During the last Paris Packaging Week it was interesting for us to come back to the challenges of packaging for brands in 2022 with 2 highlights :
- Brand strategy to manage packaging and minimise footprint on the environment
- The right path to select the solution to control the life cycle of your artworks to drive a new consumer experience.
As Laure Brossart Presidente EMEA and APAC SGS&CO and Yohann SABARLY Technical Director, Europe at SGS&Co demonstrated during an excellent presentation, we are coming out of two years of COVID which accelerated the demand for concrete solutions from brands.
The world of packaging has often been seen as a market dedicated for experts due to the complexity of artwork and processes. Nevertheless, the need for brands in packaging has never been so huge with the acceleration of the life cycle of packaging and digital.
By the way after years it is more and more an area of expertise in a world where color and technical print knowledge tend to vanish. By the way even the latest modern DAM systems can not supports PDF artworks.
At the end, it is more and more difficult to find the right path for any brand manager who wants to manage all the complexity of the life cycle of "artworks", how to organize them, preview, share, distribute, print them... with the best roi.
More and more brands want to be able to have editing capabilities on artworks, automate their production connected to databases, marketplaces and control them before printing, with simple tools. A modern packaging solution must be connected to the company's systems while offering a seamless customer experience.
However during the last years, the place of packaging and its impact on the environment are at the forefront, pushing brands to change their approach to their packaging cycle from design to manufacturing. It is becoming strategic for brands to be responsible and take care of the footprint of their packaging with a minimum impact on the environment.
Mintel's latest report perfectly identifies these challenges for brands in 2022 :
Among these figures we note those of consumers are looking for branded products that respect the environment :
We also recommend you to take a glance at these two other reports:
Packaging regulations will evolve over the next years in order to respond to responsible packaging.
Since July 2021 single-use plastic ban in the EU.
560 MEPs voted in favor of the agreement with EU ministers.
The following products have been banned in the EU by 2021:
• Disposable plastic plates
• Plastic straws
• Plastic cotton swab sticks
• Plastic balloon sticks
• Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups
The UK government has confirmed its intention to introduce the new plastic packaging tax from April 2022, with the aim of encouraging greater use of recycled plastic and helping to tackle packaging waste in plastic. The tax applies to plastic packaging produced in or imported into the UK.
For any brand manager outside the sustainable packaging challenge it is important to find the right path to the solution to manage all the packaging lifecycle in the ecosystem of brands though a concret solution.
- Brands need to aggregate the data leak of the company (multiple sources) to enrich the products
- Need to control all the technical proprieties of the artwork
- To distribute them on different channels from print to the social network.
First of all, it is important to control the artwork. Like all file management, it is important to be able to rely on standards, and fortunately for 30 years now, PDF has been there to offer the right format and merge all the specificities of the packaging file.
But beyond the PDF what do you most often find as Artwork?
An illustrator file, Indesign, an Artpro file? In any case, a more complex file to manage than a simple image RGB. Most often we will find the Illustrator file and this for 30 years. The Indesign file which allows to manage smart automation is still rare or in the mastery of some disruptive visionaries :)
Hopefully The Ghent Workgroup brings together the best experts in the business, provides a series of specifications and best practices for output "Ready to Print" PDF files. In packaging the GWG 2015 Packaging describes the requirements that a PDF must comply with to follow the GWG2015 packaging specifications. It is based on the current ISO PDF/X standards (PDF/X-4), and adds a number of specific requirements for different market segments.
The packaging solutions market remains a niche market, but with the help of "micro services"and APIs, the potential of solutions is beginning to expand to precisely cover all of a brand's needs with the best of technologies.
Below we have constructed a list of such commonly used editor solutions sold in the market. We will come back to the start of the school year on a more advanced comparison of each of them by positioning them on a map like our map of DAM solutions.
At the top of the pyramid we necessarily have Esko which remains the foundation of many brands from manufacturing to printing. And since Esko has more or less imposed its Artpro and Illustrator file, we find ourselves in a situation where the market continues to work with Illustrator while the Indesign document offers the same capabilities and even more in terms of performance, modularity and automating.
Priint, for example, has released its comet plugin for illustrator to meet these automation demands. Chili Publish had also released technology in partnership with Esko a few years ago and is still developing solutions with the Chili v6 in the cloud driven by Indesign (IDML).. However, the shortest path remains the support of the PDF file, which in the context of packaging remains a challenge for many DAM solutions,
Beyond Esko, there is a real alternative with Hybridsoftware providing advanced packaging capabilities. One of the bets seller is their ODFeditor Pack Z and CloudFlow with proof scope as leading solutions to manage complex artwork.
Recently Hybridsoftware made a smart acquisition of Creative Edge and its 3D editor IC3D.éditeur 3D IC3D.
These 2 players are the 2 major vendors and solutions in the market with the capability to manage native files, pdfs, online editing, approval cycle, and technical control etc....
At a different level DALIM offers an all-in-one solution with ES to manage the same scope of functionalities at a lower cost. Nevertheless, the ES / Dialogue / Twist make it possible to answer to many customers use cases in packaging with project template, Job Ticket, BPM workflow, PDF workflow, soft proof viewer, KPIs, Gant dashboard and DAM repository.
Fall this year the DALIM ES should finally offer a modern React interface with probably a new name for the solution.
Find a presentation of the solution and customer use case with Galilée.
The solution that we find the most innovative and disruptive is maybe Mediabox, a new player on the market but not that much... Like many agencies, they finally made the decision to build their own solution. Obviously this context makes it possible to be in direct contact with customers needs and to have an innovative approach a like Bynder did in his time.
The benefits of the Mediabox cloud solution:
- User experience
- Softproof Viewer
- Project management with Gant and Kanban type dashboards
- Workflow Management (BPM)
- Indesign server online editing
- 3D online editing
As our list shows, the market has been enriched with a few solutions. Recently GlobalVision released its own cloud solution Verify and also announced its technology partnership with Veeva.
Among the known players in this Loftware market,
,Schlafender Hase, Adobe Workfront ex ProofHQ,
Ziflow is one of its modern viewers but which does not yet support the spot coolers, transparencies, vanish.
There are also editors like OpenText and Aprimo. OpenText, thanks to its acquisition of Wiki solution and its advanced workflow, SAP native connexion, and the enterprise DAM, is a solution that can be found with a few large brands, just like also Aprimo ex Adam Software.
But a new player has arrived, PDFTron, which offers a modern viewer capable of supporting any type of file, image, video, 3D and even a packaging file. We find this viewer more and more integrated in editor solutions or in custom developments.
When looking for a modern solution to track and control the life cycle of your packaging it is important to check this short list of NFRs:
- Softproof management essential in packaging
- BPM workflow management
- Modern interface (Angular / React....)
- Advanced management of customizable metadata in order to build your product sheet or your project
- Advanced dashboard in the form of a Glove to manage the distribution of tasks and capacities of the team
- Advanced KPIs able to follow the life cycle of artworks, number of revisions, deadline between milestones etc...
One more thing with the GS1 Hero image to improve sales on mobile for most of brands. The GS1 Mobile Ready Hero Image Guideline highlights how retailers and brand owners need to present the information in a clear and consistent manner across the digital shelf to help shoppers find the product they want more easily, increase sales and reduce the frequency of accidental or erroneous basket adds. Below is an example produced by the Square agency specializing in the implementation of packaging solutions, automation and creation of Hero Image,
In any case, our experts at Activo will accompany you in the search for a solution with an agnostic approach that will meet your expression of needs and the best return on investment. Later in September we will benchmark and rank all these solution at the top of a Map.