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Designing a Digital Experience

By AICC Staff

August 7, 2017

Back in 2012, Ideon Packaging ventured into the digital world with the purchase of an HP Scitex FB7600 press. We have since upgraded to HP’s 15500 corrugated press, complemented by two ESKO Kongsberg (XP and XPA) cutting tables.

With the addition of digital, and being an early adopter of the technology, we have been able to carve out a new market in our local packaging industry for digitally produced packaging and POP solutions.

In a recent article on Ideon’s digital print capabilities, our President and CEO Rick Van Poele explains that “with digital, we are able to design and deliver a highly customized mock-up POP display before we even meet with the customer, so it’s completely ready for them to see when they come in.”

Designing an experience is likely the most impactful element that digital brings to our business.

Rick goes on to say that “most brands have realized package design needs to be dynamic to entice customers, but many are now realizing that the concept has to extend to a memorable and unique POP display, in order to engage with the customer on a personal and emotional level.”

Designing an experience is likely the most impactful element that digital brings to our business, and it also happens to be one of the primary deliverables of design for any product or service. Whether through variable print or data within an order, changing structure or graphics without additional tooling costs for the customer, or being able to do test or soft launches without sacrificing brand imaging, Ideon can create a brand experience for our customers—and their customers—that they get excited about. Think back to the groundbreaking products we have seen in recent years; they were all cases in which the experience created by the new product had not existed previously and broke customers’ existing paradigms—the iPod to music and Tesla Model S to automobiles, to name a couple. Digital allows us to do the same with packaging on a rapid and repeatable scale.

Design-driven sales is an extension of designing an experience. Our design team regularly partners with our sales team to target certain customers and create a POP display that is a complete shift from what they’re currently getting. Our structure and graphic teams are given creative control to create a “wow!” experience. In some cases, we’re in a competitive situation, and in others the customer is not currently buying POP due to legacy paradigms. In either scenario, we come in with a full-production prototype, and customers instantly understand how they can benefit from digital. In some cases, potential customers have placed orders for the exact prototype our design team created. We brought them something they didn’t realize they wanted or didn’t know was possible.

A shift in paradigms and educating the market has been one of the bigger hurdles for us. Externally, we have needed to educate customers on the advantages and benefits of digital compared to what they previously thought was possible, open their understanding to letting their imaginations run wild from one order to the next, and engage marketing departments in the sales process. Internally, the design process itself is a lot different than in traditional corrugated, with electronic workflow and rapid version control needing to be a focus.

I would be remiss if I didn’t put a lean spin on this digital topic. Granted, digital is not for everyone, and like all packaging solutions, digital has its fit. But in the area of small- to medium-run POP, container variations, and other forms of packaging, digital will help reduce waste for the benefit of your customers.

  • Reduced or eliminated inventory—buying exactly what is needed, no more tooling (good for you and your customer).
  • Reduced waiting—shorter production lead times.
  • Increased value—Superior print quality over flexo, stock, and other short- to medium-run POP options.

MikeMike Nunn is vice president of operations at Ideon Packaging and is Lean Black Belt-certified. He can be reached at 604-524-0524 or, or followed on Twitter @mikednunn.