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How to control shrink distortion

Unilever’s Comfort Intense brand of laundry freshener has a new look thanks in part to the package designer’s use of Shrink and Shrink Correction technology.

Control of shrink distortion was the key.
Control of shrink distortion was the key.

This iC3D packaging design software is from Creative Edge Software. It was applied in this case by Sun Branding Solutions, the design firm that created the new look for Unilever, which is on display now in the drupa Touchpoint Packaging Zone.

The high speed and ease-of-use of iC3D’s Shrink and Shrink Correction features were game-changers, according to Sun Branding, ensuring that development of innovative ideas was viable.

“The crucial difference with iC3D is its astonishing speed,” explains Martin Hawkins, Group Operations Director at Sun Branding. “We trialed other plug-ins and standalone products for this kind of work but the quickest turnaround we achieved was little under eight hours. iC3D rendered the same job in a matter of seconds, literally.”

iC3D is an all-in-one packaging application that allows designers to generate 3D digital prototypes in real-time for all types of packaging, including cartons, labels, flexibles, bottles, POS/POP, and shrink wraps. It was the specialized Shrink and Shrink Correction features of iC3D that made the difference for Sun Branding when embarking on the project to improve the Comfort Intense packaging.

Tackling a notoriously challenging procedure, iC3D SmartShrink™ was developed to quickly and accurately visualize how shrink film artwork will distort when applied to 3D models. The technique requires no specialist structural design skills from the packaging professional and no technical production knowledge of how the shrink will ultimately be applied. Working with flat Illustrator or PDF artwork, it allows the operator to predict where distortions will occur, automatically eliminating warp or deformation.

“We wanted to use bright color in a big way, as well as other finishing effects, while leaving our options open for development on new-generation product variants further down the line. But consistency across the range had to be guaranteed,” comments Hawkins. “The fact that iC3D is an affordable all-in-one solution meant that we could deliver packaging that is innovative, efficient, cost-effective, and above all stands out from the competition.”

The designs for the Comfort Intense range have now been rolled out successfully in Europe. The range includes Fresh Sky, Fuchsia Passion, Ocean Pearl and Sunburst in the UK, Passion Gourmande, Coup de Soleil, and Tourbillon de Fraîcheur in France and Fresh Sky, Fuchsia Passion, Ocean Pearl, and Sunburst in The Netherlands.

According to Nick Gilmore, CEO of Creative Edge Software, Sun Branding’s approach to design innovation perfectly highlights the strength of the all-in-one package offered by iC3D. “For most creative agencies and brand managers, one of the main pitfalls of packaging development is that the process of ideation, design, and production is entirely fragmented,” he comments. “Not only is this unnecessarily expensive but it also hampers creativity because designers try to second-guess practical issues before the design goes too far. iC3D is a powerful solution for road testing ideas, allowing full, photorealistic 3D mock-ups at any and every stage of the design process.”

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