Sunday, May 31, 2015

Packaging Material Options: A Review

Here at the Mindsparkz office, we are often given briefs for new and exciting products that need development. More often than not, our clients have put a lot of focus on the item itself, but have forgotten the importance of the packaging.

Now we all have learned the age-old idiom "you can't judge a book by its cover". While this should hold true for most aspects in life, I can attest that in the consumer marketplace, the cover holds a lot of weight. Below we will outline some of the different materials we have used in our projects and the positive features of each.


A perfect way to show quality in a product and instantly add perceived value. It varies in colours and styles. Natural woods are very popular at the moment. Woods can also be dyed in a large range of colouring bring out or mask the natural grain. They can also be coated or laminated to give a glossy, polished look.

Add varnish for a rustic or classic look


Copper – Copper can come in a range of tones. From bright polished to a rustic grimy black or green colour depending on the overall theme of a product. Can also be made so it can snap upon first bending. This is great for a perfume product for a customer having to snap the product for the first time to open

Zinc – Similar properties to copper but different colour. Can be used as a very bright, shiny coating for steels or can become weathered and handmade looking. It’s used in screws also. It’s perfect for that shabby chic or sleek

minimalist look.

Aluminum – While not as pliable as some other metal choices, aluminum has the added benefit off being sturdy and durable. Add to this the ability to polish and anodize in numerous colors, and you have a fine piece of packaging indeed.

Embossed details or faux tarnish can add a great effect


A common choice for the bathroom but not to be overlooked for other forms of packaging. A bold choice. Taking inspiration from previous decades, ceramics can be patterned or printed in a huge variety of way. In some cases each piece can be a unique style due to some manufacturing processes but can be fully controlled so all pieces are identical. Perfect for that sleek minimalistic style.

While fragile, ceramic ca add a very classy look to a project


A good quality glass will always add immediate value to a product or set and is always a keeper. Frosted glass is a very pretty style that isn’t seen on the market as much as it should be. All processes are easy and the same as regular glass. The only difference being it is sandblasted afterwards. You can create intricate patterns depending on the length of time certain parts of the glass are exposed.

mulit-colored or frosted glass can also add that extra highlight


Plastic is one of the most versatile packaging materials. Through numerous processes it can be moulded and shaped to nearly any form imaginable. With several different materials on the market, various properties can be achieved.

Polyresin - formed like clay, this hardens into a brittle, stone-like material. Often used for crests, emblems, and “made by hand” looking products.

Coloured transparent acrylic – Can be coloured to match any brand. Perfect for those vibrant, youthful brands that want a statement colour on the shelves.

The ability to shape plastic and add numerous finishes will always keep it on the top oof our list


An often overlooked choice but an interesting one at that. Stones come in a range of colours patterns and weights. From shiny stones like marble to a nice dull slate colour, they can be finished in a huge variety of ways. The stone's natural appearance may be uneven adding unique features to the product to give each one its own vibe.

Soapstone - often used for the production of bowls and cups, this stone is easily formed due to its soft nature. When formed thin enough, light can even shine through its mineral grains.

Cement – An unusual choice but it has been used for decade to make small containers and pots and now it is becoming popular again in homes and elsewhere. Can be coloured and finished smooth or rough depending on the finish your after.

Often recommended when a strong minimal look is required


Leather, like wood, will always add perceived value to a product as well as visual quality to a brand. Leathers, whether real or fake, can be tanned to come in a range of tones and colours. Most people will associate leather with quality, so for brands in that market, it’s an ideal material.

Be it real leather or PU, these will always add a high perceived-value to a product


A very tough plastic with a brilliant shiny finish. It’s great for using if you want a plastic with a detailed pattern. It’s a great plastic for making those intricate designs. It’s a fantastic material for product you know will take a lot of wear and tear.

Resilient material with a simple beautiful finish. You probably have a a plate or bowl made if this

Carbon Fibre

Carbon Fibre is one of the high quality materials you will always come across. Very strong but lightweight. Easily manufactured and able to be formed into nearly any shape. Colours are usually are black or silver. There is no mistaking that famous carbon fibre pattern.

By no means a economical option, carbon fibre is recognized for its quality the world over


A fantastic materials for getting small textures onto a product. You don't necessarily need to print on a product as texture can also be just as good at creating patterns and images. Available in a huge range of colours, crazy textures and patterns. They can however be printed to create textured images. Rubbers can be very good quality feeling or cheap depending on the finishing performed in production.

With low cost moulds and high-customizability, rubber should not be overlooked.


Ol’ reliable. Paper has been the go-to packaging material since its creation. But don’t think that this material is dated. With such versatility and a bit of creativity, paper can be a perfect match to your product.

With a good eye for design, a simple paper packaging can become so much more

Mixed Media

Why settle for one material when you an mix and match? Some of the best packages are made by mixing several materials together into one beautiful showpiece.

These paper boxes are completely revamped with the use of silicone bands

A wooden box is highlighted with a painted polyresin emblem

The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to packaging material options. New materials, processes,and designs are being created all the time. What is the most interesting package design you have seen recently? We'd love to hear about it in the comments.

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