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Wonderful & Weird

By Helen Dugdale.
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Welcome to Wonderful & Weird where we peel back the label on what our research and development team have been focusing on. This month’s challenge was to explore the wonders of glitter inks. Stuart Kellock shares the findings of the research.

The process:

It all started when we were introduced to the Merc Group, suppliers of innovative pigments. They wowed us with their swatch books of over 250 inks, each with different variations of glitter, lustre and pearlescent. It was tricky to choose but we selected a handful of colours to kick off the research. Merk provided the materials which comes as a powdered pigment which we mixed into a varnish and then put the powered pigment on top of a colour. The shine and sparkle of the pigment is altered by the colour underneath creating unique effects.

We found some colours looked great while others just didn’t go well with the glitter, which was to be expected. We’ve had some serious fun trialling over 200 different colours with a variety of glittery inks.  Part of the trail was to build up a stock pile of swatches to show what can be achieved. Out of all the powered finishes we used just five, and out of that five we added different quantities of the glitter, starting off at three per cent and reaching ten per cent.

For demonstration purposes we’ve created five different varnishes on approximately 200 colours on two different substrates. This process is all about showing people what they could do to liven up their labels. It’s been great fun and has allowed us to do some serious learning and exploring. As an outcome we’ve compiled a catalogue of Wonderful and Weird labels that we will have available at the NEC.

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The finds: 

We’ve created a series of non-specific drinks labels that showcases a ‘dusky pink’ range which is currently on-trend, plus we’re tapping into the industry excitement around the Pantone Colour for 2018, which is purple (PMS @096). We’ve also discovered through experimentation that brown goes well with the glitter as it really lifts the colour. As printers, we’re always looking for new things and this is opening up exciting doors.

At Label Apeel we’re a 50-strong team of absolute packaging geeks who love challenging what the market is doing. Brands are pretty much guided by the design agencies and if the designers don’t know about it they can’t talk about it. We make a massive effort to reach out to help educate designers which in turn helps the brand owners. It’s exciting for our team to be able to take this to designers to ‘show and tell’ what we can offer their clients.

What brands and sector does it suit?

For the right brands, glitter has great potential. It just needs using in the correct way and in the right quantity.

We’re particularly confident that it will work across personal care, spirits and the beer industry. On the whole it will work in a different way for each brand and each sector creating a whole host of new options.

We see our R+D work as a partnership between Label Apeel, our suppliers and designers. We welcome collaboration from complimentary businesses who want to get involved with future projects or who have a project idea that we can help them delve into and explore.

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