Polyethylene is the most common plastic, with polypropylene in the second place. Both have been around for a very long time. Polyethylene was first synthesized by the German chemist Hans von Pechmann, who prepared it by accident in 1898 while investigating diazomethane. First industrial production started in 1939. Propylene was first polymerized in 1951.
They are both widely used in the packaging and labelling industry due to their hard-wearing qualities, their resistance to water and chemicals and their flexibility for squeezable packaging.
But while the practical aspects of using synthetic materials are unquestionable – what about the esthetics? When do you go for a clear synthetic label?
I have been curious to see how popular this type of packaging is at the moment and what is the deciding factor for using it. Is there a rule that applies? What content silently screams for a see-through label? How can you be sure this is for you? I looked at many different products and here is my conclusion:
- Show off the colour. If you have a range of beautifully coloured drinks or paint bottles that is a fantastic way to take advantage of it. While beautifully designed, printed labels can be very eye-catching – transparent label with bold, vivid colours behind it truly draws attention to itself. Here are some Raw Press and Eaten Alive Smoked Sriracha examples of that. :
- Show off the glass. Shape, texture – whatever it might be – a transparent label will not create a distraction from it. Here is a good example.
- Show off your style. Sometimes it just makes sense – clear label corresponds with the brand, name or with the idea behind it. It certainly does for the Sea Glass bottles, where the matt transparent label brings to mind the sea glass pebbles to mind.
- Show off your modern or quirky design. Sometimes you just want to be different. Here is a great example of how can this be achieved.
I’m sure there are many more examples and reasons, but those were the main trends I have noticed. If you can think of other examples, please comment below – I would love to see them.
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