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For those who aren’t familiar with the terminology of the packaging industry, things can seem pretty confusing. While every package is unique in some ways, most of them can be classified in a limited number of categories. Three of the most common package types are blister, skin, and clamshell. In this article, we will focus on these three types and explain them in detail. By the time we are done, you should have no problem telling one from another.

What Is Blister Packaging?

Blister packages are extremely handy, even though their name might remind you of a disgusting skin condition. They get their name from the most distinctive aspect of their design. In these packages, the product is normally enclosed in a “blister,” which is basically just a plastic bubble. This bubble is often attached to a piece of cardboard (most toys, for example, use this kind of packaging). In other cases, the blister is covered with a foil covering, which can be peeled away. That type of thing is especially common in pharmaceutical packaging.

There are several distinct advantages to this package type. First of all, the process of making blister packages is pretty cheap and easy. The plastic is heated and formed into a thin bubble before being glued to its backing material. No part of the process is complex or expensive. Another great thing is the fact that blister packs are more resistant to tampering. When someone opens a blister pack, they are breaking an airtight seal, and that will be obvious to anyone who inspects the package afterward.

As for downsides, blister packs are not the most durable things in the world. Their plastic bubbles tend to be quite thin and easily broken. Thus, you will have to take a little bit more care when shipping these in mass quantities. They aren’t that resistant to impact, and it’s pretty much impossible to repair a dented bubble without opening the package.

What Is Skin Packaging?

A skin pack is similar to a blister pack in some ways, but it doesn’t make use of a heat-formed bubble. Instead, it uses two sheets of plastic film. The product is sandwiched between these two pieces of plastic, and heat is applied to seal the outside edges. Like blister packs, these packages will often include a card of some sort. However, skin packaging usually encloses the card instead of being glued in place.

Skin packaging is often used for meat products, where it provides an ideally transparent solution. The transparent film allows you to see all parts of the meat so that you can be sure it is fresh. An enclosed card will normally contain nutritional information, price, and anything else the manufacturer wishes to include. This kind of packaging is also very resistant to impact, as there is no worry about creating dents.

Of course, these packages are very vulnerable to puncturing and tearing. The plastic tends to be pretty thin, so it doesn’t take much to cut or pierce that bubble. Once a package like this is breached, it is completely ruined. Because this kind of packaging is so common for food products, extra care in the shipping process is definitely needed. We would recommend putting a layer of foam at the top of the box. This will protect the product from any blades that might be used to open the box.

What Is Clamshell Packaging?

Clamshell packages are sometimes considered to be the same thing as blister packs, but we feel this to be in error. While both are made from heat-formed plastic, they are quite different in their structure and function. A clamshell, as the name implies, is a one-piece container with a hinge. This hinge allows it to open and close in a manner similar to an oyster or a mollusk. In many cases, the edges of the clamshell are made to fit snugly together. These packages might also be held together with staples or glue.

These packages offer great security. As long as both halves of the clamshell are joined together firmly, it is very hard for a thief to open the package. Shoplifters and other thieves will be forced to cut the package open. That takes more time and increases their chances of being caught. Clamshells also have the advantage of being reusable. They are most often made of thick plastic, and they will usually snap together easily. For instance, the small folding containers that are often used for nails would be a good example of a reusable clamshell package.

As for the negatives, there are one or two. First, clamshell packs tend to be a little more expensive. There is just more plastic involved in the process, and it will need to be a little thicker than most. Also, there is no denying that these packages are harder to open. Sometimes, they can be so hard to open that they present a real difficulty for customers to open.


Like we said, this whole thing is pretty simple. You have undoubtedly seen these types of packages many times throughout your life. Now that you understand the fundamental principles of each one, we have no doubt that you will be able to recognize them in the future. If we have done a good job of educating you in this matter, we ask that you show your appreciation by filling out the contact form below.