Airless packaging – calculating the print area.
Cosmetics packaging products fulfil a number of roles, as they need to facilitate the production process, be filled and automatically sealed easily, entice the consumer and, last but not least, make the product practical to use. One of the key roles of packaging is to communicate essential product information, e.g. the ingredients, volume, directions of use, and manufacturer. All that information in placed on the packaging via a label or printed directly onto its surface. In addition to such indispensable details, the manufacturer may also include some graphics, a slogan and, above all, their logo, which will enable the consumer to identify their brand. First, however, you need to specify the shape and size of the area on the packaging that can be used for this purpose.
In this article we will use an airless bottle as an example to show you how you can try to calculate that area on your own. It is well worth noting at this point that it is primarily the responsibility of the manufacturer to define the print area for each packaging product they offer by enclosing relevant documentation with it, such as technical drawings.
If you have your packaging at hand, or if you have a detailed design of it, you can also measure the print area yourself.
The easiest dimension to obtain is its height. To find it out, simply take the height of the bottle (from its top edge, excluding the height of the cap thread) and deduct a safety margin of 2-3 millimetres at both the bottom and the top. Such a safety margin is typically required by printers, as it reduces the risk of printing errors significantly.
Next, calculate the circumference of the bottle using the appropriate mathematical formula (depending on whether the bottle has a circular or square cross-section). This will be the next measurement we need – the length of the print area. In this case we can also reduce the measurement by a 2 or 3 mm margin to reduce the risk of the edges of the label or print overlapping each other.
In many cases the two calculations will give you the size of a rectangular print area that should contain all your graphics and text. It must be remembered, though, that it does not necessarily have to be a rectangle and could sometimes be a trapezoid, specifically when your bottle is actually more of a cone than a cylinder (i.e. it tapers towards the top or bottom).
Although the simple procedure described here should help you calculate the size of the print area, please remember to consult all packaging parameters with the manufacturer and packaging designer, as either might tell you to modify the shape, height or width you arrived at. It is also worth making some test prints to better assess the end result and help get the design approved – or rejected.
Good luck with designing your packaging! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries, we'll be delighted to help you.
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All the best,
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