Packaging art – why cans are the new canvas

Apr 27, 2022 Packaging

From holograms to temperature indicators, the future of packaging could be more eye-catching than ever.

Take a stroll down the beer aisle of your local bottle shop and you will be treated to an array of colours, designs and artistic flair from the massive variety of craft beers on offer. Australia has over 700 boutique breweries, and they’re all engaged in a pitched battle to stand out.

Long gone are the days of plain logo imprinted cans. Australia’s craft brewers are changing the game and opening a world of possibility as they engage artists to lure customers in through eye-catching labels.

It’s no secret many people choose their tipple based on the label – we’ve all done it, and in an ever-growing market, an ordinary label is not going to find you any new customers.

Art may have elevated the humble can to new heights, but the stakes are about to get even higher as technology continues to rapidly develop – holograms, temperature indicators and app-based product information channels are all in development and heading for the Australian market.

Digital is the future

Digital printing is paving the way for new developments, says Kyle Brereton, Managing Director at Melbourne-based Pro Canning.

‘The technology is just starting to come along and companies are investing in digital printing because of the opportunities it brings,” says Brereton. “For example, we’ve been playing around with holograms – and given the impact of label design on craft beer retail sales, it could be the next big trend in packaging.”

Other exciting new packaging techniques on the horizon are temperature related.

Adds Brereton: “I know heated cans are big in Japan – having something on the can that you can turn on that will warm it up for a coffee – and we’re just starting to get a lot of inquiries in Australia for that type of stuff. I’ve also seen temperature-sensitive art indicating when a beverage is cold enough – digital printing opens up that window to infinite possibilities.”

Now you see it

Dave Chaffey, from Geelong-based augmented-reality packaging company Immertia, says the revolution taking place in the canning world is exciting and offers so many opportunities for brands to engage with and win over new customers.

The team at Immertia are the brains behind Swigr, which connects customers with information about the product through a phone app. Chaffey says it is like a curated social media platform without any other followers or distractions.

“They’re engaging with their customers who are trying to find out more about the brand,” he explains. “They are fascinated with it and the brand has the chance to have a one-on-one moment to talk to them, which you just don’t get anywhere else – you’re not fighting against other social media platforms because they are focused on the app and it is fun and engaging.”

Adds Chaffey: “It’s also affordable. Rather than having to engage a developer and spend $50,000, brands can sign up and add their product very simply by just uploading a label through a web platform. We’ve already got about 50 American brands using it and Budweiser just signed on, so it’s gaining momentum in just three months since it was released.”

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