have you wondered how you should prepare the perfect packaging for the summer to come? Here are some essential trends in summer packaging you should know about.

Changes in colours

When talking about design, colours should always be mentioned first. They are, after all, that which catches the eye first. The current trend for this summer is filled with earth and nature tones. Think, for example, about colours such as hazelnut, green, kale, and Niagara. Brighter colours such as yellow or orange are reduced to primrose yellow and flame. Add to this mix pale dogwood, island paradise, pink yarrow and lapis blue, and you get the picture. It’s about retreat as well as soft blending.

Going bold

Just because the colours are more subdued for this summer doesn’t mean you can’t make some bold statements – on the contrary. Blending and contrasting those hues in the right way allows for some profound summer messaging to go around. Picture, for example, a soft orange background with a splash of yellow (summer sunset) and azure green or blue as your main eye-catcher. It immediately invokes the image of tropical islands and hot summer fun.

Popular patterns

It’s not just the colour mix that has taken its inspiration from nature; design patterns for backgrounds are also taken from the natural environment all around us. Large leaves, such as those that can be seen from banana, palm, or plantain trees, as well as spiky large leaves of coconut trees or similar patterns are in vogue. Summer blossoms or pink and intricate leaf patterns of soft orange are also a great hit nowadays.

Going minimalistic

Symbols are at the forefront this summer – nobody needs any complicated logos, and people seem to abhor graphics that are hard to understand. The simple circle is back, as is the rounded square or the infinity symbol. It’s all about smoothness, curvature, and simplicity.

Simple illustrations

Don’t bother with detail – the hand-drawn craft is back. Keeping it simple and retro is the message.

When it comes to colouring, you have to put your mind into the frame of nature. Of course, bold contrasts are important if you want to make a point. This trend is not just limited to colours, however – the patterns that are getting more and more popular are based on natural blueprints as well. If you’re looking for a long-term packaging arrangement, then it’s always safe to stay on the classical and the tested and proven methods; but if you want to make an impact this summer, then adjust, and adjust quickly. Be wise – give your consumer what they want, and the rewards will certainly come.

Photo by Toa Heftiba

How Effective is Environmentally-Friendly Packaging for Your Brand? Top Reasons to Get into it Today

sustainable packaging

Yes, you probably have a great product, even if you do say so yourself. You’ve already received a lot of great comments about your product’s quality, efficiency, and so on. But at the end of the day, no matter how brilliant your product is, there’s still something to be said about how it is packaged. The right packaging is crucial if you really want your product to stand out. So how do you achieve this? One of your best options is to go for environmentally-friendly packaging. Now the big question is, why should you do it, and how effective is environmentally-friendly packaging for your brand? Here are some top reasons to get into it today.

Obviously, for the good of the environment

If you don’t already know, environmentally-friendly packaging is, as its name implies, simply better for the environment overall. Ecologically-friendly packaging is often comprised of materials which are recycled, which results in a reduction of the use of natural resources. Furthermore, if you opt for environmentally-friendly packaging, the process of manufacturing itself is usually more practical and efficient, thus reducing the use of natural resources even further. The materials used are naturally bio-degradable as well, and there is also the trend of using plant-based chemicals, such as ink made from soy, which has a lower level of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are substances that can cause environmental harm.

Enhanced versatility

Contrary to what some people may think, environmentally-friendly packaging is actually amazingly versatile, which means that it can be used for virtually any kind of product you can imagine. It’s often used for food items such as cakes and pastries, meat, vegetables, and non-food items such as cosmetics and even electronic gadgets and other devices.

Easier to throw away

Apart from having a lower impact on the environment, environmentally-friendly packaging tends to be easier to throw away or dispose of as well. This is because, simply put, it can easily be recycled or composted. If you have customers who have provisions for composting, this means that they can just put it in the facility and the packaging can be used again as plant fertiliser. Even if your customers don’t have composting provisions, they can just as easily bury the packaging in their gardens with the sure knowledge that it will be able to biodegrade over time.

Say goodbye to plastic

We all know how harmful plastic can be to our animals, especially to the animals of the sea. If you opt for traditional films or clamshell type packaging, this is bound to contain a quantity of plastic that has been proven to contribute to environmental degradation as well as global warming. What’s more, producing plastics (using petrochemicals) requires a huge amount of energy, and this energy is, more often than not, non-sustainable. Besides, doesn’t it feel good to know that you’re doing your own bit when it comes to keeping the environment as it is, and making sure animals and other life forms are safe from the dangerous effects of plastics?

At the end of the day, environmentally-friendly packaging is, indeed, the way to go if you want your brand to be noticed, if you want your image to be enhanced, and if you want to do your part in protecting our precious natural resources.

image courtesy of Lacey Williams on Unsplash


​What You Really Need to Know about Labelling and Packaging Organic Food

We all know how important the right packaging is when it comes to food products, home items, cleaning supplies, clothing, and so much more. But certain items require more deliberate and carefully-thought-out packaging than most. Organic food, for instance, needs to be labelled and packaged according to various regulations and stipulations, and if this isn’t done in the correct manner, all your efforts at actually growing and developing the product may come to naught. Here, then, is what you really need to know about labelling and packaging organic food.
As a retailer, you can’t just label something ‘organic’ to attract consumers to purchase your product. Certain regulations have to be met, and the government is quite clear on this as well.

Labelling organic products

A product can only be labelled ‘organic’ if 95 percent of its ingredients are organic – in other words, farm-bred and grown and all-natural. You can also label a product ‘organic’ if you sell your products directly to the customers in your own shop. According to EU regulations, your product should not contain any genetically-modified organisms or derived products.

But these are just the tip of the iceberg. You need to have certified organic products first, and this can only happen with an assessment from one of the several organic certification bodies in the UK. These organisations include the following:

  • Organic Famers & Growers Association
  • Organic Food Federation
  • Biodynamic Agricultural Association
  • Soil Association Certification Ltd
  • Organic Trust Limited
  • Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltd
  • Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association
  • Global Trust Certification Ltd
  • OF & G (Scotland) Ltd

You must approach any one of these bodies and have your product(s) certified by them first before you can label your products ‘organic’. The process can be made easier if you approach the organisation which is nearest to you. For instance, if you are located in Scotland, you can have your products certified by OF & G (Scotland) Ltd, and if you are in Ireland, you can ask for certification from the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association, and so on.

Once you have been certified

Once you have received your certification and have been able to label your products as organic, you will have to follow some strict and stringent guidelines as well in order to maintain your label and packaging. You will also have to keep accurate, methodical, and highly-detailed records of your process of production. Aside from this, you will have to be ready to undergo annual as well as random checks and inspections.

Since July of 2010, businesses that produce organic food which is packaged have had to use a specially-designed organic logo for the EU. This, however, is not required for companies producing organic food which are not part of the EU. As of now, with the exit of Britain from the EU, the regulations have still not been updated, although there are some indications that the regulations and legislations for labelling and packaging organic food may be affected as well. But at the moment, producers will still have to use the EU logo for organic food.

How to create a simple valentines origami heart.

This valentines, we thought we’d show you how to create a simple yet effective origami valentines heart which can be used as a decoration or inserted into your gift packaging or to contain a personal message.

A thoughtful but simple gesture…

Step One

Take a piece of A4 paper – gift wrapping works well, but can be any nice material or coloured paper.


Step Two

Fold the top 2 corners down diagonally to create a cross shape.


Step Three

Bring the top down with the centre of the cross making a point, by tucking the sides in and folding flat with your fingers to make a triangle.

Step Four

With the triangle facing upwards, bring the front flaps forward and up to make a diamond shape.


Step Five

Fold the sides inwards so that they meet in the middle.


Step Six

Turn the part over and fold the bottom upwards to meet the bottom of the triangle.

Step Seven

Fold the front half of the triangle over the bottom flap.


Step Eight

Fold the bottom left and right corners upwards and tuck between the flaps in the triangle you just folded down.

Step Nine

Finally, fold the remaining top two triangles downwards at an angle to make the top of the heart. The tips of these last triangles can be tucked under the flap of the middle triangle.


The history of Packaging Design in Redditch, Worcestershire

I grew up in Redditch and have returned here to set up Pactivate due to the town’s unique and convenient location within the midlands. The connections here are great along with the local companies that we work closely with to ensure that our customers’ packaging meets the demands placed upon it within the supply chain.

Abel Morralls Trade Mark Burnished

Redditch is famous for a wide range of light industry and since the early 18th century has been shipping products around the world. Famous for needles, fish hooks and spring products, the most well known company was Abel Morrall Limited who’s ‘Clive Works’ site inspired product categories due to it’s prominence and reputation for quality.

Abel Morrall was founded in 1785 and became publicly listed in 1898. Their brands included Aero knitting pins, Flora McDonald Sewing needles along with a range of haberdashery smallwares and hypodermic needles.

Conveniently located on the main Redditch to Birmingham rail line, the Clive Works site has left a mark on the town with street names such as Clive Road and a dedicated exhibition within the forge mill needle museum.

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The end of the Abel Morrall brand came when it was amalgamated with a Glaswegian firm in 1984.

As well as the interesting history of some of these brands, the mark left has been in the form of a wide range of technology and packaging related services. From CAD Software and machinery companies such as Barco Kongsberg who are now part of Esko Graphics, and Lasercomb Dies (creating specialist tooling for the industry) and Bobst group (who manufacture packaging machinery) along with a wide array of printing and print finishing services in the area well known within the industry.

We’re proud to be continuing this heritage and to service the packaging needs of the west midlands and Worcestershire and would love to hear from you if you have any similar interests or can add to this interesting story.

The Shape of Packaging to Come

As designers, we’re constantly looking to the future to predict the next trends and come up with that inspiration for the newest iconic packaging range. Fashion comes and goes and we see this in the use of materials and processes across certain industries.

Each time a new process or application is developed such as cold foil printing or laser cut card, manufacturers battle to sell the feature to marketers and agencies who then find ways to utilise the technique in their product packaging. Soon, however, the trend becomes stale as the market place becomes flooded and marketers struggle for their message to stand out from the noise. This continuing cycle is a function of speed to market and a result of the challenges that brand owners face in a highly competitive environment.

Sometimes it is easy to reach straight for the new technology as an easy route to competitiveness or differentiation, but I would argue that a well thought out pared down approach to design is much more likely to achieve a considered and cohesive result that not only catches the eye but has the added emotional connection that can be so difficult to achieve with a brand.

For me the future of the industry is not a new material or process but the way we apply design and branding to the packaging. There are lots of new technologies and systems for managing unique customer experiences such as personalization and highly targeted packaging solutions through to recording of usage and data capture, but sometimes these technologies can miss important intangible connections which help us connect with the packaging. By getting back to basics and starting with a fresh clean piece of paper, we can not only help redefine the message, but reintroduce new exciting ways that your consumer can interact with your product.

Before starting with a packaging project we like to understand the values of the company as well as the usage and application of the product so that we can help to apply those messages to each element of the container.

Our design process has been formed out of a number of years’ refining and helps us to answer the intrinsic questions about the audience and key messages that your brand is trying to deliver. With this approach, we start from the ground up applying features, materials and processes that not only look great, but work together and are achievable in a real world scenario.

This way, not only can we help your product to catch the eye, but also to hold attention through the lifecycle of the customer experience to ensure that they come back next time.