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Adding character with coatings

A range of solutions exists to help brands achieve these tactile finishes on their packaging. By using the latest technologies, brands can ensure that their textured finishes are easy for printers and converters to apply, are effective on a broad variety of substrates, and can be used for a wide range of applications, including food packaging.

In particular, adding texture through the packaging’s coating in the form of an overprint varnish or top-coating – for any type of end-application – is increasingly popular. This application method offers easy handling and cost-efficiency – allowing retailers to easily personalize generic containers for high-production items. What’s more, by avoiding the need for extra material layers and additives, it enables monomaterial packaging that can be more easily recycled.

One solution that uses this technology is the series of haptic resins developed by materials manufacturer DSM Coating Resins. These resins – known as the Skins® – can deliver different textures to a wide range of packaging materials without compromising converters’ processing speeds. So far, four Skins® resins are available: a silky finish targeted at luxury cosmetics, a rubbery texture that adds grip and style to tech products, a velvet finish to add class to luxury products, and a sandy-feel resin that adds a memorable gritty texture.

The future is haptic

With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting our physical contact with others, hunger for touch will increase tremendously, as studies such as Harry Harlow’s monkey experiments have shown all too well. Combined with innovations like the Skins® already changing the face of packaging, it looks like haptic differentiation will remain a key packaging design feature. Indeed, a world of possibilities still lies ahead – eventually, each brand might even have its own recognizable texture that aligns with its target consumers, just as with brand colors and logos. Above all, ongoing development, such as the unification of packaging materials, is paving the way for these haptic coatings to be more sustainable and easier for formulators, printers, and converters to deliver – unlocking a world of opportunities for tomorrow’s brand owners.