Pringraf has seen solid growth and won multiple awards over the past 20 years, and believes the secret to its success is a mixture of good customer service and staying on top of new technologies. Company co-founder Giuseppe Prioriello discusses how hardware and a new start-up website are helping the firm make custom packaging design that much easier.
Two decades ago, two brothers, one an architect and the other a graphic designer, set up custom-packaging company Pringraf with only €22,000. Today, the company is worth more than €5 million, and Roberto and Giuseppe Prioriello, along with their employees, have won numerous prizes for technology and design.
One of the secrets to Pringraf's success is its holistic approach to client relations, according to Giuseppe Prioriello, who now serves as the company's managing director. Employees prefer to work alongside customers on projects, instead of on the sidelines, he argues, and the company does not see itself as just selling clients a product - it seeks to offer solutions to its customers' packaging problems.
"To do this, you have to talk to the customer and find out what you can do for their success," he says. "Our company is defined by our clients; if they aren't successful, it's a failure for us.
"We like to discover new ways to do packaging, like special finishes, to help our customers to sell more. This is really important."
Prioriello calls this approach "validation", and says it was inspired by his time working in the early days of the internet.
"Every day, when we're on the internet, different companies and web pages are collecting data; adjusting our browsing according to our preferences," he argues. "We need to do this in our packaging marketing, to optimise what the customer will see on the shelf.
"Now it is possible to do this, we can use different colours and different communications on packages. It's about what customers like the most - so the supply chain learns from the user."
Unique packaging designs are key to helping brand-owners increase market share, Prioriello argues, and the company is working to innovate in the field of micro cutting for this reason - more precise tools mean that Pringraf can develop increasingly special solutions.
"Of course, the product is the same inside, but the carton board outside it is different. The style of the packaging becomes the vehicle that enables you to sell your product," he says. "Micro cutting is something Pringraf is going to push for, it's a revolutionary technique that gives our users endless possibilities. The process is fast, it doesn't limit creativity. We can cut lines near the other, and we decorate paper without the die-cutting tools. It's going to be one of the most important technologies in the industry."
And Pringraf is branching out in its problem-solving options for customers, particularly regarding short runs. Prioriello has just launched Pack.ly, a web start-up that hopes to streamline the process of packaging design by eliminating minimum quantity orders.
"Pack.ly is a web platform that lets anyone create a packaging design and download it as a cad file, put the artwork on it, upload it and have it printed," he says. "The printing is guaranteed by Pringraf, so there is no stress. It's a really smooth process."
While it's a work in progress, Pack.ly hopes to become a powerful platform for independent designers to experiment with different styles without the pressures of minimum print requirements, simplifying the work of creatives with custom sizes, shapes and graphics, starting from just one copy with a high quality of printing.
Looking ahead to the future of the industry, Pringraf sees campaigns such as Coca-Cola's recent 'Share a Coke' campaign as an example of upcoming trends - customisable designs where marketing teams can quickly respond to an evolving market.
"In five years, we'll have everyone thinking about customising to rapid change and developing the message on their product," Prioriello says. "It's the rapid customisation of the message to the customer."