Color-Coordinated Bearsville Soap Packaging

Nestled in the rugged Catskill Mountains, the Bearsville Soap Company sells artisanal soaps rich in beery, outdoorsy scents. But with 19 “flavors” and a growing number of competitors, the company realized its simple kraft paperboard packaging needed an upgrade. What designer Marshall Bower and my good friend Noel Tocci, of bespoke print consultancy Tocci Made [projects / website], came up with makes it a great deal easier for customers to remember their favorite Bearsville products, with an assortment of attractive colors guaranteed to attract new ones, too.

The first thing they did was replace the kraft paperboard they’d been using in favor of a 14 pt. coated one side (C1S) sheet with a finger-pleasing Silk finish. And since it was concern for the environment that led the client to use kraft paper in the first place, Noel made sure that the C1S they used was FSC certified.

Next came the tricky part: figuring out how to make Bearsville’s plan to use a different color for each of their 19 scents – from Forest Fir to Iced Lager – cost effective. With soap cakes ranging in sales from 2,000 to 6,000 each, printing the packages offset would’ve been expensive. But to print this packaging digitally would have been a very difficult prospect considering all the different PMS colors that needed to be matched printing digital CMYK. The solution? Using a 6-color digital inkjet press!

Working closely with our friends at Meyers Printing, they used those 6 colors to expand the color gamut, getting much closer to the colors the company envisioned for the soaps than they could’ve printing digital CMYK alone. And because the client wanted the inside of the package to be Gray, Noel and Meyers ended up using the company’s flexo-digital hybrid press setup in which the pieces were printed on a digital web press first before  going through a flexo setup on the back end.

To be clear, this was all done inline: The paper went through the inkjet press part first – adding the required 19 different scent colors – before going into the flexo part to apply the Gray to the back of the sheet. Proud of their bear-head logo, Bearsville’s design team wanted to enhance it with a registered emboss so that it would really stand out. For cost and efficiency purposes though, they ended up flooding the package with a matte coating inline – covering everything except the logo, knocking it out so that it alone retained the ink’s gloss, while the rest of the package took on a Matte look.

One detail they carried over from the original packaging was a horizontal die cut on the front of the box, which allows plenty of the rich details of the soap inside to peek out.

So efficient was the process Noel and the team at Meyers came up with, that they were able to accomplish the printing, scoring, die cutting and UV work for all 19 fragrances in just 3 days. Quite an achievement for what, I’m sure you would agree, was a BEAR of a project 😉

👋🏻 PaperSpecs PRO members: Be sure to check out the Noel Tocci Deep Dive (“How to Pivot When Your Printing Plans Collapse”) Sabine mentions in this video right here!

Project Details

Title Bearsville Soap Packaging
 Client Bearsville Soap Company Date June 2021 + January 2022
 Design Marshall Bower Print Printing: Meyers Printing, Minneapolis
Production Manager: Rosina Pang-Cordero

Print consultancy: Tocci Made
Paper C1S FSC Silk Finish 14 Pt.

Production Details

Dimensions 8.4” x 7” Print Quantity 100,000

 Production Time 3 days Printing Method Digital + Flexo Number of Colors 6/1 Finishing and Binding Die cutting, folding, form + gluing

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