Cosmetic Review: Urban Decay NAKED Ultimate Basics

It's here. Urban Decay's first ever all-matte palette, NAKED Ultimate Basics Eyeshadow palette. 

We wrote about this after it was announced a few weeks ago. The buzz around the palette was at a high, and it's the star of the 2016 holiday line up for the brand.  Well, it's been a week after it's release, we're ready to release the verdict: 

Is the Ultimate Basics worth dropping $50? YES.

Cosmetic box review for Urban Decay Ultimate Basics

NAKED Ultimate Basics Palette Review

Let's start with the fundamentals: 

  • Packaging
    Moving away from the more capricious and fanciful design of the recent palette, but still not quite as stoic as the other Naked palettes, Ultimate Basics features a golden burst. It's shiny and eye-catching, a delicious compliment to the matte shades inside, and an interesting companion to the other more, well, *naked* shades on other palettes. It's luxury packaging on another level.
  • Features
    One complaint from other palettes is the mirror of questionable functionality. That is remedied in Ultimate Basics, with a full size mirror inside. The applicator is double edged: one for layering, the other for eyeliner or blending. 

There are 12 shades included in the Ultimate Basics palette. While Urban Decay is touting these as never-before-seen, some of these are very similar to shades we've seen before. But, that aside, test out the shades (if you can) prior to purchasing to make sure that these shades work for you. Matte is a funny beast; these shades are denser and richer than your average drugstore brand, per Urban Decay standards, but they're far from universally flattering (without a little help).  Luxury brands should feel luxurious, and this packed powder packs a mink-gloved punch.

Matte Shades Included

  • Blow (Light Nude Demi-Matte)
  • Nude (Soft Pink Nude Matte)
  • Commando (Light Taupe Brown Matte)
  • Tempted (Pale Brown Matte)
  • Instinct (Medium Pink Taupe Matte)
  • Lethal (Reddish Brown Matte)
  • Pre-Game (Pale Yellow Matte)
  • Extra Bitter (Burnt Orange Matte)
  • Faith (Medium Warm Brown Matte)
  • Lockout (Rich Neutral Brown Matte)
  • Magnet (Smoky Gray Matte)
  • Blackjack (Warm Black Matte)

While the colors alone aren't universally flattering, that doesn't mean that a little blending won't remedy that. Bustle has put together a list of tutorials to assist in this.  Matte is everywhere this fall, and it's ideal to ramp up your look from work to night without a total redo. 

Cue Magnetic Closure

The best products are the ones that solve problems. Innovation can come in any size or material, and we love learning about new products and figuring out how we can help build a brand.  We can design a package  or companion piece that is evocative of the product it's designed to compliment.Whether it's magnetic closure, a colorful insert, or a special treatment for edges, Sunrise Packaging can help bring out the best in your product. 

Magnetic Closure & CueMate

This recent creation for CueMate gave us the chance to create a custom sample kit for a product launch. CueMate is a mobile cue holder; instead of placing a pool cue in a rack or a stationary holder, this allows players to set their cue down and move it with them. Quality cues need to be stored upright. Even leaning them momentarily against a table or a wall can result in gradual warping and damage to the cue.

This is where CueMate comes in.  It's a product devoted to maintaining an investment. Consumers can buy cue holders that match their flooring, pool table or decor. They're made to fit into the lives of the people they serve. 

So how do we convey this in a sample kit?

Magnetic closure for cue mate
Magnetic closure for cue mate

We pride ourselves on creating the perfect companion piece to any product. For something like CueMate, where the focus is on a well-designed solution to a problem, we want to imitate that. For their sample kit, we incorporated a clean design that includes all the elements necessary to draw someone in. The brown shading on the pad references the various wood options without being overt, and the faded words add a subtle design without being distracting. 

Flipping open the pad takes a little more effort that it appears at first. The unexpected weight of the magnet closure adds luxury as well as added security (these samples won't fall out accidentally). Aiding that is the die-cut insert, precision-designed to ensure a place for every sample and a sample for every place. The folder design gives CueMate space to elaborate on their product while still giving the majority of focus to the samples.  Magnetic closure is a great way to secure products while adding a touch of class to any product. We've said it before, but it's still true: magnets make everything better. 

Custom pads aren't the only thing we enjoy designing at Sunrise.  Every project is unique and as such, demands our personalized attention. Whether you're planning a Kickstarter for your product or a rebranding, contact us today to create something that makes your product even better. 

Designing a Custom Game Box

Playing games is something that goes back to the beginning of sentient beings. Ok, I don’t *know* that, but we can assume that once beings started being able to think complex thoughts, they were able to become bored. And out of boredom comes attempts at relief, right? That sentiment has endured for ccustom game box, custom game board, customized incentive games for boosting productivity in businessenturies. There’s evidence that ancient Romans played tic-tac-toe; Anne Boleyn was quite adept at chess; and in modern times, a simple word game on cards can take the world by storm. It’s no wonder that board games and card games are among some of the most funded Kickstarters.  A custom game box is a great way to draw attention to your Kickstarter as well as spread the word about your product.

Ad Magic CEO Shari Spiro (recently profiled in Bloomberg) knows a thing or two about designing a custom game box. Her company has created packaging for the understated Cards Against Humanity and the more crass Poop: The Game, to name a few. Here are a few considerations for those getting ready to design a custom box for a Kickstarter board game or card game.

Considerations For Your Custom Game Box Design

  1. Have a plan
    Don’t pull a number out of thin air when it comes to packaging costs.  The goal is to make money, obviously, so think critically about what you want to sell for, and we here at Sunrise can help provide options from there.
  2. A little whimsy is doable
    Crazy custom game packaging abounds on Kickstarter, and not all packaging companies can handle the most extreme. Remember, while outlandish ideas are great to grab attention, they’re not always sustainable. Keep the whimsy to the design, the content, and the game itself.Custom Game box, two piece rigid game box, custom game box
  3. Leverage your network
    Spiro has her favorite vendors and producers to accomplish the challenges that customers place in front of her. Game makers can also reach out to the other people they know who are working to create games, or Kickstarter campaigns, and capitalize on their lessons learned.

Board games and card games are among the most ambitious projects on Kickstarter. They require a varied skillset: creative, logical, ambitious, not to mention entrepreneurial. Crowdfunding is still something of an emerging model, with clear successes and failures as far as projects go. Do your due diligence when it comes to packaging your product. It can help attract funders in the early stages, and it’ll garner new customers as your product launches.

Custom USB Packaging at Sunrise

I sit on the board for a local nonprofit. We're planning on hosting a table at an upcoming conference for industry professionals, and the topic of promotional swag came up. It's a deadlock: half of us are solidly against conference swag; the other half are for it. The ones who who are against swag think that it's a waste of money. The rest of us think it's a great way to raise awareness of our organization, and the research seems to support that. It comes down to customization and usage. Conference swag needs to be identifiably connected to the organization who provided it, and it must be of enough use to the attendee to be worth carrying around. Custom USB packaging is an ideal way to share your brand with conference attendees while giving them an actual USB. 

In short, I found that promotional products tend to be much more effective than other forms of advertising, with 21% of recipients making a purchase after receiving a promotional product. It's all about making a connection for consumers. Oh, and passing out swag that makes sense.

Custom usb packaging

Something That Won't Go in the Garbage

It's hard to know what that will be. There's always some hot conference item for which people go gaga. A recent conference was pressing t-shirts for attendees onsite; another had a keg of beer and pint glasses.  Both are fun and draw people to a booth; but realistically, how likely are you to wear a cheesy t-shirt or carry a pint glass around while at a conference? (And believe me, I saw a lot of filmy pint glasses rolling around after the keg was killed). Custom USB packaging with a USB is small and inconspicuous. It's not a pain to carry, and it is useful for multiple reasons.

Custom USB Packaging is Efficient Marketing

To finally put the discussion to rest regarding how useful conference swag can be, Biznology found that 90% of survey recipients use a promotional product they received at least once a week. And the other 10%? They tend to pass them on to a family member.  They also report keeping the promotional product for at least a year (87%)--pretty solid numbers, eh?  Not only is the recipient seeing your brand at least weekly, but others with whom they come in contact are seeing it, too. 

Let's talk about traditional advertising methods in comparison. All told, less than 10% of people make a purchase after viewing ads on TV, online, or in print. That kind of exposure costs a lot more than even a few hundred custom USB packages and drives. Not to mention that promotional swag, placed directly in the hands of your target audience, is far more tangible than an ephemeral ad. 

Have we convinced you yet?

FlashPad Wallet: A Most Versatile Solution

Happy first day of September, packaging world, and that means a new special is on the table. The FlashPad Wallet is one of our favorite products, and it's one of our client's favorite packages, too.  Here are some of the ways in which we've optimized this *multum in parvo* product (that's "much in little" if you need to brush up on your Latin)!

FlashPad Wallet in Higher Ed

Engaging students is the number one job of any higher education institution. No matter the department--academics, student life, the library, and so on--they want to make sure that every student has information they need to be successful. The University of Nebraska used a FlashPad Wallet to engage incoming freshman on several levels. The custom design is eye-catching and clearly branded; the recipient is affiliated with the college. 

Flashpad wallet

The space on the outside contains targeted messaging as well as social channels for the user to check out. Open it up, and there's more information as well as a key. Not just any key, but a USB key. And, not to drive the metaphor into the ground, but it's a key to knowledge, a new life on campus, and to the next phase of their lives.

Mortgage Lenders & the FlashPad Wallet

FlashPad Wallets are ideal for replacing stacks paper marketing materials or other types of information. As a thank you, a mortgage lender might provide a new homeowner with maps of the area, coupons, home maintenance services, and more. By condensing all that information onto a flashdrive, they've cut down on paper as well as managed to keep their brand at the forefront with full color printing that's vibrant and inviting. Using a flashdrive also makes it easier for them to keep the information current by using hyperlinks instead of printed material.

Flashpad wallet

FlashPad Wallet = Versatility

These examples come from several organizations, but the versatility and level of customization is the same across the board. The FlashPad Wallet die-cut cavity can be customized to hold anything you need--the above examples both hold flashdrives, but also gift cards, commemorative coins or tokens, beer bottle openers, the list goes on. The only criteria? It has to fit the dimensions. The design be a bifold or trifold, depending on the amount of content that should accompany the item.

Flashpad wallet

The FlashPad Wallet can change they way customers perceive your business, and Sunrise Packaging is currently the only producer of these items. And, for this month only, there is no artwork fee. Contact Sunrise today!

Packaging for Millennials & Beyond

It might surprise you to learn that different generations have different effects on the packaging industry. Baby boomers, which have thundered like a herd of elephants through the ages, dominate the pharmaceutical packaging market.  Medical device packaging for them needs to be lightweight, easy to open, and clearly labeled. However, millennials have surpassed the baby booms to become the largest generation in United States history. Representing nearly 25% of the population, it’s clear that packaging for millennials requires a different tone, look and feel than previous generations.

Packaging for Millennials is Different

Millenials are defined as the generation born between the early 1980’s and mid-1990’s.  While singular qualities range, like any generation, millennials are marked by their desire for uniqueness and creativity, and manufacturers are reacting with increasingly innovative and interesting packaging decisions. Their comfort with mobile devices and online shopping means that knowledge and possessions are quickly available at their fingertips. Ranging from their early twenties to late thirties, their purchasing power is primarily what’s driving the changes in packaging to meet their desire for instant gratification.

What Millennials Look For in Packaging

According to Packaging Digest, there are a few common things that millennials look for in choosing brands and, by extension, packaging for millennials:

  1. What does the brand say about me?
    Millennials want to feel a personal connection to brands because brands say something about a person. In part, brands define who a person is and what their values are. As a generation with access to nearly anything, the choices are limitless. To assign meaning to those choices, millennials see their purchases as emblematic of themselves.
  2. How can this brand be customized to me?
    It’s the insult of all insults: BASIC. To call someone basic is essentially to call them uninteresting. Un-extraordinary. Snd worst of all, boring. This is partially a reference to the millennial love for specialty product ingredients but also the packaging. Millennials consistently gravitate toward custom packaging, according to Supermarket News. Think of the Coca-Cola initiative recently, with people’s names on Cokes.
  3. Is it exclusive and high-end packaging?
    Building on the customization factor, millennials love high-end private label branding. Think luxury and exclusive packaging. Or at least packaging that can be perceived like that.
  4. Who else is using it?
    Social media gives everyone a platform to rant or rave about products, and millennials are very adept at picking up what’s hot and what’s not. Creating buzz is key to packaging for millennials. Include QR codes, hashtags, anything that invites interaction with the brand on the package itself.

How Packaging for Generation Z Will Go Even Further

There’s no sign of these trends stopping with millennials. Generation Z is coming up fast behind them, and they promise to wield even more market power. Expect them to want an even MORE personal relationship with their chosen brands.They’ll also expect to use their mobile-first identity to interact with brands constantly.

Contact Sunrise today for tips and ideas on creating packaging that speaks to millennials in their language.

Cosmetic Box News: Matte NAKED Palette!

Makeup fans around the world are so excited (not in a Jessie Spano kind of way). Urban Decay announced earlier this week that a new edition of their popular NAKED palette will be released. NAKED palettes aren't just any old cosmetic box, and Ultimate Basics follows that tradition.

Typically containing 12 shadows of perfectly-packed powder that are universally flattering, these palettes have built up a loyal following. While that's not the case here, this is the first time they've released a solely matte palette. Typically, matte eye shadows are meant to be compliments to other, more sparkly shadows (or at least with more light reflection). They're ideal for daytime wear, and true to the palette name, it's a more naked look. 

Usually retailing upwards of $50, they still tend to sell out quickly (but here are some alternatives if this isn't your price range). Not only are the eye shadows versatile and perfect for everyday wear, but Urban Decay likes to release new colors in palette form, and this one features 12 brand new shades. If this is the only place you can get a new shade, the value increases. By heightening the demand, you know there's no time to waste in picking one up. 

Matte cosmetic box review

A Matte Cosmetic Box

Part of what helps cultivate Urban Decay's devoted fan base is how they interact with consumers. Ultimate Basics was literally born out of their fans' requests for a matte palette.  Appropriately, many fans are flocking to social channels to share their excitement and approval for the latest addition to the NAKED palette family. This type of devotion is typical of Urban Decay fans, but the adulation is well-earned. 

Why Matte? Why Not

As described above, matte eye shadows are best as compliments to shimmer shadows, but can be worn alone for a literal naked or more natural look. However, matte tends to look better in flash photography and has better pigmentation than shimmer shadows so they give the eye more definition. Matte is harder to blend together, but they're the basic of any everyday look. The depth and range of the colors isn't replicated anywhere else. There's no chance you won't use these shades. At less than $5 per shade, it's a no-brainer.

And, of course, the cosmetic box itself is worth it's weight in...well, eye shadow. Sturdy and strong, this cigar style box flips up to reveal the 12 new shades as well as the double-sided makeup brush. There's also a mirror, making it the perfect on-the-go companion. Who else can't wait until September 18?!

Luxury Brand Packaging Tips

Luxury brand packaging is one of those things that's better experienced than described. However, as one of Minnesota's premier producers of high end custom packaging, we're well-situated to take a stab at defining some of the features that make packaging feel luxurious. Custom packaging can make a sizable impression. And it's our job to make sure that it's a positive impression as a result of great design and fine craftsmanship.

The tips below, adapted from TheDieLine, discuss how to appeal to consumers and leave an impression of high-end luxury packaging. It involves appealing to the senses in unexpected--yet pleasing--ways.  It's turning the mundane into the extraordinary. And it's easier than you think.

Tips for High End Custom Packaging

Include micro-interactions
You can guide users through a delayed-gratification type of an experience through micro-interactions. Micro-interactions are unexpected surprises about a package or a box. Utilize materials in unexpected ways (especially materials that convey the luxurious quality you want to convey, like our soft touch lamination). Design points of interplay for the user and the product. Magnet closure, pull tabs, these extras surprise and delight consumers. 

luxury brand packaging

Reduce redundant hand positions
Haptic feedback helps inform luxury packaging. Believe it or not, but according to TheDieLine, redundant hand positions required to open packaging reduce perceived quality. Use one simple criterion: how easy is it to open the package? Could it be opened blindfolded, or would it require tools and complicated handiwork? It's a testament to the classic simplicity and elegance of the cigar box

luxury brand packaging

Contrast finishes
The way light interacts with colors and finishes affects how consumers perceive things. It can make the difference between a high-end box and a cheap one, or at least the perception either way. The finish should be smooth, crisp, consistent, and even. Incorporating foil stamping on a matte material is one of our favorite ways to create this kind of contrast. However, show restraint when it comes to contrasting.  Discretion and minimalism in design define understated luxury.

Gold foil stamp example on luxury brand packaging

Luxury Brand Packaging Value Perception

When all is said and done, creating luxury brand packaging is all about creating a perception of high value. By following the cues discussed, it's possible to trigger the sensory cues that say "high-end." While these are tips that help convey luxury, it's important to remember packaging basics, such as: 

  • Take measures to ensure packaging won't become warped or misshapen due to humidity, poor handling, etc.
  • Incorporate materials and finishes that are pleasing to touch. 
  • Design an opening experience worthy of an unveiling video. 

Consumers want to be thrilled. Discover ways to incorporate these types of interactions and sensations into your packaging to create something they'll love. 

DnD Custom Game Box

If you’re watching Netflix’s Stranger Things, take note: no spoilers appear below, but there is minor discussion on plot points.  The introduction to the main characters features a scene that would convey very different things just a few years ago. They’re sitting around, playing Dungeons & Dragons (or DnD).  Since the show takes place in 1983, it’s clear that they’re being depicted as classic 80’s *nerds,* so to speak. And to drive the message home, they’re also part of the AV Club, get picked on by bullies, and are general outsiders. However, with the relatively recent rise of “geek chic,” these kids are endearing through our 2016 lenses. Also, DnD is experiencing a resurgence of popularity due to all this attention. Since Sunrise Packaging is in the business of boxes, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to making a custom game box for the new wave of DnD-ers.

DnD Needs Assessment

Although online versions exist, this is a game best played in person with a group. It’s a group effort. As the OG of fantasy role playing tabletop games, the custom game box needs to be as iconic as its contents. Color schemes typically fall on the darker end of the spectrum, highlighted with fiery reds, oranges and yellows.

The party of adventurers might always meet at one person’s home, or the set might travel around. This means the box needs to be both durable and easy-to-move. Light, built in handles of some sort, but rigid and strong enough to withstand  transportation. DnD game boards usually fold up, but a custom game board might need more room to lay flat. Some kind of rigid insert might be necessary. Partially for presentation, but also to keep the pieces and dice intact. It’s kind of like using a peg board for tool organization. When they’re outlined, you know exactly which one is missing. Same goes for a custom box insert.

DnD Custom Game Box

So what have we arrived at when it comes to a custom game box, specifically for DnD?

For starters, a custom two-piece setup box is the classic game box style.* The turned edge style is also ideal for the design and strength components. Turned edge boxes are made of chipboard, which is extremely durable. It also lends itself well to a variety of wraps which can best display dynamic DnD graphics and colors. Further custom options can include foil stamped linen or embossed fibers for a slightly Medieval-like feel.

To keep the innards and gaming items in place, the set up box is perfect for multiple types of inserts. Think custom die cut foam, thermoformed tray, insider liners…the options vary as much as DnD gameplay. Add in some sort of handle and you’ve got a party in a box. Literally.

Get in touch with our sales department to start work on your custom game box!

*Did you know Sunrise Packaging has established a reputation for custom game box and game board packaging?

A Mortgage Thank You Can Increase Business

In this booming housing market, the possibility exists for big business for mortgage lenders. The biggest problem is figuring out how to rise above the hundreds of other lenders customers can select. Marketing has changed a lot over the past decade. Interestingly, 2006 is also the last time the housing market was as strong as it is today. Ten years ago, Facebook and Twitter were new territory. Nowadays, a full social media strategy is the minimum for any marketing effort. The impact of other social sites, particularly review sites, has also impacted businesses. The feedback cycle is immediate and unfiltered, and people aren’t afraid to share their experiences with companies. The good and the bad. This is particularly important in industries where relationship building is still the standard for gaining business. You know, like realty and mortgage lending.  A mortgage thank you is a no-brainer. But what kind of thank you?

Designing a Mortgage Thank You

Showing customer appreciation is harder than it seems, right? A company doesn’t want to come off too flippant, too robotic, or inappropriate. But in the interests of time efficiency, you can’t exactly spend a few hours everyday hunting down the perfect piece of artwork to complement a client’s dining room trim.  Split the difference by creating a customized box. Sunrise Packaging, here in Minnesota, can help design something that meets your budget and image.  And from there, come up with some ideas of how to fill it.

  • Thank you noteMortgage thank you box
    Whether you buy a card or use custom stationary, take the time to write out the note longhand. We don’t have to explain why…right? If you don’t know what to write, Google it.
  • Gift certificate for local businesses
    Even if your clients are refinancing or not new to the area, a coupon or gift certificate to a local business is appreciated. Plus you can possibly build a kind of referral exchange with the other business.
  • Local maps of resources
    If they’re new to the area, it would be handy to learn about things that are nearby. Dog parks, microbreweries, escape rooms, whatever they’re particular deal might be. You know a lot about these people, you should have an idea of what they like.
  • A cash card
    It might feel a tad crass, but if we’re being honest, cash is the only universally appreciated gift. It allows the customer to spend it on whatever they want, without feeling obligated in any way. It’s not quite the gift that keeps on giving, but it’s close.

Choosing the Box Options

Believe it or not, but a box isn’t just a box. Take the time to figure out what needs to go *in* it, then we’ll know what types of custom box options it needs.  How to make your branding stand out, what types of insert it needs to protect and preserve the gift, and best of all: how to make that perfect final impression. This is a business of referrals. Your mortgage thank you should have them talking about your company into the next decade.

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