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Innovation in packaging technologies is key to success since it offers great opportunities to increase brand identity and customer loyalty. This also applies to the pharmaceutical industry, which is constantly growing: Between 2015 and 2020 the market for pharmaceutical packaging will increase by 8 percent. But still, this sector of the packaging industry, in particular, faces many challenges such as medication intake errors or counterfeit drugs. This is where intelligent packaging comes into play providing several benefits for pharmaceutical packaging.

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Every year the print and packaging industry are challenged to reinvent themselves by developing better technologies or more innovative ideas. 2016 was an exciting year for every player in the industry with drupa taking place to show off some new designs and creations. We gathered for you some of the trends and packaging ideas of this year.

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There are several medications that have to be stored at a certain temperature. Otherwise they might not only become unusable but also dangerous to the patient’s health. Add this to the fact that patients are not constantly adhering to their prescriptions or forget to take their medicine and you see how important smart packaging has become for the pharma industry.

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According to the FAO about one third of the food produced in the world, which is approximately 1.3 billion tons, is thrown out. A newly invented microchip which can be integrated in the packaging made by the German company Global Innovationspromises to tackle the food waste problem with the help of intelligent packaging.

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What sounds like a piece of science fiction is already part of modern packaging. Laser perforation in packages helps keeping fruits and vegetables fresh for much longer and reducing food waste. The key: Precision in the production.

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Packaging is often used to communicate product attributes. ‘Fresh’ is written on packages, or ‘low calorie’ or ‘great taste’ – and consumers have to rely on the printed words to assess the claim. This approach clashes with the axiom of creative storytelling that says ‘show, don’t tell’. A team at the creative agency `Jack the Maker’ in Portugal has taken the storytelling advice literally.

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Designing and creating effective packaging solutions is usually a fairly fragmented process with different kinds of software being used at different stages from creation to production. This can lead to inefficiencies and unnecessary costs. Often, design flaws only become obvious fairly late in the process. Software maker Creative Edge has now developed a solution that addresses these issues.

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Siegwerk is now the first company in the market to offer LED UV printing inks for food and pharmaceutical packaging. Because the requirements for the food and pharmaceutical industries regarding safety and efficiency are very high, Siegwerk’s new ink is considered a real breakthrough.

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Leyla Acaroglu is a leading sustainability strategist and an expert in life cycle and systems thinking in design, production and consumption. Her TED Talk has been watched by more than one million people. In this interview, she shares her insights about better ways to design packaging and about the most common sustainable packaging myths.

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Successful packaging provides valuable space for brands to communicate with the consumer and to convey product information. Researchers from the University of Sheffield partnered with experts from the design and technology company Novalia to develop electronic screens for paper-based packaging that could change the way brands attract and interact with customers.

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Future Links CW 3: Multichannel Edition

When it comes to multichannel news, we could not get around featuring rumours about augmented reality glasses by Apple, Philips’ augmented-reality technology for the image-guided minimally-invasive surgery market , the Royal Shakespeare Company’s innovative approach to storytelling with virtual reality, Crown’s new microsite for designing metal packaging and the new omnichannel programmatic advertisting integration platform by Sharethrough and Adelphic.