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Branded pizza boxes overcome all challenges

Packaging Solutions


In 2020, Smurfit Kappa Yate site was asked to work on an exciting project for long standing client Papa John’s (GB) Limited. The pizza giant was in need of exclusive packaging for its limited time offer, in collaboration with Call Of Duty.


On the back of this success, the Smurfit Kappa Yate team worked on another more recent solution for Papa John’s. Again, a time packaging creation – this time for f a Godzilla vs Kong collaboration.


These projects posed some intricate print and artwork challenges.


Smurfit Kappa Yate has been a collaborative suppliersof Papa John’s for more than 10 years, and its sole supplier for pizza boxes since August 2019. The team produces more than 35 million pizza boxes for the brand every year.



Papa John’s works with limited time offers throughout the year, collaborating with gaming, film, and charity partners around the globe.


The key challenge with the brief provided from Papa John’s and Cygnus, the creative agency, was with the reprographics. Artwork for the Call Of Duty collaboration was supplied as untagged CMYK, which brings a unique set of challenges. When artwork is untagged, there is no colour profile or target on how the imagery should appear. Printing onto an uncoated board for pizza boxes will always deliver a different result than printing onto coated bright white paper.


The CMYK artwork provided did not take into account the total ink coverage limits of a pre-print flexo process, which is 260%. This meant the Smurfitt team had to re-separate the artwork in order to reduce ink coverage to a usable limit. Not only that, but the artwork did not allow for the misregister movement of a flexo process, which could have left the text on the design unreadable. The creative agency worked hard to create the striking imagery for these pizza boxes, but the artwork files left specialists with many challenges to overcome.


Smurfit Kappa enjoys a good challenge, and the team put their heads together to come up with a solution. The team was able to overcome many of these reprographic challenges by working closely with the external supplier converting the supplied CMYK artwork to spot colours. With this approach, large areas of colour were created from single spot colours. This eliminated the total ink coverage problems, as well as the issues with misregistering. The design team then worked to manually retouch the images so elements such as text and details would appear correctly.


Papa John’s senior director of marketing, Giles Codd, said: ‘We have been working with Smurfit Kappa for more than ten years, and once again it has produced incredible pizza box packaging for our limited time offer. This collaboration with Call Of Duty: Cold War is one of our most successful yet, and we are over the moon to have boxes which leave a lasting impression on our customers.;


Smurfit Kappa Yate site’s key account director, Lee Gammon, worked very closely with Giles and his team at Papa John’s and Laura at Cygnus said: ‘Our client had high demands for this project, and we were confident we could meet the high expectations and overcome the challenges.’


Dave Whittle, print manager, added: ‘The detailed imagery and artwork for this project was a huge roadblock for our print team. We had to think outside the box and come up with a solution to deliver packaging which was striking and bold.’





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