Sun Chemical and Windmoeller & Hoelscher (W&H) recently co-hosted a special event for brand owners, converters and designers called “Transform Your Packaging with COLOR.”

The event reviewed trends and showcased the impact of color on packaging for shelf standout. One goal for the occasion was to develop a real-world proof that showed the benefits of early collaboration in the design and printing process.

Bryce Corporation, a flexible packaging converter based in Memphis, TN, took on that challenge with the creation of Chi-Pop bags.

The packaging design of the Chi-Pop bags recognizes Chicago as the home of specialty popcorns by using the Chicago skyline as the key visual and lists production facts from each of the companies involved at the Transform Your Packaging with COLOR event.

Produced using a W&H VISTAFLEX and expanded color gamut at Bryce Corp., the Chi-Pop bags were reverse printed on OPP film three across. A metallized OPP on the backside was also added using an extrusion laminator.

Most importantly, the colors and effects desired were achieved on the first test run. John Hite, director of printing technologies and pre-press at Bryce Corp., credits the success of achieving the required color targets on the first pull to “early collaboration.”

“From the outset of this project, there was a direct line of communication between the design/concept group, the tonal separations group, the ink company, the press manufacturer and printer/converter,” Hite says. “As soon as there was a concept design, we engaged as a team to address concerns. What are the capabilities of the inks? We knew what the printer concerns were before we went to press. The group collaborating together early in the process allowed us to set proper expectations upfront.”

In the case of the Chi-Pop bags, the early collaboration paid dividends in a variety of ways. For example, the color-shifting inks on the bags presented a unique challenge that had to be overcome. A trial was needed to explore what conditions were needed to make sure the backing material on the substrate was effective.

The original photography used for the design was changed because the separator developed a different image to better accomplish the original intent of the design. Since all the bags needed to have metallics on them, there were some important recommendations made by Bryce Corporation to help those metallics “pop.”

This type of collaboration led to color being achieved easily, matched proofs, and expectations being reached on the first print run.

“It is important to know whether a package’s design elements are achievable. Once it is on the press, it is too late if it doesn’t work right,” Hite said. “There are always limitations no matter what print process is used. Collaboration is the key. We do ourselves an injustice if we don’t know the limitations of the printing process. Using our knowledge early as a team is truly a ‘win-win’ situation. Our Chi-Pop bags are a good example of the benefits of early collaboration.”