The Future of On-Product Branding

I’m looking for information on current and future kinds of on-product branding (mainly adding secondary labels and/or printing processes) for a research project. Applications would mainly be on high-volume injection molded plastics and structural foam. I’ve heard “Industrial Ink Jet Printing” being touted as an up and coming thing (relatively affordable, easily customizable) but haven’t ever seen it done. Any thoughts?

Is there a good resource where info like this is consolidated (you know, besides good ole Wikipedia)?

Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:

Cool research project. On-product communication is a great topic and is more valuable than most give it credit.

At my last employer, one of my responsibilities as a Global ID Manager was a team of on-product graphic designers. For our North American products we had the standard dilemma of mandatory English & Spanish plus the internal goal of also including French for all instructions and warnings. Our South American products required one to four dialects of Spanish / Portugese (depending on where each product would be sold). For our EU/EE products, the daunting goal of providing warnings and instructions in 13 languages led to a the creation of a library of icons and for our EMEA products each market varied in it’s requirements - complicated to say the least and as you might imagine the obligatory label spaces filled up quickly on every product except things like lawn mowers, where you get billboard space to accomplish those goals!

I made innovation a priority for that group - we were determined to investigate every possible ‘what’s next’ scenario…we looked at accordian style fold-out hook-n-loop adhered labels, 3D lenticular (image shifting) labels (except we concentrated on verbage and icons instead of action images), laser etched communications, in mold communications (polished on texture, trapped pvc, etc), slide-in-place booklets and even a primitive source of projected imagery - all in an effort to provide more space for communicating information.

We commercialized almost every scenario to provide an ongoing test bed and to gather user feedback - I’d say the most successful out-of-the-box solution was the 3D lenticular labels. At the time, the supplier was widening the visual frame so that we could have more than 3-4 scenes (look at it from this angle & see English warnings & instructions, look at it from that angle & see Spanish, look at it from a third angle and see French, etc). It held great promise, could be printed and then molded onto curvature-complex surfaces and could be almost invisible (same color as the housings) when not viewed at the exact angles. Most of the other scenarios were just band-aids compared to this solution.

Thanks Generatewhatsnext! Do you have any images or sources you could share or direct me to of the list you gave?

accordian style fold-out hook-n-loop adhered labels, 3D lenticular labels, laser etched communications, in mold communications (polished on texture, trapped pvc, etc), slide-in-place booklets, and even a primitive source of projected imagery"

The lenticular labels sound super cool. I know that sometimes things that adhere (0r are these in-molded?) to injection molded plastic (in my case, usually PE and PP) can be difficult to do on structural foam due to off-gassing (it can cause labels to bubble). Any ideas on if this is possible?

And primitive projection! I hadn’t even thought of that as a possibility. How does it work?

Thanks again! :slight_smile:

Hi - sorry, I’ve been traveling - I will try to gather some images when I’m back to the studio, but some Google searches might yield results.

3M and a few others have formulated recent adhesives that do a great job on PE / PP, for traditional stuck-on labels. The projected imagery was very early-on…it relied on light reflecting off a printed image with text, the idea being that a company could pad print communication on various areas of a product and when light reflected against it the communication would become clear to see. We didn’t get far with that one. :slight_smile:

I’ve been traveling too, so apologies as well for my delay as well. Thanks for this. I’m really into this idea of light reflectivity. I’ve seen it where the logo is in a different finish (eg: glossy logo on textured surface), but it is often hard to see unless you’re really looking at it. Just to clarify, you pad print directly onto the product and this reflects the light or you pad print a label that is adhered to the product surface and that is the reflective part?? Sounds cool either way.

I’m also thinking a lot of the products could be very utilitarian, so the adhesive needs to last…for a long time…say 20 years. Think 3M is up to that? I’ll check it out, but if you come across anything please let me know!

Thanks again for all the advice!!