Packaging Trend: Shape & Die-Cutting

Published On: January 4, 2018

Print and finishing effects like embossing and debossing, the use of gold foils, and specialty coatings and varnishes are each a popular method to create eye-catching decorative effects in packaging. What many don’t realize is that precision die cutting is another tool that can be used to make your product stand out. Die-cutting is a process by which intricate shapes and designs can be cut from the packaging substrate, leaving a crisp edge and clean design.


Die cutting can be used on single or multi-piece packaging designs. With multi-piece die cut packaging designs, there is great opportunity to use the multiple layers to add dimension, drama, and convey precision messaging or experience.  One example is a paper or plastic sleeve that slides over the main packaging. In this example, the two layers are typically different colors, so that the shapes and designs cut into the outer layer allow the color of the inner layer to show through, creating a design that really “pops.” This method of die cutting can be used alongside images and graphics that are printed on to the outer layer traditionally using ink, for a multidimensional effect that adds an element of depth to the package’s appearance. When both the inner packaging and outer sleeve are the same color, the effect is a subtle, textured appearance that invites a closer look.

Multi-layer die cut packaging can also be used to create a sense of intrigue and anticipation, as the die cut shapes serve as tiny windows into the inner layer of packaging. This is especially favored for sleeves that go over primary DVD packaging for dramatic movies. When used well, this technique creates the sense of getting a sneak peek at something we aren’t supposed to be seeing, and can be a very effective way of attracting consumer attention.


Whether left open or paired with a layer of clear plastic, die-cut packaging technology can be used to go beyond the usual rectangular openings typically seen. Special die-cut shapes can be done to match company logos or reinforce branding.

With precision cutting, it is possible to frame the “window” through which consumers view your product with intricate, eye-catching designs. This can be used to transform your product’s packaging into a multi-layer scene, with the laser cut outer layer forming an engaging foreground in front of the window.


When most people think of decorative packaging, their minds immediately leap to coatings and varnishes, specially formulated inks, and metallic embossing and debossing effects. There is a tendency to ignore or forget die-cut packaging as an innovative option that frees up many creative possibilities.

packaging trends

When you work with JohnsByrne for die cut packaging, you’ll know that our entire team is working nonstop to push the limits of what is possible to develop the right packaging solution for your product.

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