The Evolution of Contour Print

Posted by | Filed under Design, Manufacturing | Oct 2, 2013 | Tags: , | Comments Off on The Evolution of Contour Print

In 1996 Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging produced a preprinted thermoformed package for a New York toy company. It was a relatively simple design that allowed the kids to use the package as a frame to mount their art work when completed.



This pre-printed clamshell package won the Vinyl Institutes Award (North America) for “Environmental Innovation/Source Reduction”.

In retrospect it was a great idea and the steps we used 19 years ago to distort the artwork and register it accurately during the thermoforming operation remain very much the same today. However, as in everything else the technology has improved greatly to the point where we can now predict the amount of art distortion much quicker. Also 19 years ago we were pioneering the process on high speed thermoforming equipment using tunnel heat which cooked the inks as well as the plastic so finding the right ink and maintaining constant heat was a challenge.

Contour PrintToday we work closely with art distortion companies and printers that have refined their processes making it easier to predict the resulting print on package contours thus getting the package to market faster. With some restrictions we can now replace the need to apply labels to clamshells and blisters with multi-colored decoration and copy applied directly to the rolls of plastic prior to forming the package – no label to apply and no contamination in the recycling stream.

Shepherd is currently working on “Contour Print” projects for several global brands as well as some unique applications where combining  printing and thermoforming can produce some major benefits.

“Let us Shepherd your next project”


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