One of the world's biggest can companies wants to help make cans even cooler looking.
Day Glow Cans
Credit: Courtesy of Ball

Stunning can art has taken over the craft beer world — making many brews as appealing on the packaging as they are poured into a glass, and even getting some love at London's famous Tate Modern museum. But just as breweries have pushed the idea of what beer and can art should be, Ball Corporation — one of the world's largest can producers — recently unveiled some its latest innovations that could make cans look even cooler than they are now.

At Germany's BrauBeviale 2018 beverage industry expo, FoodBev Media caught up with Marianne Freund, Ball's marketing manager, who spilled the beans on the kinds of small but significant changes we may see more of on cans coming soon. "We always try to go the extra mile for our customers, and we have a number of innovations which we are really excited about," Freund told the site.

One of the big things Ball will be adding next year is top-of-the-can printing. Though it might sound like a small detail, Freund points out that it can have a big impact. The new feature can "make a product stand out when the consumer is keeping beverages in the fridge, for example — even when stacking them with the top facing out of the fridge, you can read the message or brand from the offset," she explained.

On the technology side, Ball said they have a new way to make an entire can scannable for consumers without affecting the actual artwork. "[We] offer an alternative to a QR code, which comes in the form of a watermark beneath the can design, which we call our enhanced can," Freund was quoted as saying. "With your smartphone, you can then very easily scan the can anywhere on its surface. In a split second, you are then directed to where the brand wants the user to be."

Finally, Freund pointed to two seemingly small tweaks that can have a big impact on can artwork. The first is Ball's new "Day Glo" technology which helps colors pop in the dark; the second is called "Spot Matte" which allows for multiple textures on a can's label. "Day Glo is a series of ink colors that are extra bright to highlight part of your designs both during the day and at night," a feature that could be especially important in places like dark bars, Freund stated. Meanwhile, Spot Matte allows for "a can that can carry contrast… Within this design, we have glossy inks and matte inks."

A Ball spokesperson told us that the top-of-the-can printing is a technology currently being developed in the U.S. Meanwhile, the other three advances are all slated to be introduced in Europe first, with potential U.S. availability depending on "on whether we see demand from US customers or not."

Admittedly, these features will likely only be seen in a limited capacity in the near future regardless. Plenty of breweries even use very low-tech art solutions like slapping sticker labels on the aluminum. Still, it's interesting to know that, even before the can artwork is being designed, someone is working to make the artwork that much more exciting.