Thinking Outside the Box for Digitally Printed Packaging

Explore 4 is the newest edition to Neenah’s popular Explore Series, and once again it’s a portfolio of steal-worthy ideas. The series, which focuses on ways to amp up ROI for short-run projects with creative use of paper and digital printing, hones in on one particular area of significant growth for short-run projects — packaging.

Digitally printed packaging is the most rapidly growing segments of digital printing. According to a recent Smithers Pira report, the digital print for packaging market is forecast to more than double from $6.6 billion in 2013 to $14.4 billion in 2018. With the advances in digital printing equipment, presses are able to print on thicker, and more textured, papers. And in return, Neenah continues to engineer papers to meet the market demands for this advancing technology.

Designing for smaller packaging projects no longer means designers are locked into using generic, smooth, white, drab papers that don’t get attention. “We know that color, texture and a paper’s weight increase awareness, interaction, and ultimately, response rates, so our goal with the Explore series is to showcase ways to that paper can advance the impact of short-run projects,” says Greg Maze, Senior Brand Manager, Digital & Wide Format, Neenah.


An advantage to using digital printing for packaging is the ability to cost effectively, produce a project without sacrificing on creativity or quality. This North Hudson Goods box (above) found in Explore 4 shows how easy it can be to create that wow-factor, inside and out, with the use of colored paper and 4 clicks of opaque white ink.

Paper: Neenah® Folding Board, Deep Black



Designing short-run packaging projects doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box. This pyramid-shape package from Explore 2 uses a simple 4-color process, but the result is anything but simple. The must-explore “box” is designed to deliver a sustainable message while housing a surprise inside.

Paper: ENVIRONMENT® Papers



As digital technology advances, so to do special effects being applied with digital printing. Raised ink is a one of those effects. It’s a digital process where ink is applied layer on top of layer to create a raised texture that can emulate embossing or engraving. The raised ink on this box from the first Explore promotion adds an extra level of touch, with an engraved-like feel.




The new Explore 4 promotion, and the complete series offer samples that showcase beautiful and useful designs to inspire creativity and make it easy to produce a wide range of common and not-so-common applications on beautiful papers from direct mail, hang tags, and menus to invitations, posters, and packaging.


By continuing the Explore series, Neenah hopes to continue to inspire and support creatives and brand managers, and their ever-evolving needs. Neenah knows that for designers, small jobs can take as much time as larger jobs. So Neenah offers free downloadable dielines from all four Explore promotions, giving designers a starting point to help shorten the timeline.

Photographs: StudioAlex Photography (