You might not know what a blister pack is, but you have seen them everywhere. Blister packs are just a certain type of package in which many products are sold. They consist of several different types of packaging, but all of them share one key thing in common. All blister packs work by enclosing the product in a plastic “bubble.” This bubble is also called a “blister,” and it may or may not be attached to a piece of thin cardboard. If you are the kind of person who needs to know about the various kinds of packaging, this article is for you. We will go over all the information that we can find regarding this matter.
Why Do They Call It A “Blister Pack?”
At this point, you might be wondering why anyone would name a package after a blister. Blisters are certainly not pleasant by any standard, so it doesn’t seem like a good choice. However, the name of this package type is a lot more appropriate than you might think.
There are several things that can cause blisters, and one of them is heat. If you look at the symptoms that come from burn wounds, you can see that blistering is one of the symptoms that identify a second-degree burn. When you heat plastic, it tends to do the same thing: It bubbles. By controlling this process, package makers can make a transparent blister of any size or shape. This process is called thermoforming.
Advantages Of Blister Packs
There are several reasons for the popularity of the blister pack. First, it provides excellent protection against moisture and product tampering. Because each item is encased in plastic, the chances of water damage are slim to none. If we are talking about one of those blister packs with a card on the back, that’s a little bit different. The water can still damage the cardboard, and could even possibly soak through and damage the item itself. Blister packs that are sold without a card should be virtually waterproof.
Blister packs are especially popular in the pharmaceutical business. Because their products are meant to be taken internally, people are a lot more concerned about product tampering. This concern is well-founded, as there have been numerous instances in which medications have been poisoned by unknown parties.
For instance, we might look at the “Chicago Tylenol murders.” In the early 1980s, someone started lacing Tylenol with potassium cyanide. Potassium cyanide is one of the deadliest poisons known to man, so you can probably guess what happened. Seven people died, all of them from Chicago and all of them within a short time. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that this was the result of product tampering. Because of these murders, tampering with medication is now a federal crime.
With a blister pack, each pill or dose is hermetically sealed so that you can be sure no one has tampered with its contents. Even if someone tried to use a hypodermic needle to inject poison into a blister pack, you would be able to tell. The blister pack would have a hole, even though it might be a very small one. That will be enough to deflate the blister and present a red flag to the user. As a rule, you should never take a dose of medicine from a blister that has been damaged or punctured.
Apart from the safety considerations, blister packs are also pretty cheap and efficient. They allow package makers to use only the amount of plastic that is required, cutting down costs to a reasonable minimum. The thin cardboard that usually makes up the card of a blister pack is also quite cheap, so blister packs offer a low-cost solution across the board.
Some products are vulnerable to UV degradation. UV rays, or ultraviolet rays, are low-level radiation that comes from the sun. Although this is very weak radiation, it is still enough to cause problems for some people and products. UV rays are the cause of sunburn, and can also cause a phenomenon known as photoaging. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with photography! Photoaging is a condition in which UV rays cause the skin to age prematurely, becoming thinner and weaker as a result.
Rubber, neoprene, and even PVC are all quite vulnerable to UV degradation. Blister packs can easily be made opaque (no light passes through) to protect against this risk. Of course, this does remove the ability of the customer to see the item clearly, but there’s no way to avoid that.
Blister packs are also great for products that are vulnerable to spoilage. With each one contained in an airtight package, oxygen and other substances will not be able to interact with the material. This is good because most spoilage occurs due to oxidation, microbes, or a combination of the two. A blister pack should prevent both of these issues.
Drawbacks Of Blister Packs
Although blister packs have a lot of upsides, there are a few downsides to consider. First of all, these packages are generally more vulnerable to theft. Blister packs are meant to be convenient and easy, but this same quality is a downside when it comes to theft prevention. It’s just too easy for a thief to tear the plastic blister away from its backing and pocket the item.
To be fair, there are some blister packs that aren’t so weak. If you are willing to pay a little bit more, you can get a blister pack that will require a blade for clandestine opening. You can also get packages that are equipped with anti-theft trackers. That requires a thief to do more, and that means more time in which they might be caught. If a store employee sees someone cutting open packages, it’s a pretty big red flag that will (hopefully) result in the apprehension of the thief.
As we already mentioned, there are a number of different ways to make a blister pack. As an example of a blister pack design that isn’t so good, we will look at a type of package called “Ecoslide-RX.” This is a special blister pack that is intended to help combat the opioid crisis. Each blister is labeled with a day of the week, which is supposed to aid “dosage compliance.” In other words, it’s supposed to keep people from abusing prescription drugs.
So, why is this a silly idea? Because it’s not effective! Drug addicts are not going to be deterred by words on a package, so we think it’s kind of ridiculous that this idea was even proposed. The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t waste time on designs that are well-meaning but foolish.
The final downside that we can find is the fact that blister packs cannot be re-used. You cannot open the package without damaging it, so there is really no room for re-use. A very basic blister pack might be re-glued to its card if everything is still intact, but you would only get one additional use. In other words: it would be more trouble than it’s worth.
Types Of Blister Packs
Let’s take a look at several variations of the blister pack so that you can get a better idea of the options that are out there.
- Face Seal Blister Package: This is the basic version of the blister pack that we have all seen. A single blister (or perhaps a few of them) are heat-sealed to the front of their backing material. This kind of package will usually be attached to cardboard.
- Trap Blister Package: This is very similar to a face seal package, except that the blister is more firmly anchored. The blister is sandwiched and trapped between two layers of material. Usually, two pieces of cardboard will be used so that the border of the blister can be bound between them. Sometimes, trap blister packages will have one card that has been folded over to hold the blister in place. These packages are most often used for items that are small but heavy, like batteries or steel machine parts.
- 2-Piece Blister Package: This package is more often called a “clamshell.” As the name implies, it consists of a single piece with two sides and a hinge in the middle. The two sides close together and enclose the product completely. There is usually a small card inside the package that tells the consumer what it is and what it does. These packages are much harder for thieves to defeat because they have to be cut.
- Hybrid blister and clamshell package: Some package makers choose to combine the clamshell with the standard blister pack. To do this, they start with a clamshell package and add a flange around the outside. This allows it to be glued to a card. These packages cost a little more money, but they offer excellent viewing from both sides and excellent security
What Should Be Included On A Blister Package
Regardless of which type of blister pack you choose, there are certain things that should be included on the package or its attached card. For one thing, there should always be a hang hole. Many retailers require this kind of hole so that the item can be stocked and displayed more easily.
Many blister packs will also incorporate a flattened base so that the product can stand alone. A base like this is usually called a “foot,” and it can be a very handy thing to include. A foot will make it easier for associated retailers to feature your product in their displays, catalogs, and other promo material.
If your design uses a card (as most blister packs do), you will need to think about the potential size of that card. If you make it too big, it will add to your production costs without any real need or reason. If you make it too small, you won’t be able to fit all the graphics and information that you would like the customer to see.
Having mentioned graphics and art, let’s discuss those things in more detail. Your package should definitely include some of those. The eye is naturally drawn to things that are bright and colorful, so you definitely want to take some extra time and effort for this part. A plain package without pictures of embellishments might be good enough for some products, but anything in a blister pack should be decorated as much as possible.
You should also think about the lettering that will be used. Mainly, you want to avoid swirly, stylized letters that are hard to read. You should also avoid fonts in which the letters are “bunched” together very tightly. Fonts like this will take a little more effort to understand, especially for those who may not be particularly strong readers. You want your font to be as large as possible, and you want it to be as legible as possible, while still leaving room for all the pretty graphics that will complete the display.
What Are Blister Packs Made Of?
In most cases, blister packs are made from more than one material. You already know that these things are made from plastic, and the most common plastic for this purpose is polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC. PVC is very easy to shape compared to other plastic, making it ideal for the heat-shaping process that creates the blister itself. As for backing materials, most companies will use thin cardboard or aluminum foil. In the case of clamshell packages, the whole thing is just PVC, a little glue, and a printed card.
The blister pack might just be the most versatile package type of them all. They are most commonly associated with pharmaceuticals, but there is no limit to the ways in which they can be utilized. We hope that this article has answered every question that you have ever had on this subject. Proper packaging is one of the most important aspects of all marketing, so it’s worth learning. We also hope that you will fill out the contact form so that we can continue to provide you with helpful information.