The intrinsic bright appearance of steel has always been considered by designers and can makers as a premium feature when creating original and appealing labels for cans, producing an image of quality and distinction for the product packed plus a
strong identity for the brand.

Metallic gold and silver designs in packaging reflect a high-value image and are frequently used today in packaging concepts for ‘haute couture’ perfumes, cosmetics, luxury gift packs and top-of-line single malt whiskies.


At the International Steel Packaging Congress, Kevin Ford (Research Director from Ipsos), commented on how the design, shape, colour and convenience features of steel packaging influenced consumer preference and behaviour:

“Steel’s superior resistance to impact during handling in the logistics chain guarantees a premium finish.”

“Colour is an excellent means of attracting attention with clearly visible brand names, however there is no magic rule which indicates that red is better than other colours, but the important factor is to be different, bright and shiny,” he

Béatrice Mariotti (Executive Vice President – Creative Director) from Carré Noir – one of the leading packaging design agencies in France – said: “Quality beer labels need a matt decoration, in contrast with transparency, which permits
the emergence of the metal brilliance to create a universe which is festive, sparkling and sensual.”

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If, in the 70’s, German brewers had to accept a compromise when reproducing their ancestral transparent metallic bottle labels on steel cans, things look brighter today thanks to the joint efforts of European can-makers and steel makers.

By optimising the can manufacturing process, the merits of the steel can now be even further exploited in design, offering enhanced value to steel packaging in the future.

In a study to enhance the appearance of steel for packaging, measurements of brightness, colour and gloss – using the latest DIISS technologies (Diffused Illumination Integrating Sphere System) – were carried out during a combined development
programme by Arcelor Packaging International, Corus Packaging Plus and Rasselstein.

Leading can manufacturing locations in Europe are now implementing the specific manufacturing parameters recommended by the team to optimise the surface appearance of their production and offer original transparent label designs of premium


Rowland Heming, Managing Director of Pineapple Design Agency and Vice President of PDA (the European Brand Design Association), recently commented on the new bright steel can developments: “In the world of brand packaging, the ability to stand out and
attract attention in today’s crowded retail environment is crucial.”

“New developments in steel cans have increased significantly the designer’s ability to achieve this product differentiation. This major achievement in the development of a unique bright surface effect on steel cans has given designers and their
clients a competitive edge in display capabilities.”

“The new cans allow designers to express originality and to create added value through an eye-catching visual image. With the choice of transparent decorative inks, further stunning effects can be achieved. Bright steel is without doubt the ideal
opportunity to enhance a brand’s visual expression.”

“Metallic gold and silver designs in packaging reflect a high-value image.”

PDA’s President, Rob Vermeulen considers for his part that the recent bright steel beverage can development represents a real new challenge for designers, driving them to the limits of their art to create original and outstanding beverage

“The brightness, combined with transparent designs, delivers an excellent shelf performance brand owners can be proud of. Compared to previous steel can decoration, this is really a step forward establishing steel as a top rank performer for maximum
brand differentiation.”

“Moreover, it reflects the influence that technology can have on designers’ work. We trust that many other packaging designers will experience, as we did, the additional added value they can deliver to their customers with bright steel can


The choice of a transparent metallic design for Coca-Cola light on steel is proof enough that the metallic brightness of the steel can has now become an added value for consumer appeal, which cannot be neglected.

Two top designers, Séverine Gomez and Sophie Toporkoff, chose the creativity of the bright steel design to produce two exceptional and original graphics for Coca Cola light with modern pop and romantic can displays, directed towards the
25-35-year-old target group.

The results of a multi-cultural quantitative consumer survey undertaken by IPSOS for the International Steel Packaging Effectiveness Award 2005, very clearly quantified the importance of brightness and the related specific performance of this
packaging design.

When considering the issue of: ‘differentiates the brand’, the Coca-Cola light canned beverage obtained top marks in its category with an ‘8.14 out of 10’ rating, considerably above the category average of 7.22.

The consumers from around the world who were interviewed confirmed the linked criteria of quality, colour, and modernity as critical factors for the final differentiating result.

“The steel can now be even further exploited in design, offering enhanced value for the future.”


Another recent and successful example of the use of the bright steel technology is the Doreleï beer can, produced for the Brasseries Fischer, one of the leading master brewers in Alsace, France.

Monsieur Pascal Sabrié, President of Fischer, when commenting on the choice of steel for their Doreleï brand, stressed “this design takes full advantage of the outstanding potential the new brightness of steel offers to stimulate the

“The very delicate and refined copper and gold colours used convey a tradition for high-quality Alsacienne beer. The radiant transparency and sparkling effect of the steel, and the distinctive text used for the decoration, enhance the superb finish

“Steel’s superior resistance to impact during handling in the logistics chain guarantees a premium surface finish and allows the packaging design to take full advantage of the extra brightness to enhance the overall appearance of the pack. This is
essential for maximum brand differentiation.”