Packaging Innovations – How print can be used to enhance brand values and create a point of difference?


At ThePackHub, we track many packaging innovations that come to market. We cluster the packaging innovations into six trend areas – on the go; added functionality; packaging that pleases; made for me; disruptive packaging and sustainability. Print is an important medium to help create innovative packaging solutions and plays a significant role in making the ‘made for me’ packaging trend a reality, particularly the role of digital print which can enable short run personalisation and pack versioning initiatives. 


Improvements in the speed and quality of digital print has certainly enabled brand owners to look at different ways of communicating new and engaging methods to create a point of difference. This article looks at some of the packaging projects using print effectively that have caught our eye. 


The first pack is from US Tequila brand Suerte, who have launched a special edition glow-in-the-dark bottle for its five-year aged edition. This is a step change in photo-luminescent pigmentation due to the vibrant palette of glowing colours. The new glow technology used also requires a shorter charge time and the light released lasts longer and it looks great on shelf too! 


Next up is Just Right from Purina, which is a first with the introduction of personalised packs for dogs! Dog owners are able to of personalise the packaging by including a photo of their dog as well as their favourite pet’s name. The packaging will include feeding instructions tailored specifically for each dog. The shopper is cleverly ‘locked in’ to habitually re-order the perfect food for their animal. Clever stuff. Expect to see the same for cats sometime soon! 


Coca Cola recently launched its ‘Stay Extraordinary’ campaign in Israel with the release of two million uniquely designed bottles using a special algorithm. The campaign was created using a completely automated design process with no human intervention. Expect to see this in other markets in due course. 


Lotus Botanical Elixirs recently introduced new designs that make use of Rexam’s tactile printing capability. The textured finish offsets the bright colours of the can’s branding. Rexam’s unique tactile finish creates a texture on the can for an inviting feel that creates an instantaneous relationship when you hold it in your hand. 


CCL Decorative Sleeves have created a glow-in-the-dark sleeve for a new water brand - Whitewater. In darkness and when exposed to UV light, the pack becomes a glowing electric blue. This pack will no doubt be distributed in the bar and pub channel - a great environment to make this pack come to life. 


Natural Laser Light (NLL) is a laser that imprints fresh produce with a variety of pack messages thus doing away with traditional paper or plastic labels. The machine labels up to ten ‘packs’ per second. The NLL system strips off the top few layer of cells, so the product is not damaged and is completely safe for the consumer. 


The innovative Heineken can uses cold-activated ink to deliver a useful surprise to consumers when the beer is chilled. Part of the ‘Cool Can Edition’ has been rendered in thermochromic ink, which becomes visible when the can is at 0ºC, indicating that the beer is cold enough to be enjoyed. 


Finally, it would be impossible to review print packaging initiatives without mentioning the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign from Coca Cola. First launched in the Australian market in 2011, a number of other countries have gone down the debranding route and put the most popular names on the bottles. The campaign was a global sensation and led an increase in consumption of Coca-Cola as well as getting people talking about Coke again. 


Paul Jenkins is founder of UK packaging innovation consultancy ThePackHub. ThePackHub helps brand owners, retailers and packaging suppliers with a full range of packaging innovation services from concept to realisation. To keep up-to-date, you can subscribe to our weekly packaging innovation summary Innovation Zone. Contact Paul via e-mail:


By Paul Jenkins, founder of ThePackHub