Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Ticket Box packaging pay-off

Packaging Pay-Off: Give Your Package Personality

Looking for a big packaging pay-off didn’t make sense a decade ago. Or even a few years ago. When I was younger, I remember going to certain stores and keeping the bags in which I carried my merchandise. The pink stripes of Victoria’s Secret, black and white starkness of Express,  iconic-ly-sized little or big Bloomingdale’s bags, they were all status symbols of a sort. Lululemon is one brand that still utilizes this strategy effectively with their reusable and washable bags. For many retailers, it was about the in-shop experience.  The online experience was secondary, and the online packaging experience? Hardly worth mentioning. Brown cardboard…maybe white. Sometimes.

Nowadays, that experience has shifted online.  It’s easier to shop online than it is to battle crowds and parking, and with same day delivery becoming more common (thanks, Amazon), the days of swinging multiple colored bags on my arm is nearly just a memory. It’s been replaced by that brown cardboard sitting in my porch. But lately, I’ve noticed a shift in packaging.

It first happened when I signed up for Stitch Fix, over a year ago. My first Fix arrived in a brown box…but with a pretty teal stenciled design, and custom tape holding it together. The design of the package was such a natural offshoot of how the company operated, and it made every aspect of opening the package (and repeat packages) an experience instead of a chore. Pretty soon, I noticed other packages were becoming more attractive as well.  Amazon sent out my Subscribe & Save in yellow minion boxes.  Even USPS rebranded recently, with a dynamic revamp of their classic boxes.

Retailers and the Packaging Pay-Off

Even USPS is looking for a packaging pay-off
Image from GrandArmy

Retailers are paying attention to dwindling store sales and increased Internet sales.  While it hasn’t heralded the end of bag design as we know it, it has brought a much-needed revolution to the packaging of their shipped products. “Every box tells a story,” one unnamed source claims, and retailers are stepping up their design game. Goodbye, boring cardboard, hello color/gloss/stenciling/and more innovation.

Even better, there’s a community online focusing simply on reviewing and evaluating the different boxes they come across (because of course there is; check out our past posts, archives, and other sites for more on this phenomenon. Or search #unboxing on Instagram). E-retail is to thank for this industry shift: the attempt to create a home shopping experience.

How Packaging Builds a Brand

You don’t need to ship things to design a box definitive of your brand.  Creating a packaging pay-off doesn’t have to be overly expensive, but it’s best entrusted to the experts. Minnesota-based Sunrise Packaging can provide design expertise, material selection, and production. It’s like a one-stop branding shop for boxes. Ask a representative today for more information regarding the types of boxes we provide, and how they can meet your needs.

Tips to recycle boxes (photo credit http://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/17-creative-ways-to-reuse-cardboard-boxes-47420)

7 Ideas to Upcycle or Recycle Boxes

My husband has as a thing for saving boxes. Watches, electronics, cologne, basically any gifts that come in a box. He’s got quite a stack going in his part of the closet. And it’s starting to spill into my part of the closet, which means we have a problem. I don’t like to approach situations with an ultimatum (i.e. throw away the boxes), so I started researching ways to upcycle or recycle boxes. The internet definitely delivered in the form of America’s favorite handyman, Bob Villa.

What I love about these ideas is that they bring a tinge of craftiness, but are not crazy-technical (so no power tools needed…in most cases):

Ideas to Recycle Boxes

Tips to recycle boxes
From thecrazycraftlady.com
  1. Make trays
    Grab the inserts from sleeve boxes and doctor them up with some cloth, paint, whatever your preferred artistic medium. These are perfect for mail storage, jewelry, anything that needs a home.
  2. Break them up into postcards
    This idea works best with something made from paperboard, so it’s write-able, durable, and not too heavy to mail. Just cut out a post card-shaped rectangle, address and send, no envelope needed.
  3. Turn them into planters
    I love this idea for some of his old watch boxes! Line the inside with plastic and place some plants–I’m thinking succulents–inside. Why succulents? Most other plants that do well in smaller areas, like herbs, tend to also need drainage to avoid the roots getting too wet. Succulents love sand. Dry, dry sand.

    Tips to recycle boxes
    From http://www.burlapanddenim.com/
  4. Create storage bins
    Grab a box, embellish as desired, and use an old belt as a handle. For reinforcement, pick up simple screw bolts. I don’t have any boxes quite large enough for this, but I like the double-upcycle. If you’re wanting to recycle boxes, why stop there?
  5. Coasters
    Chop up a couple of those thick, sturdy cologne boxes and make a new set of coasters that look nice, wear well, can be conversation pieces, and won’t put you out any money if you leave them on the patio table overnight.  If you’re really crafty, add some design with designer duct or washi tape.
  6. Gift tags
    Some might call it re-gifting (if the original box was a gift), but who cares?  Cut up the box into different shapes, grab a hole punch and voila.

    Tips to recycle boxes
    From http://cdn.skim.gs/
  7. Create photo frames or matting for frames
    This one is slightly more technical than the other suggestions. You’ll need to use a saw (or crazy sharp scissors) since this works best with thicker, more rigid boxes, and work with material or paint for the finishing. Or, skip the cutting and just cover the boxes with material for simple wall art (think canvas).

How do you recycle boxes?

Upcycling is a great way to use products which would otherwise just end up in a landfill. Choosing to recycle boxes takes a little bit of effort, but the end product is something of which you can be proud.

What tips do you have to recycle boxes?

 

Teknor medical device, healthcare, pharmaceutical packaging

Pharmaceutical Packaging Trend Predictions

Global regulation for industries like pharmaceuticals (and by extension, pharmaceutical packaging) mean that trends tend to be on a global scale. The VisionGain report discusses trends to expect over the next decade. The global forecasts focus on materials, products, and delivery systems.

Pharmaceutical Packaging Trend Predictions

The US, Japan, Europe, and China will drive the growth of the market. 
The market for pharmaceuticals is expected to expand dramatically in coming years. From a localized perspective, this is partially due to the aging baby boomer population, and a growing world population as a whole. More people = more medicine. This is also driving innovation in generic drugs, particularly as patents expire. Either way it’s good news for the medical packaging industry…they all need packages!

We’ll see an increased demand for blister packaging. 
Blister packaging is a type of preformed plastic–usually thermoformed–where a product is held in a *blister* and paper can be ripped away to access it. It’s usually used for pills to control dosage. They also prolong shelf life, and are fairly tamper-resistant. Blister packaging is also (relatively) easier to open compared to child-proof pill bottles. Check out our post for more on accessibility, which seems to be informing the future of design in a big way.

Big investments in packaging R&D.
Research and development are commonly associated with pharma products but less so with pharma packaging. As noted above, there’s a need for accessible packaging. With the market opening up globally, allowing consumers more choices, packaging design is a factor. Over the next decade, expect to see more sophisticated packages, innovative application, and growth in anti-counterfeiting.

VisionGain Report on Pharmaceutical Packaging

VisionGain’s report focuses on integrating expert opinions to arrive at these recommendations and predictions. The questions they aim to answer include:

  • How is the pharmaceutical packaging market evolving?
  • What is driving and restraining the pharmaceutical packaging market?
  • Which trends and developments will prevail and how will these shifts be responded to?
  • How will political and regulatory factors influence the regional markets and submarkets?

And more to help producers plan and strategize appropriately.

Sunrise Packaging and Medical Packaging

Sunrise Packaging in Minnesota (also home to Medtronic and Boston Scientific) is one of the premier producers of healthcare packaging. By supplying upscale solutions, clients can be confident that their products are safe, secure and sterile. Learn more from our sales team today!

Custom beer boxes are the perfect compliment for home brews

Custom Beer Boxes for the (Home) Brewer

The appeal of home brewing might be lost on some people. I can’t lie, when my husband broached the subject with me, I wasn’t the most supportive wife. I thought of the space it would take up, the smells, the equipment, what to do with yeast…you know, all the yucky parts of making beer. However, we’ve found a compromise: brewing through a brewery. If you’re local, Vine Park Brewing in St. Paul, Minnesota is a great spot. Basically, they’ll take care of all the time-consuming parts and you just have to stop in, brew, and come back to bottle in two weeks. While we’re excited to share our home brews with friends and family, it’s even better to personalize it with custom beer boxes and custom beer labels.

Naming Your Homebrew

We’ve been a part of a few different groups for home brewing. For the first, we wanted to bring the beer to a family reunion. So we created a name based on our last name, and printed stickers of the family crest to stick on the bottles. Other times, we’ve been with coworkers and friends, and chose names based on inside jokes with either group. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to a classic name that incorporates the type of beer (i.e. IPA, Summer Ale, things like that). But it’s your beer. Have fun with it.

One of my favorites was a group of coworkers who worked with someone who had apparently never heard the term ‘scapegoat’ and thought they were saying ‘space goats.’ The label created for ‘Space Goat Beer’ was appropriately hilarious…and, in my research for this post, I came across a literal Space Goats Twitter account which is also hilarious!

Designing Custom Beer Boxes

The most important part of designing custom beer boxes is ensuring the safety of the product. For this reason, exploring custom inserts is pretty key–or at least think of how you plan to secure the product. Transportation is also a factor. Will handles be enough, or thumbholes, for carrying your homebrew? Finally, think of the overall presentation you want for the product. Is it a gift? A custom front open box creates a great effect, plus the bottles can stand up. I’m also partial to the gate fold box. For our wedding, my husband and his groomsmen created a beer at Vine Park. He then had a custom gate fold box designed to hold a bottle of the beer alongside a classic German stein.

There are ton of options that would work for designing custom beer boxes. Like naming your homebrew, the first step is determining the effect you want to have, and then working with our sales crew to nail down the details.

Home Brewing for the Non-Brewer

The best part of home brewing isn’t the cost benefit analysis (although it is way cheaper than purchasing beer from a store) or the great excuse to hang out with friends or family. It’s getting to share something of your creation, and then building upon it with an inside joke or personalizing it in some way. It’s true what they say: giving is better than getting. Next time you’re thinking of an out-of-the-box gift, consider custom beer and custom beer boxes.

Mortgage lending screen printed front open magnet box is like a baby box for new homeowners

The Baby Box for New Homeowners

Minnesota's housing market is booming this summer. At a ten-year high, the competition for home buying is fierce with three times fewer homes available than there were in 2006. Great news for sellers, complicated news for buyers. Many people are wary of the mortgage process, and might have trouble qualifying. That feeds into a fear that, despite having a house sold, finding a new place to live is no easy task. We've learned our lesson from the bubble 10 years ago (well, continuing to learn it), and the mortgage process is a little more strict nowadays. But what can lenders to do help ensure that buyers continue to make wise decisions? Let's look to the Baby Box for inspiration. Baby Boxes have long been used in other nations to help new parents out, making sure that every family has the basic essentials to take care of an infant.  What's needed for a home and finances?

Front open magnet box is like a baby box for new homeowners

What's In a Baby Box

Baby Boxes have been used for several decades in countries, like Finland, to help curb infant deaths and create a more informed society. A few weeks before a mother is due to give birth, she's given a box filled with information about babies and some basic necessities. The box might include onesies, a baby thermometer and toothbrush, blankets and sheets. Most handy of all, the box itself becomes a bed for the baby in the first stage of life. 

The idea has caught on around the world.  Helping new parents become more informed leads to less stress and better decision-making for all involved. The same principle can apply to new homeowners. Buying a home is rarely a cheap endeavor, and moving is a stressful situation.  Creating a box, similar to the ones pictured here in black with screen printing, can contain not only information for mortgage clients, but also act as a keepsake and storage that reinforces your organization as helpful and trustworthy. So, when it's time to buy again or refinance, they'll be in touch. 

Front open magnet box is like a baby box for new home owners

Taking Ideas From the Baby Box for the New Homeowner Box

So what types of resources could be shared with new homeowners? Consider the needs of a new homeowner. They want to make this home their own, so their baby box = mortgage box could include coupons for paint or local handyman services, as well as landscaping or cleaning.  Include tips for those who are more interested in adding *sweat equity* as well. Ideas related to finance could be compiled into a checklist or on a flashdrive. First time homebuyers probably haven't had to deal with the costs of repairing a broken furnace or replacing a dishwasher, for example, so recommendations for those types of issues could be helpful. 

First-time homebuyers in 2016 are definitely  more prepared than they were in 2006. But, like with any major life change, there's a period of adjustment and a series of "firsts" to weather in the midst of all the excitement.  Help your clients weather the potential storms of home ownership with a baby box designed for mortgage clients. 

promotional custom sales kit cigar box

Building the Perfect Custom Sales Kit

We return to the sales kit topic frequently. Most recently, we shared with you six things that every sales kit should include, but we didn't talk very much about design of a custom sales kit.  This doesn't mean that time invested in the materials and products in your kit should be redirected into your kit design (that's our job).  But the box style and finishing options should enhance the content, not detract from it. Or worse, convey the opposite of the message you mean to convey.

As one of Minnesota's premier packaging experts, we've learned a thing or two over the years about what entices and what sells. Here are some of our suggestions for a custom sales kit that can showcases without overshadowing.

Custom Sales Kit Recommendations

Pick Your Style: We Recommend the Cigar Box

The cigar style box is ideal for your custom sales kit for many reasons.  Cigar boxes are perennially popular, making them familiar and a little nostalgic, striking emotional resonance for users.  Building off a classic style, the way that a cigar box opens up is a presentation in itself. The hinged lid works like a magician's reveal, turning the inside of the box into a stage for your content and products.

Cigar boxes also allow for a high level of finishing and customization, as you'll see below.

Pick Your Insert: Thermoformed, Diecut Foam, Or....

This will depend on what is going in the sales kit. Are the items breakable or fragile? A diecut foam insert ensures that products are safe and secure. Will it contain inserts, electronics, or other inclusives? Thermoformed trays are great for organization and precise fits. Either option comes in a variety of colors (and the trays have several material options).

After deciding what to include in your custom sales kit, talk with a representative to figure out which option will work best.

Vape cigar box and custom launch kit
Foam custom sales kit insert

Pick the Experience: The Box as Sales Surface

We mentioned above that the primary focus is on the contents of the box, but it's worthwhile to think of the box as another surface for sales content. Are there instructions or a suggested order for the custom sales kit? Adding those under the lid, so they are visible only when opened, adds an insider sort of feel to the box as a whole. Or, for something encompassing and less literal, consider it as as backdrop. Urban Decay's magnetic makeup palettes are great examples of this. 

Pick the Finishing Touches: What Sets this Custom Sales Kit Apart

It's the little details that truly convey luxury. Sunrise Boxes has a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to custom cigar style boxes. The style lends itself to magnetic closure. Chipboard as a material is easily screenprinted with vibrant colors. For a more striking presentation, custom foil-stamping, embossing, debossing, and more are possible. All of which are easily done on the cigar box. 

So tell us: what do you look for in a custom sales kit?

 

Sleeve box for Parametrix

Why the Sleeve Box is the Answer

Working in this industry, you start to notice packaging in different ways. It's not only about the design or quality, but the interaction that a box can invite. Growing up, I was a big reader. Literally. Barnes & Noble was my favorite store. As a kid, I especially loved the Barnes & Noble collections, with their Franklin Library-esque look and fancy covers. My favorites, though, were the ones that came in sleeve boxes. A sleeve box upped the value for me because it added extra protection to the book (even as an adult, I can't stand notched corners) and it felt just a little extra special. 

Upright sleeve box

What Goes Into a Sleeve Box

A sleeve box is, essentially, a new take on a match box.  It's made of an outer sleeve and an inner tray (or some kind of product) that slides out. The possibilities are pretty much endless for what the inner tray can hold, but the value isn't compromised by the packaging. 

Empty sleeve box

Sunrise recommends an outer sleeve of SBS paperboard, ensuring that the inner product can glide in and out. In addition to being lightweight and foldable, paperboard is awesome for printing.  It's like a piece of paper: a blank slate for vibrant colors and bold designs.

However, if you're looking for something a little more rigid to add a more structural feel, add a chipboard covering. Rigid chipboard covering also allows for even more customization, like embossing, debossing, and other high-end finishing

Either way, a customized sleeve box is the easiest way to take a boxed product from blah to brilliant.

What Goes *In* a Sleeve Box

Like we said, pretty much anything can you think of.  My childhood associates them with Barnes & Noble books; it's a style of presentation packaging that lends itself well to products already in boxes or rigid format. But, as display boxes, a sleeve box is the preferred choice for items like e-cigarettes or vape products because the nested inner box can use foam or other materials for safety. 

Stacked sleeve box

And, not to switch gears, but sleeve boxes are ideal for food products as well, like chocolates or other items where keeping them in place and unbroken is important. With a sleeve box, the custom printing options ensure that the user always knows which way is up.  

Best of all, sleeves are a quick and cost efficient way to bundle independent products into a package. If your organization has a series of discs, books, anything, compiling them into a single sleeve creates a great  sales kit or employee onboarding kit.  Talk to a sales rep today to bump up your presentation style with sleeves!

Karten magnetic medical packaging

Magnetic Medical Packaging & Accessibility

We’ve said it before: magnets make everything cooler. But even better, magnets make things more accessible, and that’s why we’re pushing magnetic medical packaging.

Accessibility has many broad implications, but the definition is fairly simple:

…refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities. The concept of accessible design and practice of accessible development ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers).

“Wrap Rage”

It’s all about enabling people to live their best life, and this takes more forms than you might expect. For someone with ALS or Parkinson’s, buttoning a shirt might be an impossible task. For someone with advancing arthritis, child-proof Advil bottles might as well be glued closed.

Medical packaging faces unique challenges. Safety requirements often conflict with accessibility. When dexterity and strength are required, not to mention cognitive, visual and physical abilities, the population that can access the products declines. There’s even a term for the frustration that results from inability to open a package: “Wrap Rage.” (This is a real thing, with four out of ten people claiming that they’ve been injured trying to open a package).

Magnetic Medical Packaging as a Solution

Magnets are becoming more common as an accessibility solution. Clothing is a notable example. As mentioned above, buttoning clothing can be a challenge. By placing magnets behind buttons on shirts, for example, those with limited dexterity can dress and undress with ease. The same logic applies to magnetic medical packaging, with magnets used as the primary fastener.

Magnets also meet many medical packaging requirements, with additional recommendations from Healthcare Packaging including:

  • Minimize the use of fingers, and provide large grip areas. Many products require a small, pinch-like grip to open containers, which is challenging for many with limited dexterity.
  • Minimize the strength needed to open packaging. Magnets are preferable to strong adhesives or plastic wrap, since they don’t require a five-finger grip to open.
  • Use instructions and opening features to educate consumers, like colors, larger indicators, and icons to convey meaning to users.

Magnetic medical packaging gives consumers the ability to live a (more) independent lifestyle. A key factor in building a satisfactory lifestyle, independence is something that many take for granted…until it’s taken away from them. Manufacturers who integrate more magnetic packaging can build customer goodwill, making it well-worth the initial investment. Particularly as baby boomers, the largest segment of the US population, reach retirement age.

Sunrise has a growing portfolio of medical device packaging, and magnet boxes are one of our signature styles. Rigid, durable, and accessible, contact a sales rep today to start designing a product consumers will love well into their golden years.

Smashbox cosmetic kit from http://www.cassandramyee.com/

Cosmetic Kit Review: SMASHBOX

Much like how Bilbo Baggins' described going out the front door, trying a new brand of makeup can be risky business.  I don't think it's too far out of line to say that, for most ladies, once we find a product that works for us, we stick with it. The possible combinations of problems are as wide-ranging as the issues attached with having combination skin. That's my excuse for having waited this long to try Smashbox products. While I've heard great things, I've never been enticed to purchase them over my go-to products. However, I'm a sucker for a cosmetic kit. I came across their Try It - Besteller kit, which includes five of their most popular products in traveler sizes. Literally compelled by the name to *try it,* I picked it up. 

Smashbox cosmetic kit from beauty-intel.com

What's Included in the Cosmetic Kit

As mentioned, there were five samples within the kit: 

  • Photo Finish Foundation Primer 
  • Full Exposure Mascara 
  • Photo Op Eye Shadow Trio in Filter 
  • Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Raven 
  • Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Disco Rose 

My initial impressions weren't fantastic. Packaging is important, and this corrugated cardboard feel didn't feel the way a $50+ cosmetic kit should. The inside was also anticlimactic - no custom printing, only a slide-in accompanying piece of paper describing the cosmetics - which felt like a major missed opportunity for presentation packaging. Purchasing a luxury brand should feel like luxury, not like opening a cereal box. 

But, that said, I'm happy to report that the makeup items themselves left a better impression. My favorite was the Kohl eyeliner. All-day wear, with no touch-ups, and it looked fantastic from breakfast to happy hour. Even after a few weeks of use, it's still sharp (as the name suggests). Paired with the mascara (people literally asked if I was wearing fake eyelashes), these two items created a stunning effect. I also have to give a shout-out to the lip gloss. It's hard to find a gloss that isn't sticky (is there anything worse than pulling stray strands out of your lips all day?) yet retains a sheen, and this does the trick. 

The primer and the eye shadow were...fine. For my money, nothing beats Urban Decay's primer potion and setting spray. Smashbox eye shadow was pigmented and light, which is about the minimum of what I expect for eye shadow. The included shades were fairly standard on any nude palette, and I didn't really see any reason to switch from my normal brands. 

Overall, I would purchase the eyeliner and the mascara again, maybe on the lip gloss, but no to the eye shadow and primer. I'm also not quite over the cheapness of the packaging. Like I said, when I'm shelling out for an upscale cosmetic kit, I want something that *feels* opulent. Like Dior or Urban Decay. Let that be a lesson, manufacturers: custom cosmetic kit packaging should reflect the quality of the product. 

KartenOpened2

Medical Packaging in Emerging Markets

While advancing medical technology receives plenty of buzz (as well it should), medical packaging doesn't really make headlines. It's not quite as sexy to say you made a really cool box as it is to say that you made a device that's saving lives. But the packaging plays a huge role in the lifecycle of the product.

In our global economy, it's important for products to be accessible and attainable within emerging markets. This has implications on the design of the device because if it needs a charger, a battery, scopes, any additional components, it increases the price while reducing the portion of the population who can afford it.  It affects the packaging in the same way. Multiple components require increasingly customized designs, trays, and protection.

An article on Healthcare Packaging discusses how manufacturers can address the needs of cost-effective medical packaging and device manufacturing. The design of the device is primarily what informs the package design. Both require a clear understanding of the users and how they will use the device. Does it need to be mobile? Then maybe a handle will be incorporated into the design, and foam. Does it need to be sterile? Then certain closures and materials are necessary. And that doesn't even touch on the complications in meeting international medical packaging standards. 

Medical Packaging Needs for Emerging Markets

An emerging market economy is an economy with low-to-mid per capita income. Roughly 20% of countries fall under this category, and nearly 80% of the world's population resides in them. This illustrates the ethical importance of considering the medical packaging needs of emerging markets. 

Karten medical packaging

Considerations for emerging markets include: 

  • Variety of settings
    Designing appropriately for different settings, and ensuring that the device and packaging can withstand optimal and less-than-optimal conditions
  • Robust protection
    Chances are this product will be on the move, so medical packaging that can withstand a little jostling while maintaining its integrity is necessary
  • Versatile instructions
    A product may be used by people with varying levels of knowledge and skill as well as speakers of different dialects

Worldwide, there is an increasing demand for better quality medical packaging in emerging markets. Reusable devices require robust packaging, particularly when sterility is of the utmost importance. Issues like these are why innovation in medical packaging needs to happen alongside medical device development.