Guests received a masterclass in emerging packaging print opportunities at the Print21 + PKN LIVE New Frontiers in Packaging Print forum, held yesterday in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
A packed theatre of some 200 printers, packagers, brand owners, designers, and industry movers and shakers turned out to hear some of the leading lights in the industry discuss the latest trends and innovations that are shaping packaging print.
“The message really is that packaging is not going anywhere,” said Lindy Hughson, publisher of Print21 and PKN Packaging News. “We will continue, as Print21 and PKN, to advance our education of our packaging print community with events like this.”
The day kicked off with a session on Design Directions for Brands and Printers. Mikey Hart, creative director at Hulsbosch, walked the audience through how brands are shaping a sustainable future, followed by a session from Steve Jackson of Schawk on the importance of colour.
“Colour is one of the most valuable and powerful assets a brand owns,” said Jackson.
After morning tea, guests enjoyed a trio of talks on driving consumer engagement through printed packaging. Jessica Simes of Labelmakers and Brewtopia explained the new integrated business model for personalised beverages from Labelmakers; Liza Vernalls, director of packaging at Campbell Arnott’s, shared some lessons learnt from successful and less successful Arnott’s packaging campaigns; and Bill Atta, chief product officer at Dreemar, showed off the company’s augmented reality technology in an engaging interactive session that featured a mobile game powered by Arnott’s Shapes packaging.
Atta told guests that AR is not just a gimmick. “We see a world where people using AR will be incentivised, engaged, and then rewarded for engagement, which will keep them coming back,” he said.
The third session, after a lunch sponsored by Blue Star Display, was on brand protection, data collection, and the digitisation of packaging. Richard Cuthbert, digital solutions manager at Tetra Pak, showed how packaging print could be connected to Industry 4.0; Daniel Blau, solutions architect at HP, held court on a number of ways brands could secure their packaging through print; Matthews CEO Mark Dingley took a look at 2D barcodes and other innovations in coding; and Paul Haggett, sales and marketing director at Kodak, detailed how brands could use digital print to connect with consumers.
According to Dingley, food fraud is less of a threat to companies with anti-counterfeiting technology. “Demonstrating that you have some form of technology wrapped around your products dramatically reduces your ability to be targeted,” he said.
Session four delved into how material matters, discussing how printers can adapt to the circular economy. Brooke Donnelly, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), updated guests on the packaging industry’s journey towards meeting the 2025 National Packaging Targets, as well as the use of printed messaging on the Australian Recycling Label. Following her presentation, she joined a panel moderated by Lindy Hughson with Aleks Lajovic, managing director of Impact International; David Martin, CEO Spicers; Fred Soar, managing director Soar Print; and Jack Malki, CEO Jet Technologies, to discuss the sustainability challenges faced by the packaging industry and the solutions that these companies have developed.
Donnelly stressed that, under the circular economy, we should think of creating resources instead of waste. “In a circular economy, we don’t have waste. It becomes something else – part of a reuse model, where it has a second life; or it’s recycled into something different; or it’s composted,” she said.
The day’s final session, hosted by Print21 editor Wayne Robinson, looked at two next-generation Australian print companies that have moved into packaging, with Matt Ellis, managing director of Luminar (formely Avonlea Labels), and Aaron Lusch, general manager of Platypus Print Packaging. Ellis and Lusch told guests about the opportunities they had found in packaging print and how they had taken advantage of these opportunities.
Ellis, who had taken the plunge into digital short-run flexible packaging, told the audience to welcome discomfort. “Don’t stay in your box, welcome new things,” he said.
Lusch, meanwhile, spoke about how Platypus had overcome tough times by focusing on the company motto: ‘there’s always a way’. “We’re actually a stronger and better business for having gone through the rough patch,” he said, referring to the time a decade ago when its major packaging client pulled out.
Networking drinks afterwards, sponsored by EFI, gave all the chance to meet and mingle with their fellow packaging print professionals.
For full details, look for the report in the next issue of Print21.