As consumers, we tend to equate certain design elements and surfaces in packaging with quality product. Embossed foil stamping, gorgeous substrates, and high-end materials have proven appeal in crowded retail environments. Basically, packaging that seems expensive often equates to higher quality and price expectations from consumers.
Why do we get a little charge when we see light reflected on the surface of something? Maybe the attraction is purely physical. Babies love to see and touch shiny objects, perhaps due to the high contrast they provide for developing eyesight. Even many animals are mesmerized by shine—some actually collect and hoard shiny objects like pebbles and pieces of metal. Perhaps there is a survival instinct that equates shiny with unspoiled and fresh.
Then again, maybe it goes deeper. Surfaces that shine arouse a natural emotional response. Shiny stimuli trigger the limbic area of the brain, which controls our moods and motivation.
We seem to have instinctual programming to prefer shiny objects to more lackluster counterparts. In Shiny Objects Marketing, David A. LaBonte cites a study in which researchers showed volunteers an identical picture of water depicted on four different surface finishes: matte, glossy, sandy and sparkling. The water depicted on a sparkling finish was selected as the best in terms of quality, with the glossy coming in second.
On a more mystical level, perhaps it’s because shiny objects reflect light and can even appear to emanate light, like the sun. In some cultures, reflective objects have even been considered magical because they capture our likenesses.
It depends. Glitz alone won’t deliver without market strategy and brand objectives. To succeed, packaging should provide visual cues that associate it with its market category, provide clear communication, and reinforce brand impressions, but above all it must stand apart from the competition.
It is helpful to understand all the different foil paper materials and processes available in order to leverage the possibilities wisely. It makes sense to select decorative effects based on a product’s market category and the competition. For example, in the wine market, hot stamping foil accents alone may do the job nicely with an elegantly understated look, while in the technology and gaming markets, the flashier the better. Holographic paper boards, custom holograms, metallic labels and diffractions foils provide limitelss intriguing possibilities. With luxury consumer goods such as chocolates, spirits, or fragrances, intricate designs utilizing cold foil or on metallic laminates offer a sophisticated premium feel. When considering design choices, brand positioning should be central. Metallic effects can reinforce the brand personality and what it is about the brand that prompts the “buy” response in a target group.
That all said, if you understand the ground rules, don’t be afraid to break some. When it comes to brand differentiation, there is great value in the unexpected. Because consumers cannot process the huge number of messages they are bombarded with, choosing an uncharacteristic decorative effect to set your brand apart within its product category can be surprisingly effective. An unexpected metallic effect can make a bold statement.
For many designers, specifying and designing with metallic effects can be intimidating. This Guide to Designing With Metallic Effects provides information to help empower creatives with logistical considerations as well as inspiration while encouraging open collaboration with printers about all of the exciting possibilities.
If you are ready to make a truly provocative statement, ITW Foils custom holography team is here to assist you with the ability to rapidly produce custom holographic imagery that registers to your artwork—imbuing it with striking and impactful dimensionality. High quality proofs that simulate finished product with overlays on real holographic substrate take the guesswork out of the process and ensure brand consistency with predictably stunning results. With ITW Foils’ simple, quick and accurate proofing system, designers have greater creative latitude and brand-owners have tools for concept proof and focus group testing.
So go ahead and fearlessly use foils, films and foil paperboards for some natural advantage in that retail jungle.