Apple media presentation, image from

Apple Media Presentation Event: How They Get It Right

Apple fans, rejoice! The next media presentation event from the tech giant is set for next Thursday (October 27, 2016).  Like every Apple product release event, rumors are running wild about what we'll see. The frontrunning rumors include a revamped MacBook Pro, utilizing the reversible USB-C ports and ditching other ports. This is also expected to be the last media presentation at the current headquarters, as Apple's second campus should open in 2017.

How have we arrived at a place where a computer revamp is breaking news? Well, 1) it's Apple, a company that has designed a brand and image that speaks to the very core of their consumers, and 2) these media presentations are aided by intense coverage, slick graphics and, of course, beautiful products. So how does Apple do it time and again? Here are some of the key takeways from Apple's branding and presentation packaging tactics. 

Media Presentation Kit

Media Presentation Tactics

Clearly articulate the value to users 

Apple does a great job of explaining their design choices and aesthetics in their media presentations, even when it's something unpopular (like removing the headphone jack). It might feel like they're spinning off into outer space sometimes, but hey. That's passion. 

But while users can appreciate passion, they also need to understand the value proposition, and accept it as valid. Media presentation kits need to convey this through well-written, well-edited copy that is concise and relative. 

Make Data Beautiful
An increase in our ability to collect and learn from data makes infographics and other visualizations powerful storytelling devices. Find creative ways to show growth, stats, and other types of number-based information in ways that are visually compelling.

Design an Impressive Experience
Ultimately, Apple's customers don't buy their products because Tim Cook told them to do so. They come back because they know that they're getting quality devices that reflect or enhance a lifestyle and personal brand. Apple achieves this in their media presentation through using specific styles and designing experiences. It turns it from a simple purchase to more of a gift transaction.  Media presentation packaging is the key to making consumers feel special about the products they've purchased. 

Apple utilizes a specific style. Turned edge setup box, white, product photo on the top, and minimal text. It's so simple to almost be laughable, but the clean lines and simple aesthetic appeal to luxurious sensibilities.  We might suggest some different custom box styles based on your needs. We particularly like hinged lid setup boxes, which help create a kind of stage. Or, if this is a box that will need to travel easily, adding a handle increases ease of mobility.

Create an Experience, Not Just a Presentation

When it comes to media presentations, Apple is one of the best companies from which to take your cues. They have devoted followers and successful product launches. Their name is synonymous with luxury, technology, and aptitude. We at Sunrise look forward to helping you design your next media presentation kit!

Candle boxes for fall gifts

Candle Boxes & Fall Feelings

Fall is a funny time for a lot of people, especially in the northern part of the country. There's a sense of hunkering down, hibernating for winter. For some, the cooler air is invigorating. For others, it's jarring. It's a transition for everyone. To help ease into the transition, people tend to make their own traditions or create things to which they can look forward. Whether it's a different wardrobe or pumpkin-spiced anything, fall in Minnesota is the herald of change. Believe it or not, candles are actually an effective therapeutic object to make the seasonal transition easier. Whether you're starting your own candle DIY business or have some other need, check out some of the research below to help make your case. And don't forget about your candle boxes to effectively market your product! Retail packaging is far too often one of the last things people consider.

Benefits of Candlelight

Promoting Focus
Candlelight is favored over dim lighting for a few reasons. It's a more gentle kind of light that affects our eyes differently than that produced by light bulbs. It also tends to make shadows and angles less sharp and foreign due to the natural kind of gradations it produces.  It makes it easier to focus in this kind of lighting, and also allows your body to relax at the same time by reducing the stress on your eyeballs. 

Scents Are Comforting
Is it surprising that our most powerful sense is the sense of smell? Aromas tied to memories are one of the surest ways to evoke a feeling, sensation or experience. When you're in need of a pick-me-up, light some scents that remind you of positive things.  Candle boxes reflecting a scent are another reinforcer of that sense of comfort. While it might seem unexciting to design a box for a lavender color using purple, it's a scent already associated with a color. But retail packaging should make use of traditional colors, the custom box design can be a great outlet for creativity.

Upgrading Your Mood
On that same note, scents can change your mood.  In addition to memory, scent is also heavily connected to emotion. Scents like lavender stimulate calmness, as does rose. Check out some aromatherapy websites for more information on how scents can influence emotion.  If you plan on utilizing this in your candles, consider using a setup box to create a luxurious experience for consumers while also adding more content.

Candle Boxes Should Say What Candles Can't Express

Custom candle boxes are the perfect way to punctuate your product. Research shows that designing an appealing packaging solution is a great way to entice and retain customers.  Candles are a way for people to express their personality through both scent and as decor. They're going to be drawn to your product initially through candle boxes. What does the packaging say about the product? Is it a luxurious, indulgent purchase? Or does it feel a little cheap?

When in doubt, go with the former. Contact Sunrise today to design your custom candle boxes!

packaging solution

A Packaging Solution For the Subconcious

Packaging sometimes slips below the radar (hard as it is for us to believe). It’s often an under – utilized part of product marketing, despite having every opportunity to be the solution to the marketing puzzle. A packaging solution that can grab a customer’s attention both in person and  online is invaluable. Or, as Andrew Hurley posits, it’s the SEO (search engine optimization) of retail.

Packaging Solutions as SEO

Search engine optimization is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. Hurley believes that the same principles can be applied to packaging. Both are focused on creating a value proposition that speaks to potential buyers/users. And both need to communicate not just the product, but the brand, to the audience.

Referred to as the ‘first moment of truth,’ the realization for consumers that they are ready to buy and zoned in is exactly when your product needs to grab their attention.  It’s the result of many subconscious decisions being made in the minds of your customer. Retail packaging influences these decisions.  It communicates with the subconscious and appeals to buyers on that level. Consider a quantitative assessment to determine how to drive attention toward your product. It could be color (or lack thereof), a typeface, a photo. Something that sets your product apart from the others in a positive light:

Your package, encompassing your choice of labeling, material, and branding, influences the subconscious of consumers at the shelf.

– Andrew Hurley

How to Implement a Packaging Solution

Commissioning a quantitative assessment should, at a minimum, include the following:

  1. Get to know your consumers
    The model advocated by Hurley uses a research-design-test-redesign  loop as an example for how to implement. Design should be an innovative process that involves consumer testing on every level. Design studies that put your retail packaging design in front of consumers to get feedback.
  2. Utilize eye-tracking
    There are plenty of models to follow for user testing and research, like focus groups or usability labs. One of the most helpful ones to determine if your retail packaging design is effective is eye-tracking. Eye-tracking is the ability to track the eye movements of your test subjects seamlessly as they shop. Comparing the eye-tracking information with a closing interview will reveal valuable insights regarding what subjects saw versus what they *think* they saw.

Competitive analyses are at the heart of any SEO initiative, and it makes sense how that should inform a retail packaging solution. You need to know what your rivals are up to, and how you can stand out. Spending the time to design a retail packaging solution that can grab attention in any format–in person or online–is the best way to market.

The Blessing Box Can Be Customized Year-Round

December is one of the most common times of year for organizations to plan and carry out charitable giving. Whether it's through volunteering, bell-ringing, or good old-fashioned check writing, the holiday spirit tends to move people to generosity. A blessing box is a new take on that old sentiment. Not limited to the holidays, these boxes are filled with useful things. They might have themes, like food or cleaning supplies or clothes, or be more along the lines of kits for kids going back to school or getting ready for winter. 

Now is the time to start thinking about how your company plans to give back this holiday season. Get in touch with a representative today to design your blessing box. It's a chance to share your brand as well as share the wealth.  

Tips to Start a Blessing Box Program

Order the Boxes
Work with Sunrise on a custom box design with your brand guidelines, size specifications, and any other customization.  You can keep it simple, with a shoebox-style design, or add on some more interesting elements. 

A blessing box is a great way to give back

Magnetized lids or set up boxes ensure that the box will be durable as well as a keepsake for the recipient. Consider making the design timeless (meaning not including years or other date-specific information) so the boxes can be reused  in following years. 

Find a Local Charity Who Can Disburse Them
There are different ways to find a charity with whom you can partner, or there might be recipients within your organization itself.  Partnering with a local organization to disburse your blessing boxes is a great way to build bridges locally, increase profile, and help connect with the community.  Also, use this connection to find out what kinds of things should be included in the boxes. What does the community need? 

Reach Out To Employees
Set up the charitable giving with some sort of employee incentive. For some, the act of giving might be enough, but for wider engagement, others might need a sense of competition (who can put together the best blessing box or the most blessing boxes, for example). Use the guidelines received from your partnering organization to let employees know how to prepare the boxes. 

If you plan on boxes being standardized, create a checklist for items. Or, if specific departments are going to responsible for specific items (like Chapstick, for example), then make that clear as well.  If you choose to go this route, consider setting aside an afternoon for employees to spend putting the boxes together to increase that sense of community and goodwill. 

Close the Loop
Keep in touch after the blessing boxes are sent, and find out how many families received a box, or what stories might be encapsulated in them. It's exciting and heartwarming to find out that a blessing box was utilized by a family in need, and their story.

Plan Charitable Giving Now

Now is the time to get a head start on ordering and designing a blessing box for the holiday season, as well as making those partnerships. Contact a representative today for a quote!

luxury packaging

Luxury Packaging Market to Grow 5% by 2021

Luxury packaging is hardly a new topic, especially for us at Sunrise Packaging (Blaine, Minnesota, USA). We’ve long admired a soft touch overlay, a crisp, rigid two-piece box, and the classic style of a cigar set-up box. In our minds, it’s about time the rest of the world came around.

Luxury Packaging Market on the Grow

According to Beige Market Intelligence, the luxury packaging market is predicted to grow compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.96% through 2021. The report on their website supplies the full details of the analysis, but the gist is this: the trend in personalized, eco-friendly, high-end packaging isn’t going anywhere but up.

As consumers continue to look for brands and packaging that act as extensions of themselves, retailers are looking to meet that demand through a variety of means. Alternative packaging materials (think metal, plastic, and wood, among others) are becoming more common, as well as more interesting finishing options for classic cardboard boxes.

Luxury Packaging Markets

The top fields in which growth is expected to occur include:

  • Cosmetics and fragrances
    Fragrances have driven luxury packaging for a while, but cosmetics are relatively new. While some have been around for a while (see our Urban Decay posts for favorites), more and more brands are entering the market, and this is an audience that goes gaga for great packaging.
  • Premium liquor
    Premium brands know the value of premium packaging. Look at Dom Perignon or Cristal for classic packaging. Brown liquors, like bourbon and whiskey, have increased in popularity over the past decade. And with increased popularity comes an increase in packaging variety. This group has a love of wooden boxes.
  • Gourmet food and candy
    Innovative packaging for food and candy tends to come out of Asia, but the demand for homemade food with quality ingredients has brought that innovation to the USA.
  • Watches and jewelry
    Like fragrances, watches and jewelry have long been the mainstays of luxury packaging. Leather and velvet boxes, silky liners, and metallic lettering. They’re practically cliches at this point, but that’s how classics are made.
  • Tobacco products
    Cigar boxes are just as classic a style, and add vape boxes to this category. Is it any better than other forms of tobacco? It remains to be seen but for now, vaping and vape boxes are hot.

Other fields are contributing to the luxury packaging growth, but these are the main ones. The other driver is the increase in e-commerce, or online shopping. This gives everyone access to luxury products. Consumers want sturdy packaging that meets their lofty expectations.

Packaging that Plays the Part

Packaging is not just protection for the product it houses. It’s an extension of the organization’s brand. It’s also, in a sense, part of the consumer’s brand. People view products as emblematic of themselves; that’s why personalization is such an important piece. Luxury packaging isn’t something on which producers should compromise. Talk to a representative today to be in the forefront!


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

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
  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
  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
  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.