If you look at back issues of SPRAY or especially our predecessor
Aerosol Age, you will find no shortage of the best-looking
aerosol products of the day. You may still even find some
of them in your grandparent’s garage. Despite their allure
in the 20th Century, to our contemporary eye, they might look
clunky and uninspired, or even downright homely. We, as current
consumers, are spoiled for choice of an array of almost unbelievably
striking spray packages. We expect bright colors, cool shapes
and lots of sparkle. We also expect that the products work just as,
or better, than described.
The results of these expectations come with a lot of work behind
them. These products don’t magically appear on shelves without
a lot of science and creativity behind them. SPRAY spoke to a
number of companies in different areas of container decoration to
provide an overview of current trends and technology.
According to can-makers…
“From our perspective, two current overarching decorating trends
for aerosol containers involve the premiumization of packaging to
enhance shelf appeal and an increased demand for limited-edition
packaging to connect brands to anniversaries, pop culture events
and other short-term promotions,” explained George Buckland,
VP-Commercial for Closures, Aerosol & Promotional Packaging
(CAPP) North America, Crown Holdings, Inc., Yardley, PA.
“Let’s start with the premiumization trend, which is being
driven by consumers that are searching for luxury experiences at
home,” said Buckland.
“Brands are seeing packaging as a key touchpoint in omnichannel
marketing campaigns. We have partnered with numerous
brands to create exciting promotional campaigns that utilize the
ability to marry complex graphics with new printing capabilities
and capture consumer attention. In addition, our manufacturing
processes help ensure that brands can produce limited-edition
packaging that promotes holidays, special occasions and other
events in a timely manner and with ease. We also offer variable
printing, which is helpful for brands seeking to issue several versions
of a package design simultaneously. Developed to print all of
the designs on the same printing plate, this approach helps ensure
that designs are pre-mixed on pallets, allowing consumers to collect
an entire series of cans.”
For example, to support Steven Spielberg’s iconic Jurassic Park
film franchise, Barbasol’s parent company Perio, Inc., worked
with Crown to introduce two unique, limited-edition shaving
cream cans to coincide with the Jurassic World film. Each of the
addition to the
and the brand,
supporting a robust marketing campaign,” explained Buckland.
According to Crown, novel can sizes and travel sizes are also
becoming more popular as a means of appealing to on-the-go
lifestyles and enhancing premium appeal. As these new can sizes
emerge, decoration techniques and methods of application have to
adapt to work with different surface areas and dimensions.
Aerosol decorative techniques of debossing and embossing make
custom packaging stand out even more with distinct decoration.
Embossing involves raising part of the can’s surface, often logos or
other brand images, to make the container more tactile and eyecatching.
Debossing is the process of depressing selected areas to a
similar effect. From focused areas to all-over application, these two
techniques enhance products by creating varying depths on the
can to give consumers a completely new experience.
Shelf appeal is a common benefit, noted Buckland, but some
decorative techniques also help to improve consumer ease-of-use.
Debossed and embossed aerosol packaging, for example, allow
graphic designs to come to life but can also make products more
convenient to use and easy-to-hold for the young and old. For instance,
debossing can provide better grip on personal care products
that get wet, like shaving cream, and make the packaging more
ergonomic and user-friendly.
Specialty finishes can also help aerosol packaging to engage consumer
senses. A matte surface, for example, offers a distinct tactile
experience, while a glossy surface that catches the light will attract
visual interest while on the retail shelf.
Shaping is another viable option for brands seeking to enhance
product differentiation. Crown’s facilities in Europe are equipped
with blow-forming technology that allows cans to be expanded by
up to 25%, creating an opportunity for unique and imaginative
designs, said Buckland. Metal containers can feature subtle curves
or highly innovative asymmetrical designs, depending on the look
brands are aiming to achieve. The company is also equipped to
work with more irregular shapes that can be a powerful showcase
for flagship brands.
Regarding technological challenges, Buckland indicated that
the challenge is not in the technologies themselves but in the
“Take debossing—understanding the structure of the can itself,
where to place—and not to place—the debossing pattern and how
to design graphics that align with the pattern and do not get distorted
are just a few of the factors that come into play. Ultimately,
these considerations all affect how the final product will be received
by consumers. Our goal is to ensure the final design conveys
the intended image and message of the brand and product.”
Aluminum aerosol customers traditionally have shied away
from photo-realistic packaging designs because the graphics do not
translate well to conventional offset printing. To overcome this
limitation, Ball Aerosol Packaging, Broomfield, CO, has launched
the Eyeris, a proprietary high-definition printing technique.
For customers craving detailed graphics to bring products to
life, Eyeris printing can help provide photo-realistic quality can
designs without digital printing. The high-definition (HD) imagery
spans 360° of the can, creating product differentiation that engages
consumers and elevates brands.
14 SPRAY February 2019