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The colour of the year for 2013 is….Emerald!


Emerald is a "lively, radiant, lush green", Pantone said, emerald will be seen during the next 12 months across the fashion industry, beauty, interiors, print, graphic design, plastics and packaging.

Emerald is a "vivid, verdant green" which "enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight, as well as promoting balance and harmony", Pantone said in a statement.

Is your brand lively and radiant? If so, consider using emerald as the base colour for you mailing bag packaging range in 2013. Emerald is a great colour for packaging, it is opaque and serves as a fantastic base material for designs featuring metallic silver and gold, white, blue and black. Introducing a touch of emerald ink to your packaging design looks striking and bold when printed onto a silver of light base substrate and is cost-effective option to revitalise your packaging design.

Did you know that almost three quarters of consumers now view the packaging that their goods arrive in as an integral part of the customer experience? Revitalising your packaging to introduce a new vivid base colour such as emerald green could improve the aesthetics of your packaging and improve the overall perception of the goods purchased reducing the returns rate.

For more information on the benefits of branded packaging visit: Bespoke Packaging.

ATTRACTive Packaging: how to create compelling packaging driven by customer insights

Well designed packaging can enhance desirability of a product and establish brand identity. Using techniques that engage consumers senses creates a memorable experience. Combine this with consumer insights to create a design that appeal specifically to the desired target audience = recipe for packaging success.

Knowing customer preferences and designing with this in mind enables a brand to create distinctiveness through a product's packaging. This means businesses have to be forward thinking, utilize their consumers' insights creatively and know their target market.

Appealing to Gen I


Generation I refers to the children of the youngest baby boomers. These individuals were born in the age of the internet. Although research on this demographic is still ongoing, many companies are finding that combining a clear and strong marketing message with new technological features, such as QR codes stimulates their interest.

Targeting Gen Y


Also known as millennials, Generation Yers have birthdays ranging from around 1985 to 2003. This generation grew up with computers most of their life and are therefore especially responsive to internet campaigns and social media. They process information quickly, are brand loyal and respond to outside-the-box humor packaging and advertising efforts.

The Baby Boomers


Born during the demographic post World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964. This group are big spenders and many packaging designs are created to appeal to this mass market. This group do not want to be referred to as old, they are drawn to packaging that appeal to their youthful side, while offering real benefits from a product.

Source: Packaging Digest and Lightening Labels 

Featured Article: The Key to a Sustainable Future is Polythene

As featured in the Environment Industry Magazine Issue 21

Poly Scrap

Despite being the most reused material in the world, polythene gets bad press from  environmentalists.  Whether it is shops charging for polythene bags, Governments introducing bag taxes or seeking to ban them completely - polythene packaging  gets a raw deal when it comes to public opinion.

David Brimelow, managing director of Duo UK, puts the case for polythene and argues that it is time to take a more enlightened view.

The sustainable and future-proof plan to reduce polythene in landfill is available now.  The answer is to re-use it, recycle it, and produce something new, which is also capable of being recycled.   Dumping it in landfill is not environmentally friendly, nor is it cost effective and it is definitely not sustainable.

The UK uses over five million tonnes of plastics each year, of which an estimated 24 percent is recycled.  From bottles, to mailing bags - plastic is a valuable and finite resource.  It's a recyclable material and, after first use, it should be recycled - preferably into a product that can then be recycled again and again.  Given the current high price for oil, the economic value of used polythene is increasing, and this is a strong driver for increased recycling.

Not only are polythene bags lighter than their cardboard or paper packaging alternatives- they're also more durable, they have a longer life, and they take up less space in transit.  Furthermore, the cardboard and paper alternatives are themselves organic products whose recent high prices reflect the supply constraints and increasing sustainability costs.  These important, but often ignored, external factors unfairly influence the perception of polythene compared to other packaging materials.

Bio-degradable or compostable polythene has received a lot of media attention but the bottom line is that it still involves burying a valuable re-usable resource in the ground.  The reality is that the supposed "eco-friendly" option isn't actually that green a solution, given the need to continue extracting oil from the ground to make the compostable polythene. Furthermore, the Bio-degradable bags currently on the market will only degrade when exposed to specific environmental conditions, such as exposure to UV, or pressure or dampness.  They do not just disintegrate automatically in landfill.  That said, there is a place in the market for biodegradable additives, but the addition of the additives that provide the compostability actually contaminates the product and prevents the polythene being able to be recycled.

This is already having a negative effect on the volume of recyclable polythene available in the marketplace and increases the cost and availability of recycled pellet to meet the ever increasing demand for recycled content products.

Some packaging buyers are leading the way in the drive for more recycling and, as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives, they are making a conscious effort to save their packaging waste from a destiny in landfill and at the same time reduce their carbon footprint.

E-tailers such as JD Williams' run in-house schemes to segregate packaging waste (polythene, paper, and card) in their fulfillment sites.  Duo, which manufactures polythene packaging for the firm, then collects the polythene waste when they deliver new products, and recycle it in their own reprocessing plant.  This is known as a closed loop recycling process.  This is mixed with scrap material produced during the manufacturing process, which is set aside to be used in the production of new JD Williams' mailing bags, via the closed loop recycling process.

Therefore, all JD Williams' mailing bags each include a percentage of recycled content that would have previously been destined for landfill.  This complies with their desire to achieve their CSR targets and reduces the company's carbon footprint.

From a supply chain perspective, recycling plastics, as part of a closed loop recycling programme, wins hands down over producing virgin product.  From public image preservation, to ensuring consumer and government demands are met, manufacturers need to be savvy about plastics and embrace the benefits of re-using it, rather than swapping to an alternative material which is perhaps mistakenly perceived to be more 'eco-friendly', such as paper or bio-degradable material.

The European Union Packaging Waste Directive recently called for the recovery of 50-65 percent of total packaging waste from any source.  The simplest way to reduce the amount of plastic used is to educate businesses and householders on more sustainable methods, such as the closed loop recycling, to reduce the amount of waste created by different materials.

Consumers using jute bags are not necessarily being as eco-friendly as they may think. An important fact quoted by a scientist on a recent BBC programme highlighted that a natural fibre shopping bag needs to be used 130 times to compensate for the extra energy required to manufacture it compared to a single use carrier bag. If you reuse your plastic carrier 10 times you would have to use an equivalent jute bag 1,300 times.

For a business it is just as simple; segregate waste to achieve optimum value for your scrap, which enables the waste to be easily recycled in closed loop recycling. Then promote your active green approach to waste management to your customers.

Bio-degradable packaging products are required to go to landfill and exposed to specific environments to start the decomposition process.  With landfill at a premium in the UK, many tonnes of polythene and other plastic materials are shipped abroad.  It has got to make sense to move away from the compostable option and move towards recycling more UK waste in the UK.  If polythene bags are recycled after use back to pellet form this material can be used to manufacture new packaging products and reduce greatly the volume of waste going to landfill in the first place.

The versatility and value of scrap polythene offers manufacturers the opportunity to implement "buy back" schemes, which allow business to dispose of their waste responsibly and recoup costs.  The manufacturer will then produce products with the inclusion of recycled material, which can also be recycled after use too.

In summary, polythene does not deserve the negative publicity it unjustly receives; what is needed is simply education about this lightweight and highly versatile material. Managed correctly, Polythene can work in harmony with the environment, easily becoming sustainable and future-proof, reducing the demand on landfill, finite oil resources and also heavy investment in 'so called' environmentally friendly alternatives. The answer to a more sustainable future is simple, closed loop recycling - with the plastic we have already manufactured, re-use it, recycle and produce something new which can itself be recycled.   It is a process readily available which is both socially responsible and cost effective.

David Brimelow is managing director of Duo Plastics UK

Buying British Is Popular Worldwide

It appears that the summer celebrations have created a worldwide demand for all things British. According to Alibaba.com, the online sourcing marketplace, worldwide consumers are demanding British Fashion, Football Shirts and even biscuits.

As British manufacturers with two UK polythene packaging factory's we are proud to see British products are back on the map.


Gold medal worthy limited edition Olympic packaging

The excitement of the London 2012 Olympic Games truly united people and brands with the spirit of the games. Let's take a look at which brands truly captured the spirit of the games, stood out and recognised the importance of capturing the attention of consumers and thrived during this celebration.


MWM Graphics and brand agency Attik partnered to create packaging for The Coca-Cola products in the U.K. The team created whimsical, abstract graphic renditions mirroring the colors of the famed Olympic rings, and Coke's signature red color. Coke's partnering agencies around the world have drawn inspiration on the graphics to use in regional packaging.


French macaron maker Fauchon put its tasty cookies in Olympics-themed limited-edition packaging and created a new flavor just for the games. The cassis-flavored cookies, each topped off with a white-chocolate Union Jack flag by pastry chef Fabien Rouillard, sold in special London 2012 boxes at the confectioner's stores until the Olympic flame is extinguished.


Procter & Gamble, an official sponsor of the Games, emblazoned products across all of its brand offerings with Olympic graphics. Among the most notable Olympics packaging that P&G is offering: limited-edition tubes and packaging for its Cover Girl  LashBlast Volume mascara-normally orange, the tubes have been turned white and embossed with the rings; the multimedia ad campaign features female athletes.



Bibendum, the official wine partner for the games, appointed FutureBrand to create a series of wines celebrating the Olympic and Paralympic games. The rose, chenin blanc and shiraz tempranillo are the only wines sold in the Olympic venues during the games; they also are being sold at selected retail outlets.

This article was first published on Packaging Digest

Featured article: Making the most of limited-edition packaging

As featured in Direct Commerce

With a summer of celebrations, limited-edition packaging has been filling the high street with brands such as Harvey Nichols, Sainsbury's and Kellogg's all embracing the trend. However, bespoke seasonal packaging isn't just for multinationals and luxury brands. With cataloguers and online retailers turning their attention to Christmas, this could be the perfect time to see what bespoke seasonal packaging could do for your brand. 

For marketing managers, the advantages of limited-edition packaging may be fairly obvious: it's a fantastic way of capitalising on the all-important "feel good factor", making your brand more memorable and ensuring customers associate their purchases with this special time of year. 

A missed opportunity?

However, smart packaging can go much further; high quality packaging increases the perceived value of the content and reassures consumers that they have made the right choice--vital for the Christmas gift market. 

In addition, mailing packaging is the perfect space to promote brand messages or social-media activity, although sadly it is often overlooked by marketers. A particular benefit of limited-edition packaging is its potential to promote time-sensitive messages to already receptive customers. For example, Christmas packaging can advertise forthcoming sales, while the addition of a QR code is an effective way of driving direct online interaction.

Managing the logistics

While the advantages may be clear for marketers, there are also logistical considerations that should be taken into account. After all, who wants to contend with a stockroom full of Christmas packaging on 1st January? To avoid this scenario, it is advisable to work closely with the forecasting team so Christmas packaging is available for the full six-week Christmas shopping period, which runs from the start of November until Christmas Eve. 

In addition, good manufacturers should have a mechanism in place to help their clients actively manage stock levels. To ensure retailers don't run out of packaging or have cash tied up in excess stock, they need to work with suppliers that are able to keep up and adjust for peaks and troughs in demand.

One concern occasionally brought up by retailers is the notion that limited-edition packaging may attract the attention of thieves, however the reality is that postal thefts, although relatively rare, are usually the product of opportunism rather than a targeted campaign. Courier companies have also increased the security of their services in recent years, with timed delivery slots chosen at the customer's convenience, text message alerts and signed-for services now commonplace. In other words, the days of simply leaving a parcel on the doorstep  or in a "safe place" where it may be vulnerable to theft are long gone.

While the factors mention above highlight that limited edition packaging may bring certain logistical challenges, it should be remembered that it can bring real advantages. Returns and inclement weather are both big issues for e-retailers at Christmas and both can be at least partially addressed by well-designed packaging: consumers associate high-quality packaging with high-quality product, while damaged packaging leads to an assumption of low quality.

Christmas packaging can be designed to be robust enough to withstand rain and snow and more return friendly-factors that improve the overall customer experience. Polythene packaging is ideally suited to withstand bad weather, ensuring the package arrives at the customer's home in perfect condition therefore lessening the chance of returns. Although some returns are inevitable, the addition of a second glue strip on the mailing bag's flap is great way of enabling customers to use the same bag to return goods. As well as improving the customer experience, this also boosts the reuse of packaging thereby reducing the amount of landfill. Most importantly, it also produces a standard returns format, simplifying processing and making it easier to remerchandise goods.

The practicalities

So, with the marketing and logistical advantages established, what are the practical considerations? The simplest way to create Christmas packaging is simply to change the colour of the current packaging design, for example, by changing the print to a metallic red or green. No additional plates are required, making this a very affordable option while still demonstrating to customers that the brand has created something special for the holiday period. 

Of course, for brands with slightly more budget, the design possibilities are endless. To keep within budget and to ensure the end design is achievable on the packaging material, we recommend companies work closely with their manufacturer from the initial briefing process.

As a rough guide, brands should expect to pay around £100 for new printing plates for a one-colour design. Approximate lead times are three weeks from artwork sign off, making the next six weeks the prime time to place orders to ensure all sizes of mailing bags are in stock ready for the start of the Christmas shopping season. It may also be advisable to order generic packaging range at the same time to ensure packaging is in place for post-Christmas sales.

With the practicalities taken care of, it's clear that bespoke seasonal packaging, and all the advantages it can bring are no longer the preserve of those with large marketing budgets. With a little planning it can offer brands of all shapes and sizes a real competitive advantage in the crucial Christmas trading period, and in the current economic climate, few brands can afford to ignore this.

David Brimelow, Managing Director, Duo

Increase Brand Awareness Through Branded Packaging

In a nutshell branding can be thought of as providing your businesses products or services with a unique name and identity that your customers will recognise and recall favourably when making a choice between you and your competitors. Corporate identity and branding are closely linked as the former concept reflects and encompasses the other. The identity is linked to the company philosophy and the branding can make the philosophy tangible as well as visible as a legal entity through a trademark.

Given the overwhelming number of brands in existence giving your product a unique name and identity is not a simple process and Seth Godin gave some useful advice when he said "Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable." In a competitive arena he suggests that making remarkable products is what will set a business apart from all other similar competitive products. Remarkable products therefore will also require remarkable branding and consequently also remarkable branded packaging. The packaging cannot have an incongruous fit with the brand name. If you are selling goat's milk your branded packaging should reflect this and what goat's milk buyers would like to see.

This brings us to the point of market and consumer analysis to get an idea of precisely what appeals to your specific target market so that you can match it to the branded packaging accordingly. The ultimate aim of your business is to make money and therefore to generate sales. When customers value your product, brand awareness increases and repeat sales are generated which then adds to your bottom line. Conducting surveys with consumers can be a useful tool in determining whether your branded packaging is doing its job and is also an avenue to uncover trends that could lead to strengthening your brand. The pinnacle of branded glory is when a product brand name becomes synonymous with the product and enters the psyche of a population. One of my favourites is the term 'hoovering' rather than 'vacuuming'.

Branded packaging need not incorporate complex designs and colours to be effective.  Take for example the Nike 'swoosh' - it is simple, easily recognisable, and easily reproducible with enormous brand equity. Caroline Davidson created the logo in 1971 to depict the wing of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory and forty years later it still has an enviable position in branding. The process of producing remarkable branded packaging therefore begins with knowing your product and your consumers to maximise brand awareness and build brand equity.

Duo's customers who have branded their online packaging have reported an increase in brand awareness and repeat purchases and a reduction in returned items. Is your brand reflected through your packaging? Branding your packaging is straightforward, quick to implement and cost effective, to discuss your ideas call Duo today on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

Discover the DUO difference for yourself,
call us on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

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