Category Archives: Packaging Design

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Three Methods to Achieve the Metallic Finish

Three Methods to Add the Metallic Finish

The metallic gold/silver finish is a great way to add the impressive and luxury quality feel to the cosmetic packaging box. In practice, there are usually 3 methods to create the metallic look on the paper box. They are foil stamping, metallic ink printing and metalized paperboard printing.

Foil stamping

Foil stamping has 2 categories, hot foil stamping and cold foil.

Hot Foil Stamping

The application of the hot stamping foil has a very long history. It is among the oldest known methods of creating a metallic finish and among the most advanced in technical development. The metallic finish is created by transferring a very thin layer of aluminum coating on the foil paper to the intended paperboard by using heat and pressure. The heat activates separation coatings and adhesive coatings that affect the permanence of the resulting finish on the paper box. The process is typically performed after the sheet-fed offset printing, but can be done prior to the printing if the application equipment has great precision. Under proper conditions, this method can create a broad range of shiny areas, from large solids to very fine details.

gold foil stamping paper box

Cold Foil

Cold foil has been growing dramatically recently both in brand owner use and in technical development. The process is much the same to that of transfer metalizing described later, with the exception that the application of the metal effect is typically performed during the printing process when the paperboard is printed. A roll of vacuum metalized polyester film which has a separation coating and a surface protection coating is used to provide the metallic finish. This film is placed in contact with the sheet between printing stations following the application of an adhesive. The metallic coatings from the film will only transfer to the paper sheet where the adhesive has been applied. The adhesive is cured to set the metallic look with permanence to the sheet so that additional colors of ink can be applied directly to the metallic surface. With regard to the metallic effect, the cold foil can not rival the hot foil stamping at present.

Metallic Inks Printing

Two types of technology are widely used to produce metallic inks and coatings. Of the two, the oldest technology dates back several decades and has traditionally been referred to as metallic powder technology. The finished results of products using metallic powder suffered from a number of shortcomings. Reflectivity and brilliance was dull at best and resistance levels to in-use exposures were often a risk. The latest technology for metallic inks and coatings is referred to as metal platelet technology. Metal platelet technology has significantly overcome the shortcomings of the metal powder technology. Metallic PMS Printing uses the metallic inks to print a unique shiny appearance. Unlike the common PMS inks, the metallic inks are mixed with the metallic particles, which is usually made of the copper, aluminum, bronze or zinc. When the metallic ink is printed and left to dry, the metallic particles rise to the surface and create a metallic sheen.

metallic gold inks printing and metallic silver inks printing

Metalized Paperboard Printing

The metallic effect of this method is realized by the natural metallic color of the metalized paperboard. When the designer creates the layout, the area which are intended to have the metallic finish are left transparent. During the printing process, the CMYK inks are only printed on the text area and the colored area. While the transparent area on the artwork has no inks applied on the metalized paperboard. Generally, there are 4 kinds of metalized paperboard used. The metalized paperboard can be glossy or matte.

metalized paper box

Aluminum Foil Board Laminates

Foil board laminates were among the first type of processes for creating a metallic look on paperboard. This product is produced by physically laminating with an adhesive – a sheet of aluminum to a sheet of paper. The manufacturing process is very efficient, however there are relatively few companies involved in the production of aluminum foil board globally. The finished product usually has the higher grammage value than other metallic decorating alternatives.

PET/BOPP-Metalized Paperboard

The product is produced by metalizing the PET or BOPP film of choice and laminating the metalized film to the paperboard with an adhesive.

Transfer Metalized Paperboard

Transfer metalized film is produced to create a metalized surface on thinner caliper papers and when weight reduction in an application is desired. The manufacturing process is similar to cold foil transfer processes, but on a larger high-volume scale. A film is coated and metalized to allow the layer of aluminum metalizing to be released away. This metalized film is placed in contact with a paper or paperboard that has an adhesive applied to it. The adhesive can be applied in a flood manner, covering all of the sheet, or a discrete manner, allowing selective elements to transfer. The paper and the film is then stripped away releasing the metallic aluminum, which remains on the sheet only where the adhesive has been applied. The finished product is among the lightest weight options for metallic finishes.

Direct Metalized Paperboard

Direct metalized boards and papers are typically produced using vacuum metallization which deposits a very thin vapor of aluminum directly onto the coated paperboard. The resulting aluminum layer will take on the attributes of the paper fibers or surface profile. Very smooth papers will provide higher reflectivity than less smooth papers. Direct metalized papers and boards are most commonly coated with a clear coating. The coating will provide attributes for printing, exposure resistance features and final finish to the paper. The coatings can be cellulose-based or acrylic-based. Application methods will cure using oxidation, ultraviolet light or electron beam. It is one of the lightest weight options.

Difference between the Foil Stamping and the Metallic Inks Printing

The debate over foil stamping versus Metallic PMS printing has been lasting for a long time. It comes down to what elements you want to give the metallic finish to and the effect you’d like to achieve. Both techniques have their downsides, but both methods also have aspects in which they excel over the other.

Shiniest Finish – Foil Stamping

Foil stamping provides a more realistic metallic finish over PMS spot printing because it is the last thing to be applied to your packaging box. Due to the runny nature of metallic inks, they have to be put down first during the printing process. Each time you add new ink to the material (on top of the metallic ink), the effect may become muddled.

Best Subtle Metallic Effect – Metallic PMS Ink

If you need a more subtle metallic effect, then metallic ink is a much better choice over foil stamping. You could make a metallic ink the most prominent color in a presentation folder for a very effective design; however, you couldn’t foil stamp the majority of a folder without it looking gaudy and overdone.

Best Choice for Embossing – Foil Stamping

If you want to add a metallic shine to embossed elements, then your only choice is foil stamping. This is due to the nature of metallic PMS ink, which has real flecks of metal inside the mixture. If metallic ink were to become embossed, the ink would crack and the effect would be ruined. Metallic foil sticks perfectly to embossed elements, drawing attention to them.

Biggest Color Variety – Metallic PMS Ink

Both foil stamping and metallic PMS inks offer a wide range of colors that resemble real metals, such as gold, silver and bronze. They both also have a number of tinted metal colors in reds, blues and greens. However, since metallic PMS ink is a mixture, it can be altered to many different degrees, allowing for a wider range of colors to select from.

Since metallic ink is applied during the printing process, it is a more cost effective way to add a metallic effect to your marketing materials.

Most Durable – Foil Stamping

The metal particles in metallic PMS ink can cause it to become brittle over time. This has the potential to leave your marketing materials with a cracked ink effect when they start to get old. Metallic ink requires a coating on top to make it last longer. Foil has a much longer lifespan which is actually lengthened if the foil elements are debossed, because it creates a better seal onto the stock.

Least Expensive Option – Metallic PMS Ink

Metallic PMS ink is generally the most cost effective way to add metallic elements to your printed materials. On average, an area that is spot printed using ink will be less expensive than foil stamping an area of the same size.

Most Stock Options – Draw

The battle of metallic foil vs. metallic ink is basically a stalemate when it comes to the ability to choose a variety of stocks. Both techniques are particular and they won’t necessarily get along with every stock option. Foil stamping works on most paper options, but it doesn’t stick well to textured stocks like linens. Metallic PMS ink looks its best on glossy paper; however, it can also look subtly stunning on matte as well. It can also look too bright on white colored stock and like foil stamping, it doesn’t print well on textured stocks either.

Foil stamping provides a textural relief that can be felt with your fingertips.

Best for Fine Detail – Metallic PMS Ink

Since metallic PMS ink is printed like any other ink, it can retain a greater level of detail over foil stamping. Anything you have foil stamped must be cut out from a foil stock, which means that small details can be hard to reproduce without compromising the integrity of the foil.

Best Textural Effect – Foil Stamping

Since metallic foil is a separate element that is applied last, it has a textural quality that can be felt by the hand. Foil is smooth to the touch, like actual metal and is noticeably different from the stock used in your marketing products. This effect is heightened even greater when foil designs are also embossed.

The Conclusion

There isn’t an easy winner in the debate between foil stamping versus metallic PMS ink because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Foil stamping is the best choice for drawing attention to your smaller elements like embossed logos and text, but metallic ink is best when you want to incorporate a metallic sheen into your large scale design elements. Both offer a different quality, and both can be just as effective at making your marketing materials appear strong and authoritative.

Shanghai DE Printed Box is a China medium-sized custom paper box manufacturer and packaging solution provider with facilities around 100,000 square meters in total. The company exclusively specializes in the supply and export of the custom paper boxes, including the paper printed boxcorrugated printed boxcosmetic paper boxrigid paper box, cardboard gift box and custom paper bag. If you have any questions about the custom paper box, or would like us to give you a price quote, please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us an email.

Green Printing and Sustainable Paper Package

Green Paper Package Printing In DE Printed Box

It is Shanghai DE Printed Box’s mission to develop the sustainable package (paper printed boxes, bags, and corrugated printed boxes) with green printing. DE is dedicated to use the latest printing technology in its various flexo and litho offset printing processes to protect the enviroment.

Reduce the Emission of Volatile Oganic Compounds

Volatile Oganic Compounds are usually abbreviated as VOCs. They are widely used as solvents in nearly all package printing processes, e.g., printing inks, press and blanket cleaning, fountain solutions, ink drying. However, the evaporation of the VOCs solvents leads to the fire accident (low flashing point), air pollution and workers health problems.

In order to reduce the VOCs emission in the paper box printing processes, DE Printed Box carries out a series of measures, for instance, using the vegetable-based soy inks to substitue the petroleum-based inks, switching to the waterless offset printing.

Alternatives to Solvent-based Inks

The convential solvent-based inks contains significant VOCs content that are derived from the petroleum distillation process. In order to reduce the solvent emissions of the petroleum-based inks, a number of alternatives are used, e.g., soy- and vegetable-based inks, water-based inks and UV/EV curable inks.

Vegetable-based Printing Inks and Soy Inks

Among the vegetable inks, the soy inks is the most popular, because the soybean oil is more stale. It is the most promising to reduce the VOCs emissions. The soybean oil acts as the vehicles of the ink pigments.

DE Printed Box uses soy inks for its litho offset printed paper boxes, bags, corrugated boxes and litho-laminated cartons. There are a number of specific advantages to use the soy inks for the litho printed paper package. For example,

  • Soybean oil is safe, sustainable, renewable, recyclable and bio-degradable. And the soy inks on the paper box and litho laminated box are easier to be removed during the recycling process than the petroleum-based oil.
  • Soy-based inks is more cost-effective compared with other vegetable-based inks and conventional inks, because much less soy inks are used for the same print job thanks to their more intense color.
  • The soy oil has the excellent stability throughout the entire print job. They are less likely to build up on the printing plate and to skin over. Much fewer adjustments are required by the offset press operator due to the variation.
  • Higher printing quality. Soy oils tend to be clearer than petroleum oils, so the colors can be brighter, richer and more vivid.


Printing Inks

Benefits of soy-based inks

Reducing VOC solvent use in the Printing Industry


Shanghai DE Printed Box is a China medium-sized custom paper box manufacturer and packaging solution provider with facilities around 100,000 square meters in total. The company exclusively specializes in the supply and export of the custom paper boxes, including the paper printed boxcorrugated printed boxcosmetic paper boxrigid paper box, cardboard gift box and custom paper bag. If you have any questions about the custom paper box, or would like us to give you a price quote, please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us an email.













free packaging design resouces and websites

Top 10 Free Inspirational Packaging Design Websites

Get your inspiration from these top 10 excellent packaging design website in the world and create your unique and one of kind packaging work

Tens of hundreds of websites talk about the packaging design and contribute to the industry. However, there are so many options that we are so confused about which one to go to. Therefore, our design team used around a week to review the sites and picked out the top 10 packaging design websites in the world today. You will get tons of inspiration and advice on these great sites. In the mean time, we display the Google Page Rank value of each site for your referrence.

01. The Dieline

Google Page Rank: 5

free packaging design resouces and websites

The most innovative packaging design website in the world.

The Dielien is the most visited website in the world on the subject of package design, with readership spans millions across over 200 countries. Founded in 2007 by the packaging designer, Andrew Gibbs, now it has become a dedicated platform for the package design industry. The site covers package design inspiration, news, conferrence, events and awards. It is a place where designers, printers, manufacturers can review, critique and stay informated of the lastest treands in the industry.

02. Packaging of the World

Google Page Rank: 4

free packaging design resouces and websites

This is my favorite site to seek packaging design inspirations. Packaging of the World aspires to inspire designers from all over the globe by posting some of the most engaging and creative projects. For over 6 years, it aims to build a packaging blog as simple and digestible as possible. Today, with thousands of projects in its archive, The regular readers include packaging designers, graphic designers, advertising agencies, students, manufacturers and suppliers, winning over a million impressions each month.

03. Lovely Package

Google Page Rank: 5

free packaging design resouces and websites

Lovely Package curates the very best in packaging design from around the globe

The Lovely Package websitesis a very cool blog about packaging design, which has around 15,000 visitors each day from all over the world. The audience includes the print designers, package engineers, packaging manufacturers and packaged products companies, who visit the site as a source of inspiration. The categories of the packaging design includes Alcohol, Athletics, Automotive, Beverage, Books, Confectionery, Electronics, Entertainment, Fashion, Food, Health & Beauty, Home, Industrial, Miscellaneous, Office, Recreation, Sports, Student Work, Tobacco, Toys and Vintage.

04. Package Design

Google Page Rank: 4

free packaging design resouces and websites

Package Design uplifts the value of design as a strategic business competence in the brand marketing mix from concept to realization to shelf. Without a doubt, this is definitely the most professional website about packaging design, which is sponsored by the celebrated St Medua Group International. It covers from the packaging design to the packaging material and print. The sites also features a multi-media thought leadership series called Package Design Matters.

05. Pinterest

Google Page Rank: 9

free packaging design resouces and websites

Pinterest is an acclaimed image gallery to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you. It doesn’t focus on the packaging design exclusively. However, with tens of thousands of pretty pictures to explore on the site, you’ll definitely get one that suits your need.  The site has a very easy-to-use search box on the top. Simply enter the ‘packaging design’ in the top search box and let the magic happen.

06. Packaging design archive

Google Page Rank: 4

free packaging design resouces and websites

This is a completely free resource for packaging design study, teaching and project development. The packaging projects are catalogued and organized according to the criteria at the base of communication design. You can explore the archive through the convenient navigation tool to discover the most interesting cases.

07. Packaging Design Served

Google Page Rank: 5

free packaging design resouces and websites

This is a Behance served site exclusively specialized in the packaging design. Here you can discover the most beautiful and breathtaking packaging design work around the globe. As a unique business unit within Adobe, it also distributes work to other online galleries, maximizing exposure for top packaging design work. You definitely can not miss this great site.

08. Ambalaj

Google Page Rank: 4
free packaging design resouces and websites

Ambalaj is a blog posting world-wide food packaging stories, which was founded in 2008 and has grown into a solid packaging database and rich source of inspiration. Here you can get access to the  latest  packaging innovations, appealing brand stories and thoughtful designs and catch on to the dynamics of the global packaging design industry.

09. Behance

Google Page Rank: 7

free packaging design resouces and websites

Update your work in one place to broadcast it widely and efficiently. Explore the work and access talent on a global scale.

Behance is the member of the renowned Adobe family, which aims to empower the creative world to make ideas happen. It is a leading online platform for designers to showcase and find creative work, dedicated to clear away the barriers between talent and opportunity. It attracts around 5 million visitors each month to discover top talent. Packaging design is one of its main subject. You can get tons of advice and inspiration on the site.

10. The Packaging Design Blog 

Google Page Rank: 1
free packaging design resouces and websites

The Packaging Design Blog isn’t just another blog that intends to post gorgeous pictures of award winning work. It brings you more than that. The blog covers posts from industry professionals,  designers, design companies to printers and packaging manufacturers. It aspires to be the top one free source for all things packaging design related.

Shanghai DE Printed Box is a China medium-sized custom paper box manufacturer and packaging solution provider with facilities around 100,000 square meters in total. The company exclusively specializes in the supply and export of the custom paper boxes, including the paper printed boxcorrugated printed boxcosmetic paper boxrigid paper box, cardboard gift box and custom paper bag. If you have any questions about the custom paper box, or would like us to give you a price quote, please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us an email.