The covers of the stock compacts are designed with a slight inset for insertion of a decorative top plate, which, when made with the think4D process, adds both visual and tactile interest to the package. In the past, HCP has used paper, metal, liquid epoxy and other materials to create top plates for these families of injection-molded compacts.
Creating think4D top plates “allows us to bring a completely new ‘dimension’” to the compacts, says Damien Dossin, president, HCP Packaging USA. “The compacts become very tactile, and once you pick up a piece, it’s hard to put it down.”
HCP and think4D do not yet have a commercial example of a compact decorated this way. However, think4D used commercial graphics designed by HCP to create a sample top plate. The square samples were flexo printed, UV coated and then thermoformed to add depth to the graphics. The samples are made of amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (APET).
Tactile top plates could be manufactured with a pressure-sensitive backing or without; in the latter case, HCP would use double-sided tape to attach the plates to the compacts.
The think4D technology also could be used inside a compact, for a tray to hold make-up pans. “Up until now, typically the pan wells have been one color, and they typically match the color that the compact is molded in,” Dossin says. “Now you could do them in multicolor. You could print instructions. You could print them with numbers. You have a lot of flexibility.”
He says he expects “sophisticated brands as well as the edgier, younger brands” in the cosmetics industry to be drawn to this decorating technique. Prestigious brands likely would use it as a subtle touch, perhaps just on a logo.
But younger brands will probably use it more boldly. “Some the edgier brands come out with…eye-popping artwork, and to add this tactile element to it would be taking it to the next level,” Dossin explains.
As for cost, he says that “for the right volumes, this is quite affordable compared with some of the other inserts, like metal plates or paper inserts with gel. It’s not cheap. But, for what you’re getting, it’s a good value.”