Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CONTAINER FOR CONSUMER ARTICLES WITH IMPROVED TACTILE SURFACE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/162331
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A container (10) for consumer articles is at least partially formed from a laminar blank (100) and comprises: a first support layer (12) comprising a lacquer or varnish provided on an area of a surface (14) of the blank (100), at least a portion of the first support layer (12) being substantially transparent; a second support layer (16) comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer(12), at least a portion of the second support layer (16) being substantially transparent; and a first indicia layer (18) comprising a visible ink, wherein the first indicia layer (18) extends at least partly between the first support layer (12) and the second support layer(16), at least a portion of the first indicia layer (18) comprising the visible ink directly underlying the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer(16). At least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer (12) and the second support layer (16) lies in a plane transverse to the underlying blank surface(14).

Inventors:
KOROMAZIDIS THEMISTOKLIS (CH)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2018/055104
Publication Date:
September 13, 2018
Filing Date:
March 01, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
PHILIP MORRIS PRODUCTS SA (CH)
International Classes:
B65D85/10
Foreign References:
US4063641A1977-12-20
US20110049168A12011-03-03
US20110206885A12011-08-25
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CIVERA, Andrea (The White Chapel Building10 Whitechapel High Street, London Greater London E1 8QS, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A container for consumer articles, the container being at least partially formed from a laminar blank and comprising:

a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish provided on an area of a surface of the blank, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent;

a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent; and

a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer, at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlying the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer,

wherein at least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to the underlying blank surface.

2. A container according to claim 1 further comprising a second indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein at least a portion of the second indicia layer extends over both the first support layer and the second support layer.

3. A container according to claim 2 further comprising one or more further support layers comprising a lacquer or varnish, at least a portion of each further support layer being substantially transparent and at least partly overlying the first indicia layer, the second indicia layer or both.

4. A container according to claim 3 further comprising one or more further indicia layers comprising a visible ink, at least a portion of each further indicia layer extending over at least part of each one of the underlying support layers and indicia layers.

5. A container according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein at least a portion of the outer surface of the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to a plane defined by an underlying portion of the outer surface of the first support layer.

6. A container according to any one of the preceding claims wherein at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer has a thickness of at least about 10 micrometres.

7. A container according to any one of the preceding claims wherein a level of transparency of the indicia layer varies across the surface of the blank along at least one direction. 8. A container according to any one of the preceding claims comprising smoking articles.

9. A laminar blank for forming a container for consumer goods, the blank comprising:

a substrate;

a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish provided on an area of a surface of the substrate, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent;

a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent; and

at least a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer, at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlying the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer,

wherein at least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to the underlying substrate surface.

10. A laminar blank according to claim 10 further comprising a second indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein at least a portion of the second indicia layer extends over both the first support layer and the second support layer. 1 1 . A method of manufacturing a blank forforming a containerfor consumer goods, the method comprising:

providing a blank substrate;

forming a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish on an area of a surface of the substrate, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent;

applying a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink over at least a portion of the first support layer;

forming a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent, such that the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer and that at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlies the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer,

wherein, in the step of forming a first support layer or in the step of forming the second support layer or both, at least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer is formed such that said portion of the outer surface lies in a plane transverse to the underlying blank surface.

12. A method according to claim 1 1 , further comprising applying a second indicia layer comprising a visible ink, such that at least a portion of the second indicia layer extends over both the first support layer and the second support layer.

13. A method according to claim 1 1 or 12, wherein applying the indicia layer comprises spraying the visible ink on the outer surface of the underlying support layer.

Description:
CONTAINER FOR CONSUMER ARTICLES WITH IMPROVED TACTILE SURFACE

The present invention relates to a container for consumer articles, which finds particular application as a container for elongate consumer good items, such as smoking articles (for example, cigarettes).

It is known to package consumer articles in containers formed from folded laminar blanks. By way of example, elongate smoking articles, such as cigarettes and cigars, are often sold in rigid box shaped containers, such as hinged lid containers having a box portion and a lid connected to the box about a hinge line extending across the rear wall of the container. In use, the lid is pivoted about the hinge line to open the pack and so gain access to the consumer articles held in the box.

Graphics and text are typically applied to the surfaces of the containers, in order to communicate information to the consumer, such as brand, advertising, promotional or product information. While it is typically desired to form containers from sheet materials having surfaces which are substantially smooth, it is known to provide containers having a surface comprising at least one surface region having a distinctive texture and appearance. By way of example, containers are known that have a surface region with a higher friction coefficient than the rest of the surface of the container, such that a more pronounced tactile sensation is associated with the container.

It would be desirable to provide a novel and improved container which has a surface comprising at least a region having a novel texture and appearance. In particular, it would be desirable to provide one such container that can be formed using available machinery, without the need for significant modifications. It would also be desirable to provide a blank for forming one such novel and improved container and a related manufacturing method.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a container for consumer articles, the container being at least partially formed from a laminar blank and comprising a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish provided on an area of a surface of the blank, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent. The container further comprises a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent. In addition, the container comprises a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer, at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlying the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer. Further, at least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to the underlying substrate surface. According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a laminar blank for forming a containerfor consumer goods, the blank comprising a substrate and a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish provided on an area of a surface of the substrate, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent. The blank further comprises a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent. In addition, the blank comprises at least a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer, at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlying the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer. Further, at least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to the underlying substrate surface.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of manufacturing a blank for forming a container for consumer goods. The method comprises: providing a blank substrate; forming a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish on an area of a surface of the substrate, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent; applying a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink over at least a portion of the first support layer; and forming a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent, such that the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer and that at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlies the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer. In the step of forming a first support layer or in the step of forming the second support layer or both, at least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer is formed such that said portion of the outer surface lies in a plane transverse to the underlying blank surface.

It will be appreciated that any features described with reference to one aspect of the present invention are equally applicable to any other aspect of the invention.

The term "inner surface" is used throughout the specification to refer to the surface of a component of the assembled container that is facing towards the interior of the container, for example towards the consumer articles. In particular, in hinge lid containers wherein the lid is movable between an open position and a closed position, the term "inner surface" refers to the surface of a component of the assembled container facing towards the interior of the container when the container is in the closed position. The term "outer surface" is used throughout the specification to refer to the surface of a component of the container that is facing towards the exterior of the container. It should be noted that the inside or outside surface is not necessarily equivalent to a certain side of a blank used in assembly of the container. Depending on how the blank is folded, areas that are on the same side of the container can either face towards the inside or the towards the outside of the container.

The term "transverse" is used herein to describe a plane lying transversely - that is, at a non-null angle - to a reference plane, such as the plane defined by a given surface. In general, the reference plane and the plane transverse to the reference plane belong to a sheaf of plane, that is, to a set of planes all having a same common line. The non-null angle between the planes is equal to the acute angle determined by the normal vectors of the planes. By way of example, a portion of the outer surface of a first tactile layer formed on the outer surface of a blank substrate is transverse to the plane of the outer surface of the blank surface if it forms a non-null angle, such as an acute angle, with the outer surface of the blank substrate.

The term "substantially transparent" is used to describe a material which allows at least a significant proportion of incident light to pass through it, so that it is possible to see through the material in the visible spectrum. In the present invention, a substantially transparent portion of a support layer allows sufficient light to pass through it that the underlying layer (for example, the blank, an indicia layer or another support layer) is visible through the support layer. The substantially transparent portion of the support layer may be completely transparent. Alternatively, the material forming the substantially transparent portion of the support layer may have a lower level of transparency whilst still transmitting sufficient light that the underlying surface is visible through the portion of the support layer. Further, the "level of transparency" of a layer, such as a layer comprising an ink, may vary along at least a direction.

The term "opaque" is used to describe a material that is not transparent or translucent, such that it is not possible to see through the material in the visible spectrum.

The term "indicia" is used to refer to a discrete printed element, or repeating printed elements or patterns that may provide an aesthetically pleasing representation. The indicia may be in the form of text, images, shapes, letters, words, logos, patterns or a combination thereof. For example, the indicia on the surface of the container according to the present invention may comprise a brand or manufacturer logo that allows the consumer to identify the type or origin of the articles within the container.

The term "visible" is used to describe an ink that is substantially non-transparent and absorbs electromagnetic radiation in the human visible range or spectrum. The human visible range is usually stated from about 380 nanometres to about 730 nanometres. In general, it will be appreciated that when an ink absorbs all light of the human visible range, it will appear black. If the ink absorbs electromagnetic radiation across one region of the human visible range, it will be seen as of the complementary colour. By way of example, if an ink absorbs red light, then the ink will generally appear blue-green.

A containerfor consumer articles is provided, wherein the container is formed from a laminar blank and comprises a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish provided on an area of a surface of the blank, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent. Further, the container comprises a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent. In addition, the container comprises at least a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer, and at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlies the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer. At least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to the underlying substrate surface.

The term lacquer is used herein to describe a coating composition comprising a polymer or polymers dissolved in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like nitrocellulose, acrylic compounds, mixtures of solvents containing butyl acetate and xylene or toluene. Water based lacquers will also be known to the skilled reader. Acrylic resins have the advantage of a particularly short drying time and give colourless coatings. In general, the lacquer(s) or varnish(es) will be selected based on the printing technology employed.

The provision of multiple layers of tactile lacquers with printed indicia or images lying in planes comprised between adjacent layers can provide a three-dimensional effect, such that containers in accordance with the invention have a new visual and tactile impact on the consumer. Applying complex patterns and images on the surface of containers in accordance with the invention is easier than with conventional containers wherein patterns and images are printed on tactile elements comprising, for example, fibres.

Further, by adjusting the level of transparency of the ink in the one or more indicia layers, it is advantageously possible to augment the perception of depth for the consumer. In addition, by varying the structure and geometry of the tactile layer, such as for example by forming tactile layers having surfaces transverse to the plane of the blank surface or the plane of an underlying tactile layer may be used to generate reflections and provide for a container the appearance of which changes when the container is viewed along different directions. By way of example, by varying the level of transparency of the ink in an indicia layer, the thickness, the number or the opacity of the support layers, it is possible to vary greatly how the indicia are perceived by the consumer. Because at least a portion of an outer surface of the first support layer or the second support layer or both lies in a plane transverse to the underlying blank surface, the number of possible alternatives in terms of visual and tactile impact of the container is significantly increased.

It is easy to manufacture containers in accordance with the invention, without having to make any substantial changes to the existing packaging apparatus.

Preferably, the laminar blank is opaque. In preferred embodiments, the surface of the laminar blank on which the support layers and the indicia layer are applied is white. Further, in such embodiments, the first indicia layer may comprise a portion comprising no ink. Thus, a portion of the outer surface of the laminar blank may be visible through the substantially transparent portion of the first support layer and the ink-free portion of the first indicia layer. This may give the consumer the impression of white indicia applied over the consumer of the container. Accordingly, a number of further novel different visual combinations are provided, whereby containers having a novel and distinctive visual impact can advantageously be manufactured. Preferably the container further comprises a second indicia layer comprising a visible ink extending over at least a portion of the second support layer. More preferably, at least a portion of the second indicia layer extends over both the first support layer and the second support layer.

In preferred embodiments, the container further comprises one or more further support layers comprising a lacquer or varnish, at least a portion of each further support layer being substantially transparent and at least partly overlying the first indicia layer, the second indicia layer or both. A container in accordance with the invention preferably comprises from 2 to 5 support layers, more preferably from 2 to 10 support layers, even more preferably from 2 to 15 support layers. By forming several partially overlapping support layers on the outer surface of the container, an enhanced and distinctive tactile experience is provided to the container. Further, the three-dimensionality of the tactile structure being thus formed also imparts the container a distinctive visual impact. In particular, embodiments comprising 10 support layers or more enable an improved perception of depth of an image formed on the surface of the container. At the same time, overlapping transparent support layers may substantially magnify underlying indicia, such that even more visual effects can effectively be provided. In general, such preferred embodiments provide an increased versatility, compared with known containers, in terms of visual and tactile effects that can be created.

Even more preferably, the container further comprises one or more further indicia layers comprising a visible ink , at least a portion of each further indicia layer extending over each one of the underlying support layers and indicia layers. A container in accordance with the invention preferably comprises from 2 to 5 indicia layers, more preferably from 2 to 10 indicia layers, even more preferably from 2 to 15 indicia layers. Using a greater number of indicia layers enables more complex and distinctive three-dimensional visual effects to be obtained.

The transparency of an ink may be measured in accordance to the experimental procedure set out in ISO 2846-1 :2006. International Standards ISO 2846-1 :2006 also sets threshold values T of transparency for inks of the primary colours (T ye iiow = 0.08; T ma genta = 0.12; T cya n = 0.20). For multi-colour printing, inks of primary colours are typically applied, e.g. printed, over or next to each other in solid and screen areas. If the transparency of an ink of a primary colour in an indicia layer of a container in accordance with the invention is less than one such threshold value, a support layer underlying said indicia layer will be less easy to see for the user. The transparency of an indicia layer may be varied by varying the density of the ink in the indicia layer or by varying the thickness of the indicia layer - the greater the density of the ink or the thickness of the indicia layer, the lower the transparency of the indicia layer.

In containers in accordance with the invention, at least a portion of an outer surface of the first support layer or the second support layer or both lies in a plane transverse to the underlying blank surface.

In some embodiments said portions of the outer surface of the first support layer and of the second support layer lie in parallel planes forming a same non-null angle with the plane defined by the underlying blank surface.

Preferably, at least a portion of the outer surface of the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to a plane defined by an underlying portion of the outer surface of the first support layer. In other words, said portions of the outer surface of the first support layer and of the second support layer lie in respective planes that are transverse to one another and both transverse to the plane defined by the underlying blank surface.

The outer surface of the laminar blank may or may not be uneven, that is, not entirely flat. In those embodiments wherein the outer surface of the first support layer is uneven, the outer surface of the first support layer is preferably substantially parallel to a plane defined by the underlying blank surface. This is advantageously in that it increases the stability of the first indicia layer, the second support layer and any other layer in the container which the first support layer underlies.

Preferably at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer has a thickness of at least about 5 micrometres. More preferably, at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer has a thickness of at least about 10 micrometres. Even more preferably at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer has a thickness of at least about 15 micrometres. In general, a support layer in a container in accordance with the invention is formed by applying lacquer or varnish over the blank in a multi-pass process, such as by a multi-pass printing process.

Depending on the application technology, a layer thickness achievable with a single pass is at least about 1 micrometre, preferably at least 2 micrometres. In addition, or as an alternative, a layer thickness achievable with a single pass is less than about 5 micrometres. This advantageously allows support layers to be formed with a great precision, which may result in a finer and more polished finish of the surface of the container.

In some embodiments, a level of transparency of the indicia layer varies across the surface of the blank along at least one direction. This may vary from 0% transparency to about 95% transparency.

In some embodiments, a portion of the first support layer is opaque and an outer surface of such portion of the first support layer is white. In addition, at least a portion of the first indicia layer overlying the opaque, white portion of the first support layer comprises no ink or an ink having about 95% transparency. Thus, when observed through the overlying second support layer, the opaque, white portion of the first support layer will be essentially visible as such through the first indicia layer and the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer. This advantageously gives the consumer the impression of white indicia applied over the surface of the container. Accordingly, a number of further novel different visual combinations are provided, whereby containers having a novel and distinctive visual impact can advantageously be manufactured.

Containers according to the invention find particular application as packs for elongate smoking articles such as, for example, cigarettes, cigars or cigarillos. The term "smoking articles" may refer both to articles wherein the tobacco is combusted to produce a smoke as well as articles wherein the tobacco is heated to generate an aerosol.

It will be appreciated that through appropriate choices of the dimensions thereof, containers according to the invention may be designed for different numbers of conventional size, king size, super-king size, slim or super-slim cigarettes. Alternatively, other consumer goods may be housed inside the container. Through an appropriate choice of the dimensions, containers according to the invention may be designed to hold different total numbers of smoking articles, or different arrangements of smoking articles. For example, through an appropriate choice of the dimensions, containers according to the invention may be designed to hold a total of between ten and thirty smoking articles. The smoking articles may be arranged in different collations, depending on the total number of smoking articles.

A container in accordance with the present invention is preferably provided as a parallelepiped hinge lid container comprising two wider walls spaced apart by two narrower walls. Hinge lid containers according to the invention may be in the shape of a rectangular parallelepiped, with right-angled longitudinal and right-angled transverse edges. Alternatively, the hinge lid container may comprise one or more rounded longitudinal edges, rounded transverse edges, bevelled longitudinal edges or bevelled transverse edges, or combinations thereof.

The hinge lid container may be formed from a blank of any suitable material or combination of materials, including, but not limited to, cardboard, paperboard, plastic, metal, or combinations thereof. Preferably, the blank is a laminar cardboard blank having a weight of between about 100 grams per square metre and about 350 grams per square metre.

The hinge-lid container may optionally comprise an outer wrapper, which is preferably a transparent polymeric film of, for example, high or low density polyethylene, polypropylene, oriented polypropylene, polyvinylidene chloride, cellulose film, or combinations thereof and the outer wrapper is applied in a conventional manner. The outer wrapper may include a tear tape. In addition, the outer wrapper may be printed with images, consumer information or other data.

The smoking articles may be grouped in a bundle and wrapped in an inner liner, or package, of metallised paper, metal foil or other flexible sheet material. The resulting packaged bundle of smoking articles is received in the box of the hinge lid container. A sealed condition of the inner package is appreciated by consumers as proof that the goods inside the package are preserved in their original form at least until the first opening of the container.

Containers of the type described above may be formed by folding a laminar blank comprising a substrate; a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish provided on an area of a surface of the substrate, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent; a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent; and at least a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink, wherein the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer, at least a portion of the first indicia layer directly underlying the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer. At least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer lies in a plane transverse to the underlying substrate surface.

Containers in accordance with the present invention may be manufactured by a method according to another aspect of the invention, as defined above. In a first step of the method according to the invention, a blank substrate is provided. In a second step, a first support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish is formed on an area of a surface of the substrate, at least a portion of the first support layer being substantially transparent. In a third step, a first indicia layer comprising a visible ink is applied over at least a portion of the first support layer. In a fourth step, a second support layer comprising a lacquer or varnish at least is formed, which partially overlies the first support layer, at least a portion of the second support layer being substantially transparent, such that the first indicia layer extends at least partly between the first support layer and the second support layer and that at least a portion of the first indicia layer comprising the visible ink directly underlies the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer.

In the second step of forming the first support layer or in the fourth step of forming the second support layer, at least a portion of an outer surface of at least one of the first support layer and the second support layer is formed such that said portion of the outer surface lies in a plane transverse to the underlying blank surface.

The invention will now be further described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic side sectional view of a surface of a container in accordance with the present invention; and

Figure 2 is a side sectional view of a surface of a blank in accordance with the present invention as it is manufactured.

Figure 1 shows a schematic side sectional view of a surface of a container in accordance with the present invention. The container is at least partially formed from a laminar blank 100 and comprises a first support layer 12 comprising a lacquer provided on an area of a surface 14 of the blank 100, at least a portion of the first support layer 12 being substantially transparent. Further, the container comprises a second support layer 16 comprising a lacquer or varnish at least partially overlying the first support layer 12. At least a portion of the second support layer 16 is substantially transparent.

In addition, the container 10 comprises a first indicia layer 18 comprising a visible ink. The first indicia layer 18 extends at least partly between the first support layer 12 and the second support layer 16. At least a portion of the first indicia layer 12 directly underlies the substantially transparent portion of the second support layer 16.

The container 10 further comprises a second indicia layer 20 comprising a visible ink. At least a portion of the second indicia layer 20 extends over both the first support layer 12 and the second support layer 16.

Portions of the outer surfaces of both first the support layer 12 and the second support layer 16 lie in a plane transverse to the underlying surface 14 of the blank 100.

Further, a portion of the outer surface of the second support layer 18 lies in a plane transverse to a plane defined by an underlying portion of the outer surface of the first support layer 12.

The first support layer 12 has a thickness of at least about 10 micrometres, the thickness of the first support layer 12 varying across the underlying surface 14 of the blank 100 along at least one direction. The second support layer 16 has a thickness of at least about 10 micrometres, the thickness of the second support layer 16 varying across the underlying surface 14 of the blank 100 and across the underlying outer surface of the first support layer 12 along at least one direction.

A level of transparency of the first indicia layer 18 varies across the surface of the blank 100 along at least one direction. Similarly, a level of transparency of the second indicia layer 20 varies across the surface of the blank 100 along at least one direction.

This is illustrated in Figure 1 by means of arrows substantially orthogonal to the surface 14 of the blank 100. Where the level of transparency of the second indicia layer 20 is high (see the central portion of Figure 1 ), it is easy for the consumer looking at the surface of the container from above to see the first indicia layer 18 through the second support layer 16. As shown in the left-hand portion of Figure 1 , where the level of transparency of the first indicia layer 18 is high, the surface 14 of the blank 100 is easily visible through the first and second support layers 12 and 16.

Such variations in transparency can impact a perception of depth of the overall graphic formed by the indicia in the various indicia layers, which advantageously gives the container a distinctive visual impact. This may advantageously be accompanied by the distinctive tactile impact associated with the non-even surface defined by support layers the thickness of which varies across the surface of the blank. Figure 2 shows a schematic side sectional view of a surface of a container in accordance with the present invention as it is manufactured. In more detail, Figure 2 shows how a first indicia layer 518 is applied on a first support layer 512 by means of a digital printing head 600 (inkjet) being moved across the outer surface 514 of the blank 500.