All four project partners are pursuing the overarching objective of supporting brand owners in their search for creative packaging ideas with innovation, and the needs of every single customer is their focus. With the motto "Lookxury. Joined Forces Bring Packaging to Life!" the four companies are jointly exhibiting in Booth 19, Hall 1 at the PCD.
A closer look at RGB-driven 'Lookxury'
The CMYK ink build-up with the four process colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) – known from commercial printers – has been used for printing so far. If you print cyan, magenta and yellow together on a white or light background, a fully saturated black is the result. This is also known as a subtractive color mixing. The black color "K" is used in CMYK printing as a type of ultimate black that cannot be attained with the combination of the other three colors. The RGB ink build-up is known primarily from TV screens and computer monitors in which a deep black can become a diverse color spectrum with just a push of a button. For reproducing images, the colors red, green and blue are used on a black background. When combined, the result is white. This structure is also known as an additive color mixing.
The idea the partner companies had was to develop an RGB technique for printing. For this purpose, however, an entirely new type of reproduction technology is needed in the prepress phase. After carrying out multiple technical tests, the companies succeeded in refining the patent-pending process in gravure printing, which was developed by Merck in collaboration with Lorenz Bögli from the Siebdruck [Silkscreen] Studio in Switzerland. Siegwerk developed the highly-reflective pearlescent print colors with pigments from Merck, which are also suitable for sensitive packaging applications like hygiene and cosmetics packaging.
Until now, packaging printing was only done on a white or light background and black was created only as a combination of the CMYK colors. With the new RGB printing technology, it is now possible to print images directly on a black substrate. The full-tone color of red, green and blue complement to white, and – similar to the color "K" in the CMYK process – are enhanced with a silver white color that is used to create a more brilliant white that cannot be achieved by combining the RGB colors. In principle, the image reproduction can be applied by means of additive color mixing regardless of the printing process used. However, tests have demonstrated that gravure printing is the ideal process for transferring the pearlescent pigment. The volume of the cells can be precisely adjusted here to the ink used, which is the best prerequisite for a good printing quality as the effect pigments in RGB printing have a different volume than conventional inks.
"With RGB printing, you can create an enigmatic effect on substrates that can make the printed image shimmer or gleam. As a result, the process opens up entirely new opportunities for brand owners to differentiate their packaging from the masses," explains Oscar Bos, sales director at Vrijdag.
RGB printing offers packaging designers and printers a larger color space as well as a broader color range and higher color saturation. It also adds an unique surface gloss. The used pearlescent pigments give the print products interesting lighting and pearlescent effects that increase the visual value and create an unusual brightness. "RGB printing will not replace CMYK. Instead, it offers an additional option for creating unique and effective printed materials," adds Peter Clauter, marketing manager at Merck.
The packaging is a strategic instrument for brand management at the point of sale, as about 70% of the purchasing decisions are just made directly at the store shelf. Therefore, the first impression is crucial, especially in the area of premium packaging for luxury and high-quality products as consumers can be strongly guided by external appearances, studies show.
"Innovative packaging designs created with unique shapes, effective print images, or special haptical characteristics are the goal of every packaging designer. RGB represents an additional attractive option for targeted differentiation. We are proud to be part of this revolutionary development and look forward to working with our long-time partners in the future on other innovations for the packaging industry," comments Sarah Grafen, head of the Research and Development Business Unit Tobacco at Siegwerk.