The Sonoco Institute

The Sonoco Institute was created to exploit the synergies that exist between the graphic communications and packaging science departments. It is the only university program in the country with this one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary approach to packaging as a core competency.

Microflex Print Samples

The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics jointly with Forward Optics recently produced the first ever "MicroFlex™" labels; with eye-catching depth, dimension, and motion effects.  The MicroFlex™ substrate is a multi-layered polypropylene label stock material developed by Forward Optics specifically for the brand authentication, security, and other high end label applications.  MicroFlex™ labels can instill consumer confidence that the branded product is authentic and adds enhanced shelf-appeal.  This unique substrate contains a micro-optical lens array on the surface magnifying graphic elements imbedded in the second surface printing. Unlike traditional lenticular material which is too stiff for most labeling applications, MicroFlex™ is a patent pending blend of a biaxial oriented polypropylene base layer (for press stability) and cast polypropylene (for flexibility). 
To maximize the quality of the 3D effects on the MicroFlex™ labels, the Sonoco Institute utilized an Esko CDI Spark 4835 plate imager to output high resolution MacDermid photopolymer plates, UV inks from Environmental Inks, and Harper anilox rolls, to print on their OMET Varyflex 530 to maximize the quality of the 3D effects possible on the MicroFlex™ material. Printing micro-imagery magnified by the lens array required precise color-to-color registration and as the lenses can magnify the printing by thousands of times, controlling dot gain was critical. The Sonoco Institute and Forward Optics also used MicroFlex™ as a teaching tool for senior Graphic Communications students. The students designed various graphics effects to produce labels with the famous orange tiger paws appearing to walk across iconic Tillman Hall and a tiger paw pattern that appears to float behind the label, creating an eye-catching depth effect. 
For more information on The Sonoco Institute's work in advancing technologies in packaging and graphic communications, contact Robert Congdon at  For more information on Forward Optics, Inc. and MicroFlex™ contact, or visit

MicroFlex off Omet.JPG