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

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

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. 


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.

Iconic product packaging design, like Starbucks, appeals to customer senses

Iconic Product Packaging in a Nutshell

Iconic product packaging design doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and research, both of the product itself and the customer base. As much as we might like to think we are all rational, evolved human beings, the science of buying shows that we rely more on primal instincts to make decisions. Consumers tend to make purchases based on instinct. For custom box design, this means color, shape, and familiarity. 

This post doesn't promise any quick, packaging miracles, but it does utilize the biomotive trigger combinations identified by Forbes which affect the subconscious. As they say, "every brand must have a distinctive point of view and be able to express this clear and unique reason for being." This helps customers identify with the brand emotionally while being enticed to pick up the product.

4 Qualities of Iconic Product Packaging

Stand Out
How can your brand define the category? Your product packaging should include a point of orientation that catches the eye of consumers. It can also make a value proposition, or convey a message of eco-friendliness. Exploring embellishments through various printing techniques, like embossing or foil stamping, is one way to achieve this in custom box design. Different printing techniques can also lend a tactile element to packaging design. It helps appeal to multiple senses, enhancing their experience.

Iconic product packaging design, like Muhammad Ali's Wheatie box, appeals to customer's emotions

If current design aesthetic is any indication, simple design is more effective than cluttered design. Think of iconic product packaging, and what comes to mind? The simple yellow with black text of a Cheerio box? The stark red and white Campbell's soup cans? Simplicity can speak volumes, particularly if it appeals to client's emotions. Forbes uses the example of a drain cleaner who, recognizing the agitation of customers in need of the product, chose a design without any graphics. The simplicity provided a kind of visual break for the customer, and resulted in sales.

Easily Identifiable
Could your product package design pass the five-year-old test?

  1. Explain your product package to a child
  2. Send them into a store
  3. They're able to identify it based on your description

This test employs factors of the previous tips. Iconic product packaging needs salient features to stand out. It needs to be simple to be quickly identifiable (to all ages). If it can pass this test, you know you have the potential to make an iconic connection with consumers. 

Triggers Engagement
One aspect of survival instinct is the need to make connections and reciprocate emotion. Think of a can of Coca-Cola: the red, the white text, the looping letters. These are visual equities. They help amplify the consumer experience by acting not only as brand signposts, but they communicate on their own. Visual equities are an important part of creating iconic product packaging because they invite consumers to engage. 


Minnesota Vikings iconic product packaging

Designing Triggers Into Packaging

Design, and creativity by extension, aren't easily quantifiable. However, by designing with biomotive triggers, iconic product packaging suddenly becomes more of a science. The end result? More sales, and more profit. 

6 Things Every Sales Kit Should Include

Most people don't like to feel like they're being sold to, but everyone likes to make feel-good purchases. An effective sales kit needs to straddle the line of information | value.  Appealing to clients means making them trust you; like any relationship, this takes time and a little bit of process.  On the surface, your organization might look like any other.  You need to make a custom sales kit that shows and tells how you do business, and how it sets you apart. 

Easier said than done, right? Here are our 6 tips to help set your sales kit apart from the competition. Sunrise is well-equipped to help translate your company's mission into design through packaging!

Poly sales kit

Tips to Create a Custom Sales Kit

You might remember from writing classes that, for people to gain all the information, there are some basic elements to address. Those elements are who, what, where, why, and how.  By applying that same theme to sales kits, you can build a compelling narrative for clients to experience. 

  1. Why: 'The Difference' Documents
    Create a document (or set of documents) that lay out how your organization is different from the competition. Be as specific as possible; this should explain why you do business, and not necessarily what you do.  This main idea should be supported by the rest of your sales kit.

  2. What: List of Services
    This is a no-brainer, but sometimes it needs to be said. For a new client, they might have some misconceptions about what's provided or offered. If you organization is particularly robust, multiple documents in different styles might be helpful to target specific client industries.

  3. Where: Case Studies
    Think of some clients for whom your organization truly made a difference. Case studies appeal to both logical and emotional natures. Clients can identify with the story, and think of ways in which your solution can help them. 

  4. How: Describe the Process
    How do you do business? Do you use checklists to ensure nothing is overlooked?  Do you have flow charts or graphics to visualize the process? Include all of these in your sales kit. People consume information effectively in different ways. The more variety you can provide, the more likely they'll pick up what you're putting down. 

  5. Who: Your Story
    Tell them who you are, as an organization, and your history. Entrepreneur Magazine recommends being open, honest, and entertaining to win their business. 

  6. Entice Them With a Packaging Solution
    While you focus on creating content that meets the criteria above, let Sunrise create a supportive package for your sales kit. There's not much worse than putting the effort into creating great content, but not being able to showcase it in a way that makes clients want to read it. Sales kits are also presentation packaging. You need a custom box design to stand out from the competition, that entices clients to read and learn more. 
Corrugated sales kit packaging solution

Sales Kit Extras

In addition to the above, think of other items that could go into a sales kit to support your mission.  If your organization has been in the news recently (for positive reasons, of course), consider including a press release or print version of the story.  Something outlining any awards or recognition in recent history can add credibility to your claims, as well as white papers to establish authority.  

We'd encourage you to think out-of-the-box, but it's not in our best interests! Contact Sunrise today to take your sales kit from concept to completion. 

Flashpad wallet custom USB stick

FlashPad Wallet: More Than Meets the Eye

Despite what some presidential front runners might think, size isn’t everything. That sentiment informed the design development of one of our newest products, the FlashPad Wallet.

Our traditional FlashPad is our most popular option for packaging USB sticks (or similar-sized products) and with good reason.  It utilizes some of our favorite finishing options, like tightly turned corners and soft touch lamination. It’s a product with unlimited options for innovative design and development. It works well as a gift for clients, a source to share information, and is reusable.  The FlashPad works for every industry as well. Whether you’re a wedding photographer sharing images or a software magnate releasing a standout demo, we can design the right product for you.

What Sets the FlashPad Wallet Apart

The FlashPad Wallet retains everything great about the FlashPad, but slightly smaller and more cost-efficient. While it was originally designed around USB drives, it can also hold gift or credit cards, coins, keys, nearly anything you can think of that fits within the specifications.  The name ‘Wallet’ comes from a few features:

  • Available as a bifold or trifold
  • Fits in the pocket

It also features sharp digital graphics for heightened visibility and brand promotion. It’s ideal for promoting social media channels and contact information.

Alluded to above, the FlashPad Wallet not only fits inside your wallet, but it’s also easier on your wallet:

  • Uses a standard template, saving on tooling costs
  • Smaller than the FlashPad, which saves on material costs
  • As part of our June special, the artwork fee is waived

Who’s Using the FlashPad Wallet? Flashpad wallet custom USB drive packaging

The University of Nebraska-Omaha was looking for a solution to help onboard new students. We can agree that the traditional packet of papers isn’t the most engaging, right?  This customized FlashPad Wallet offered them the chance to welcome new students while promoting the different ways to connect with the university. All while reinforcing their brand.

The FlashPad Wallet offers several advantages over paper or a disc. It’s more accessible and more interactive. Clients can also design a better experience (guiding users through the materials via call outs or modules built using instructional design principles and software). This fits user expectations as well as how they’re accustomed to accessing resources.

The information can also be modified in a more fluid manner. For example, you can replace information which changes frequently by embedding links to your website, social channels, online orientation, and so on. It’s also much easier to fix any sneaky typos  when it’s as simple as opening and resaving a file, and not a massive recall and reprint project.

As our June special, you can’t beat the FlashPad Wallet for convenience, design and functionality. Get a quote today!

Medical device packaging for Teknor

Medical Device Packaging: Form Following Function

Typically, packaging serves a few different purposes. It protects the product, naturally, but also needs to draw an audience. Walking down any supermarket aisle, for example, can be an assault on the senses. Every product is designed to entice, whether it’s through crazy packaging, colors, content, anything to get your attention. However, the one industry in which this is the exception and not the rule: medical device packaging.

Medical Device Packaging: The Old Standards

The principle of ‘form follows function’ is usually associated with 20th century industrial design. Basically, it means that the shape of an object should be primarily based on its intended function or purpose.  As it relates to medical device packaging, this usually translates as plain. Not many bright or fancy colors, clever logos or designs, or any of the other qualities we see in other types of packaging.

There are good reasons for this, though. Designing packaging for medical devices is a bit more restrictive than, say, a sales kit, where creativity is king. Medical device packaging must comply a plethora of elements, like:

  • Product protection (always important, but doubly so when we’re talking about spendy hearing aids, neuromodulators, and things of that nature)
  • Standards compliance (the FDA are just the tip of the iceberg if a product has to meet global regulatory standards)
  • Manufacturability
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Reliable processes not dependent or suspect to supply shortage
  • Product development timeline synchronization
  • And more

It boils down to being able to produce something for less to keep consumer costs down while keeping the product itself unharmed.  That’s still the end goal, but there’s some disruption happening in the marketplace.

A New Paradigm: Make it Better, Faster, and Cost-Effective

Innovation is on the tip of the tongue of every organization nowadays, but it’s rare to see the word make the leap from just buzzword to implementation.  Part of building an innovative culture is asking questions, and switching perspectives. That’s what Sunrise brought to the table to help Teknor Apex showcase their medical-grade PVC compounds.

Teknor medical device packaging
Teknor Apex medical device packaging

Precision-cut cavities ensure that the product is secure, as well as the sturdy packaging. The overall design uses an impactful red to convey significance and urgency while reinforcing Teknor Apex’s brand, and the tri-fold allows for ample room for more content as desired. The overall look and feel of the packaging conveys the reliability of its contents while still having a kind of futuristic vibe. Teknor Apex creates medical-grade PVC compounds in China, Singapore, Europe and the United States, and as such needs to meet global compliance standards.  

This package underscores that with understated elegance, letting the design convey innovation. It is possible to create something that speaks an international language through design (and meets the numerous medical device packaging requirements) without boring consumers. 

how to package an Apple setup box

Start With A Setup Box: How to Package Like Apple

You don’t get to be the leader in the industry without having a signature style. No other company knows this better than Apple. From an iPhone in its setup box to an iMac’s handled container, Apple’s strict packaging requirements are part of what makes their product seem so luxurious. The Apple aesthetic–reflected in their store and iOS–is marked by simplicity.

It’s no mistake that many other brands seem to mimic the aesthetic. Who doesn’t want to experience the benefit of the halo effect? Selling a product in a minimalist white box is enough to evoke the Apple mystique for consumers. But it’s more than just that. Whether you’re getting ready to launch a Kickstarter or redesigning your current packaging, here are some tips from the experts via FastCoDesign.

White setup box

This is the cornerstone. White is the signature color, and the setup box (think the iPhone box) turns opening a new phone into an unveiling ceremony. Well, as long as you’re not this guy.

Setup boxes are two piece boxes with rigid top and bottom trays. The inside can be customized to fit your product, and finishing options can enhance the experience for your customers. Following the white aesthetic (or, if you must, choosing a single color for the package) also helps reduce the number of decisions to make…which can be a major stress point for any product manufacturer.

Product should be the focus of the design

One of the most striking things about most of Apple’s packaging is the large image against a stark background. The product is always the focus of the design. Apple might use the screen in an interesting way, using it to showcase the graphics or interface of the product, but that’s about it.


While you don’t ever see a stack of Apple products at their retail stores, you know simply by looking at the packaging that there is a symmetry to the box. This helps the proportions *feel* right to consumers, even though they probably can’t put their finger on what it is that’s so pleasing.

iPad setup box.
Sunrise did not create the iPad setup box.

Minimal text

Let’s deconstruct the text on the iPad box. The lid has a picture of the iPad screen. The end of the box features the Apple logo. The sides say, ‘iPad.’ And that’s basically it. Again, the product is the focus of the design. Many product developers focus on telling people why they should purchase this product while Apple shows consumers the product, and leaves the selling to other outlets. This is a box that answers the question What’s in the box, not Why should I buy it.

From an optimistic standpoint, if you are hoping that your product is picked up for Apple distribution, you can use their guidelines to plan for a smooth transition. Note that this style isn’t for every product; sometimes you do need a little more text, more color to stand out, or just prefer an asymmetrical style. Follow your instincts, and create packaging that makes you as proud as your product does.