Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at

Custom Packaging Printing: Blister Packs and Clamshell Packaging

I learned a new phrase yesterday: “clamshell packaging.” So I did some research, and I checked out the online photos. I saw a vast expanse of commercial printing opportunities within the arena of packaging, including medical supplies like gauze pads in blister packs with printed peel-off lids, and pharmaceutical samples in fold-over blister packs that allow you to push a pill out of the packaging through the printed foil cover. I saw hardware supplies (screws, for instance) in plastic clamshell packages with fold-over lids. I even saw hamburgers in printed cardboard or cellulose clamshell packages.

And everything had some sort of custom printing on it.

Some Key Words, Phrases, and Concepts You Should Know

Blister Pack

A “blister pack,” also known as a “push-through pack,” has a perforated foil base attached to a matrix of plastic domes (thermoformed or injection molded polystyrene, polyester, or PVC). These usually encase pills or capsules and protect them from moisture and tampering. This is what you get when your doctor gives you prescription samples. On the bottom of the aluminum foil you will usually see custom printing related to the enclosed pharmaceutical. Of course, the carton also needs to be printed.

Blister packs come in a variety of options. Among these are the “fold-over blister,” which has a number of panels and folds up like a little wallet to protect the pills in the plastic bubbles. “Face-seal blister packs” include the cards you find at the grocery store containing razors, cosmetics, or small toys under plastic bubbles that have been heat welded to the cardboard cards. Again, the cards need to be printed. “Trapped blister packaging” refers to plastic bubbles that extend out beyond both the front and back of the cardboard card. The enclosed “product” seems to float.

Clamshell Containers

These can be one-piece plastic containers (thermoformed or injection molded polystyrene, polyester, or PVC), or they can be containers made of paper board. Either way, each is a single piece of material containing a base well, a hinge, and a cover.

Clamshell containers are not only used for food (styrofoam containers at hot-food bars in grocery stores, and cardboard clamshell boxes for McDonalds’ Chicken Classic sandwiches). More and more often, they are being used for small electronic devices. The inaccessibility of the packaging deters theft. In fact, the design works so well that 6,000 Americans visit the emergency room each year with self-inflicted injuries received while trying to open clamshell packaging. They have even coined a term for the ensuing anger: “wrap rage.”

Thermoforming vs. Injection Molding

The plastic part of the blister packs and clamshell packs has to be made into a bubble to cover the enclosed products. Either the transparent plastic can be heated until it is pliable and then formed into a specific shape over a mold, or molten plastic can be injected into a mold cavity, where it will cool and harden into the final shape.

Custom Printing Blister Packs and Clamshell Packs

Look closely at the blister packs and clamshell containers in the stores you frequent. You may have missed them before. After all, you’ve probably been focusing on the product rather than the packaging. You’ll notice the printed cards in the blister packs and the printed foils covering the pharmaceuticals.

According to the commercial printing vendors I have researched, these printed packages are produced via gravure printing or flexography in 4-color process inks and/or spot colors, often with a varnish.

On some of the clamshell packs you might even see crack-n-peel labels that have been printed via offset, gravure, or flexography. These can be wrapped around the clamshell packs to identify the product while holding the packaging together.

If you look closely, you might also see printing on the foils included in the blister packs of drug samples. This foil is printed in web reels, and then slit down into the final size and labeled with batch numbers.

Issues Regarding Custom Printing Inks and Food

According to the Food and Drug Administration, any inks or coatings that may come into contact with food must be separated by a “functional barrier” that keeps the printed surface away from the food product. One option would be an overprint varnish made from FDA-compliant materials and applied (with FDA-approved operations) as a uniform coating with no pinholes.

Why You Should Care

As long as blister packs and clamshell packaging encase everything from microcassette recorders to food to drugs, no print designer need fear obsolescence.

Comments are closed.


Recent Posts


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!

Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 394, Bluffton, SC 29910
©2019 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved