Packaging prototypes test new marketing ideas. The application serves as an affordable and timely way to experience proposed media and graphics. Both narrow and wide format devices are capable of creating package prototypes. White Graphics Printing Services began offering the service in 2005. The result, a strong clientele of consumer packaged good companies, agencies, start-up businesses, and food companies requesting the application.
White Graphics Printing Services
Established in 1988, White Graphics is a Downers Grove, IL-based print service provider (PSP) that operates out of a 10,000 square foot facility with a team of nine employees.
Originally, the firm created prototypes of point of purchase (POP) displays. Its short-run corrugated capabilities, as well as its full-service, in-house prepress department, attracted customers looking for one-off displays with full graphics. This led to offering packaging prototypes.
“Due to our success in display prototypes, it was a natural evolution to offer packaging prototypes. The ability to digitally produce packaging prototypes allowed us to expand our services while remaining true to our core capabilities,” says Andrew J. White, president, White Graphics.
The PSP services clients nationwide and provides a variety of packaging and prototype solutions including flexible packaging such as candy bags and pouches, prototype folding cartons, pressure-sensitive label prototypes, corrugated display prototypes, and POP items.
To create its many offerings the shop relies on print hardware such as a Canon U.S.A., Inc. imagePRESS C6010, Epson Stylus Pro 9900, a Mimaki USA, Inc. CJV30-60 and CJV30-160, and a Roland DGA Corporation VersaUV LEJ-640 and VersaUV LEC-330. For finishing, the PSP works with a Kongsberg digital finishing table from Esko, a POLAR-Mohr cutter, hot and cold laminators, and a shrink wrap device.
It was the addition of the Mimaki CJV30 Series printers that bolstered White Graphics’ packaging prototype output. “The printers allow us to offer metallic inks as well as shrink sleeve prototypes,” shares White.
Packaging Prototype Orders and Execution
A packaging prototype order is fulfilled swiftly and efficiently by the PSP.
After receipt of artwork, the company typically manipulates the files to ensure that the white inks and/or metallic inks—as well as the rest of the color—prints correctly. It also ensures the dies are correct. “If it is a shrink sleeve, we may need to warp the graphics so the images do not appear distorted on the final product. We then run a test print as an internal proof and make adjustments as needed. Once we are satisfied, we will then print the final prints, die cut, assemble, and ship the prototypes. Lead times are always very tight, it is not uncommon to turn prototypes around in 24 to 48 hours depending upon the scope of the project,” explains White.
Recently Sonoco, a regular customer, requested stand-up pouches (SUPs) in different finishes, like gloss and matte, on a variety of substrates including white, clear, and foil films.
For the SUPs, the PSP utilized JetComp films manufactured by Proofing Technologies, Inc. JetFilm two-mil clear polypropylene film, JetLabel two-mil white polypropylene label film, and JetFoil two-mil silver metalized polypropylene were printed on both Mimaki printers in four color plus white. After printing, each prototype was laminated in either gloss or matte to achieve the desired finish, protect the print, and add thickness to the pouches.
“The biggest challenge involved achieving consistent color across a variety of different substrates,” notes White.
Sonoco’s order was completed and shipped in 72 hours and the company was pleased with the results.
White sees positive growth for both his shop and the future of packaging prototypes. “As new technology emerges, the level of quality as well as speed of production will continue to increase, allowing us to provide even more sophisticated products with tighter lead times,” he says. With an array of high-quality machinery and variety of creative output options, White Graphics continues to find success and provides its customers with unique, well-crafted packaging prototypes.