Annual PACk event debuts in New York City

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

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Annual PACk event debuts in New York City
Last week in Manhattan, design and pre-press agency Diadeis hosted the first annual Packaging Artwork Conference, bringing together professionals in artwork, labeling, merchandising, and packaging concept development to learn and share insights on visual merchandizing for the digital age.

The day’s presentations, panel discussions, Q&A’s, and breakout sessions were all about producing and managing packaging, graphics, content, and labeling in the digital world. Speakers and attendees from food, beverage, and personal care were sharing ideas and best practices for achieving image and information consistency across retail channels.

While the beauty industry has been intently focused on developing products and tools to ensure consumers are selfie ready, many cosmetics and personal care companies have a lot of work to do to get their online image up to date. Cosmetics Design sat in on PACk 2017 to see where things stand.

Media management

Moving a brand that originated in a print world into the digital world can be a monumental task. In a PACk 2017 session entitled ‘Packaging to e-commerce: bridging the gap,’ Jami Gormley, senior design manager for Campbell Soup, acknowledges that at a long-standing consumer goods company like hers, “everything is based on brick-and-mortar.”

“Ecommerce,” ​says Gormley, “is coming at us like a freight train.” ​And she’s not alone, product information management, artwork creation and implementation, and the workflows that make it all possible need to be adapted to make sure legacy brands remain competitive on the digital shelf.

The panel agreed with Steve Kinsey, the manager of ecommerce strategy at GSK, when he suggested that in today’s ecommerce world, there needs to be “open-source standards for packaging images and related content.”

Tech tools may be the key to solving many of the media management challenges brands face. In a session called ‘Implementing Process Technology and Beyond,’ Aaron Mallory of Esko stepped conference attendees through the time and money saving advantages of automating media management with process software. “Omnichannel,” ​believes Mallory, “is simply multichannel done right.”

Visual merchandising

Ed Michlowitz, artwork production manager for North America foods and refreshment packaging at Unilever, talked about his company’s work to develop a style guide for visual assets that would deliver an online 3D shopping experience for consumers.

Just one of the advantages of such a cross-brand, cross-category guide, explains Michlowitz, is that “firm guidelines on how to represent conventional packaging give consumers clarity on what they’re looking at.”​ They can tell the difference between sizes and easily recognize what they are seeing on screen, he says.

Digital on print

PACk 2017 wasn’t all about ecommerce. Several speakers shared strategies for using digital tech to update and improve conventional packaging with invisible bar codes, track and trace technology, links to digital content, and more.

Laura Disciullo, senior vice president of marketing and product management at GS1 US, spoke on how the organization has been working with Digimarc for 2 years on “new and innovative ways” ​to use bar code standards.

And the Digimarc technology can be used not only to make necessary bar code data practically invisible on printed packages but also to make packaging more interactive. “Consumers want package engagement,” ​says Larry Logan, chief marketing officer for the Digimarc Corporation. Logan went on to note that “over 70% of consumers are willing to scan a package [with their smartphone for more information].”

Similar print-to-digital tech from Shazam is helping brands “activate all touch points,” ​explains Max Valiquette, creative lead for the Shazam discovery hub. His company has created engaging discovery campaigns for brands in many sectors, including one for CoverGirl's Katy Kat collection. 

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