Opening Style


Denotative Meanings

The ‘opening style’ refers to how the pack is designed to open. Common designs include the slide pack, which can be opened by sliding the sleeve around the outer side of the carton; the flip-top or roof-top pack, whose lid is hinged to the back of the pack; and the push pack, which is opened from the side by pushing one’s finger through a hole in the opposite side.

Flip-top openings are associated with unique frame cards that are cut to reveal the cigarettes wrapped in the inner foil. On the Canadian market, flip-tops first appeared on brands that typically have a variety of other package design elements that underscore luxury, such as monograms, coats of arms, and rich colours. A pack’s opening style is also strongly related to the pack size and shape.


“With the uptake of printed inner frame cards what we will increasingly see is the pack being viewed as a total opportunity for communications — from printed outer film and tear tape through to the inner frame and inner bundle. Each pack component will provide an integrated function as part of a carefully planned brand or information communications campaign.” 1


Overarching Theme Sub-Theme Connotative Chains
Lifestyle  Luxury / Glamour Flip-top/Roof-top packs –> 10 to 20% more expensive, 2 and used for brands that typically display other ‘luxury’ elements (such as monogramshot foil stampingcoats of arms, and rich colour) –> Expense, prestige


Flip-top openings –> Unique frame cards that reveal the inner foil –>  Aesthetic embellishment –> Luxurydumaurier_lilas

Belmont Edge slide opening –>  Blackberry Slider phone style –> LuxuryBelmont pack and slider1

Lifestyle Other The opening mechanism can connote gender. Consider the push pack, for example. This type of pack opens by expanding on one side when a finger is pushed through a hole in the outer layer of the box on the opposite side.

B&Hpushpack       Players-push-pack1

Connotative chains include the following:

  • Expanding pack –> Technical innovation / Gimmick –> Contemporary, cool
  • Appearance of more cigarettes in the pack –> Value



  1. Mawditt N. Putting pack opportunities into the frame. World Tobacco 2006;(212):36-7. Cited by: Freeman B,Chapman S, Rimmer R. The case for the plain packaging of tobacco products. eScholarship Repository, University of California. Available at: Accessed September 15, 2011.
  2. Steeman A. Horrendous graphics softened by high-technology printing. Available at: Accessed July 21, 2011.