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Insights: Articles & Resources by Oliver Inc.


Lamination: How Specialty Coatings Elevate Your Folding Cartons

Lamination is a cost-effective way to enhance packaging design, add durability and rigidity to its structure, and expand visual options for your folding cartons.

    4 minute read

All that glitters may not be gold, but the glimmering shine of a folding carton certainly grabs consumers’ attention. Specialty finishing, specifically lamination, creates the gleam that invites consumers to further consider the treasure that sits inside the packaging—your product.

Let’s look at lamination and what it can do to elevate your folding cartons and, ultimately, your brand. 


What Is Lamination?

Lamination involves bonding a plastic film covered with a heat-activated layer to a substrate using pressure and high temperatures. This film typically consists of polyester, nylon, or polypropylene.

Polyester is utilized in large runs, especially for two-sided applications, making it perhaps the most popular film used in lamination. Due to its flexible nature—specifically its ability to preserve graphic integrity despite folding and bending—polyester could be considered the gold standard for folding cartons.

Nylon’s separating feature is its breathability. Sometimes other laminates can trap moisture, causing folding cartons to curl or wrinkle. Nylon is typically the more expensive option, but when your product contains moisture, it may be your best.

Polypropylene is very conducive to additional specialty coatings and layered lamination. The least expensive of the three films, it facilitates the brightest colors and is frequently used in one-sided applications.


Lamination or UV Coating?

It’s not uncommon for brands to use lamination and UV coating for similar projects since both give the substrate a glossy, matte, or soft-touch finish. However, some key differences remain between the two. UV coating spreads a liquid glaze over the substrate, which is then cured using ultraviolet light in line during the printing process. Lamination, on the other hand, requires an additional step in the process to apply the film to the paperboard. 

All this to say, lamination is for full coverage of a folding carton while UV can be used as a spot coating treatment to provide an eye-catching element to specific areas. UV spot coating’s best use may be to amplify particular parts of a folding carton, such as the area containing a logo or product name.


Elevate Your Folding Cartons

Folding cartons already serve vital functions on their own, providing protection against the elements and empowering brands with plenty of marketing space to communicate with and engage consumers. 

Specialty finishings extend those benefits in several ways.


In addition to giving your graphics vivid coloration, you can also incorporate specialty finishings that are tactile in nature—yet another way for your brand to make an impression. You’ll want that to avoid your product being lost in a mass of colorful, attention-seeking shelf mates, however. If you really want to peacock, consider using rainbow holographic lamination to give your packaging a full spectrum shine. A high level of attractiveness is vital for cosmetic brands.


Lamination transforms your substrate into a tear-proof piece of packaging (within reason). This added security protects the product inside the carton, meaning you don’t have to worry whether the usual wear and tear will damage your packaging. Some laminate films, such as LuxeFilms®, ScuffProof®, and Karess™ SmudgeProof, are specifically designed to protect packaging as it passes through the chain of custody.


Even if your product survives shipping, it’s still vulnerable to scratches and tears when handled by merchandisers or customers. Lamination gives your folding carton an invisible cloak of protection to shield the graphical designs from being scuffed and dulled. Your boxed product will likely be handled several times by customers before it’s purchased. You don’t want those interactions to undermine the alluring shine of your visual designs.


Akin to protection, lamination strengthens the actual structure of your folding carton, providing additional durability and thickness. This is especially important for products that contain heavier or pricier items. Consumers want to feel assured that what they are buying has been secured and protected. In their minds, the strength of the packaging should mirror the monetary value of the product inside.


When partnered with other specialty finishings, lamination can multiply visual options, alongside other specialty packaging options. Try it with embossing, debossing, hot foil stamping, and cold foil techniques. By layering specialty coatings, you can deliver consumers unique visual blends that help your brand stand out among the pack.

In summary, lamination enhances your packaging, adds durability and rigidity to its structure, and expands visual options for your brand. With this collection of benefits, it’s easy to see why so many brands are turning to lamination and other specialty finishings to help their folding cartons jump off the shelves.

Oliver is a printing and packaging company with more than 250 years of experience. Equipped with advanced capabilities and a commitment to excellence, we are eager to help you determine your next folding carton design. Contact us today to learn more. 

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