Where the Rubber Hits the Road
In today’s intensely competitive consumer environment, a package is considerably more than an inert enclosure or container for a given product. As marketers compete for shelf space and consumer dollars, packages have become dynamic, high-performing marketing tools.
From a design perspective, the creation of a package involves two distinct but intimately related workflows representing structure and graphic design. And, while graphics continue to play a critical a role in boosting a product’s visual appeal, the practical and functional advantages of a well-engineered package should never be discounted. Indeed, the lexicon of box styles—reverse tuck, same tuck or rollover end, crash bottom, snap-lock bottom front, auto-bottom hinge front, auto-bottom pop-up, auto bottom with fifth panel, folder, simplex tray or tray with frame, and many more—rivals the competitive vocabulary of Olympic figure skating and can be as difficult to execute as any triple toe loop.
A company very familiar with packaging design is Midlands Packaging Corporation, a privately held company with corporate headquarters and production facilities located in Lincoln, Neb. The company specializes in developing custom and standard solutions for folding cartons, corrugated, and thermoformed plastics packaging, primarily in the pharmaceutical, animal health, and hardware markets.
The company boasts a complete Esko-Graphics prepress system, an in-house structural design and die shop, as well as printing and diecutting capabilities. Midlands’ structural design department uses Esko’s ArtiosCAD Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to develop innovative and effective folding carton and corrugated structural design solutions. A direct computer link to the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) system anchored by a pair of Kongsberg die-less cutting tables enables Midlands’ designers to be more creative and responsive in the design and development process.
Distinctive structure with distinctive graphics
“The days of the standard reverse tuck-in end carton are going away,” says Brent Lindquist, design/die room manager. “Differentiation used to be accomplished primarily with graphics, but now it’s being done more and more with structure.”