Holography adds value to packaging, says Dr Paul Dunn, chair of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association, who looks at the latest developments.
End-user demand and the search for ever more interesting packaging concepts and design show holography continues to prove itself to be an extremely versatile and flexible technology. It lends itself to integration with various substrates and print and conversion technologies, driving new products and innovative applications.
Indeed, rising global demand for packaging security and authentication devices also continues to strengthen the market for holography. Growth in packaging authentication devices appears both strong and lucrative on the back of forecasts that the global market for anti-counterfeiting packaging will reach upwards of US$ 250 billion (approximately Rs 18 lakh crore) by 2026. This is primarily due to the rise in healthcare concerns, higher adoption rates of anti-counterfeit technologies and growing awareness of tracking and tracing technologies.
A new generation of optical structures is in progress, featuring distinct visual effects that are easy to identify, yet even more difficult to simulate, while new techniques in film coating and production technology are seeing the boundaries for the use of holographic materials pushed ever further – a wide variety of specialist origination techniques offer an almost infinite variety of colourful 3D visual effects, ranging from the bright and stunning, to subtle graphic features and tones.
The brightness, vivacity and lustre of today’s hologram makes it an extremely eye-catching packaging accoutrement. Indeed, various surveys have established that the technology grabs the attention of global consumers browsing the product shelves in a store or supermarket. This is the one single property that all brand owners look for in their packaging – maximum brand appeal.
Holography also imparts a premium look to the package, which is why more and more companies are using holographic films and foils in their packaging. Toothpastes, premium cosmetics and personal care products are among the big users of holographic elements in their packaging. In this application, the security that is naturally provided by a hologram is of peripheral benefit as any custom designed holographic pattern offers the option of including security features to make the package secure against counterfeiting.
Innovation in holographic films are ideal for a wide variety of flexible eye-catching applications, further increasing the creative visual opportunities for packaging and print designers to reinforce brand identities, catch the customer’s eye and reinvigorate mature or aging designs.
Indeed, holography’s ability to refresh and reinvigorate brands continues, highlighted by the recent holography industry awards – the Excellence in Holography Awards 2019 – where imaginative solutions reinforcing the important role the technology plays, particularly in tackling product anti-counterfeiting and authentication, were evident.
This included a new eye-catching holographic shrink sleeve that won the ‘Best Applied Decorative or Packaging Product’ category. PT Pura Barutama’s Force Magic product features a hologram and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) shrink sleeve, which combine to create a stand-out design as part of a new sleeve wrap for Enesis Group’s Force Magic insecticide aerosol. The application impressed the judges because it sees the best in holography and PVC unite to create a packaging solution without the requirements for any new treatment methods or additional processes.
US-based Hazen Paper’s award winning holographic folding carton, called ‘The Spirit of Innovation’ for prestige luxury box maker Autajon Packaging USA, features a three-dimensional jewel-toned snake and a female model whose face transforms from a human to reptile when the box is tilted. It’s manufactured with precisely registered custom colour-motion holography that reflects and refracts light to bring the images to life and catch the eye, in a move described as ‘…visually and tactilely stunning’.
Elsewhere, Holography Industry CJSC’s (Belarus) next generation of labels use a combination of polygraphic printing and holographic images to enable the implementation of new visual effects for anti-counterfeit protection. The cold embossed hologram integrated into the labels enables bespoke designs to be produced for brand enhancement and shelf appeal.
In India, Holostik’s work for Afxigra has led to the introduction of a holographic packaging product that not only protects the brand but also enhances shelf appeal. The packaging includes a non-printed metallic effect, a platinum relief image which contains an embossed 3D effect, a dome lens effect, a brush stroke effect and a heart outline.
Magnum, also from Holostik, is a secure yet eye-catching hologram that incorporates a portfolio optical of features including: full visible dynamic effects, emboss effects producing depth, kinetic effect, a Fresnel effects, 2d/3d effects, 3D text, a gradient effect, animated flower and text, and an animated covert laser readable effect together with many other features.
New imaging techniques and combinations of other overt authentication technologies with holograms are producing advanced optical security devices which combine ease of recognition benefits with significantly enhanced resistance to counterfeits, enabling products to be controlled through an expanded system solution involving security authentication features, tracking mechanisms and investigative services.
Despite predictions to the contrary, holography remains as relevant as ever, going from strength-to-strength as an effective added value packaging device, demonstrating the highest standards of visual appeal, quality, creativity and technical innovation. And, with continued investment in R&D coupled with creative thinking, holography will continue to evolve as those responsible for packaging design and development see the benefits of a technology that has a great deal to offer.
Article issued on behalf of International Hologram Manufacturers Association