Recyclable Boxes: Reusing Gift Boxes

(This story won’t sound relevant to recyclable boxes or setup boxes, but I promise it’s getting there)! Last December, I received a glass tumbler from Starbucks that I absolutely loved. Although it technically *just packaging,* I also loved the box it came in. Starbucks does a great job creating attractive packaging, and their two-piece setup boxes for the holidays are durable and always feature rich colors. Each year has a different color: last year was red, this year was green, and so on. They also design a brand new series of tumblers every year, so when they sell out, they’re gone forever.

Starbucks recyclable boxesBut I used the setup box to package another gift, keeping the lovely tumbler for myself. However, maybe as a lesson regarding growing too fond of things, I accidentally dropped the tumblr at a gas station in sub-zero temperatures. It shattered. I was sad, and I must have mentioned the fact to my mother (we bought the tumbler together).

Lo and behold, this Christmas, I took the wrapping paper off a present. I recognized the red box, but in the back of my head, I knew that the gift boxes from Starbucks this year were green. I opened the box, and there it was. My shattered tumbler, which she had found online, whole again. Added bonus: I got to keep the box this time around!

As the major December holidays pass, most households are left with a lot of new things which need to find homes as well as a lot of boxes and wrapping paper. Recyclable boxes aren’t a problem (wrapping paper is another story, since the majority of it isn’t recyclable).  There are plenty of ways to take sturdy gift boxes and repurpose them around the house. 

Tips for Reusing Recyclable Boxes

  1. Re-gift
    The easiest thing to do with when you receive a nice gift box? Reuse it for its intended purpose.  The wrong attitude is to think of it as someone else’s problem; rather, think of it as spreading the joy of a nicely-packaged custom gift box. 
  2. Use it as a desk organizer
    Full disclosure: This is how I’m using my own Starbucks setup box. My workspace at home has drawers with organizers, but I’m always looking for something to help me out on top of the desk that doesn’t look like it came from an office supply store. The red box is colorful and not too big. It’s made of sturdy chipboard with sharp edges, so I know it won’t look battered in a few weeks. It’s perfect to hold my oh-so-necessary supply of Gin-Gins, lip balm, favorite fine tip marker pens, and other random necessities, all in one place. 
  3. Holiday storage
    It’s nearly time to pack up all those holiday decorations. Use the sturdier of the boxes you received to switch out any older packaging that’s starting to wear, or to keep any new items safe. In my house, the holiday decorations are pretty secure, in one spot, but occasionally there might be some jostling. Keep your memories safe and secure with an updated custom gift box. 

And When All Else Fails

Break them down and put them in the recycling. Reasonable sentimentality can only go so far. But next year, keep in mind how someone might get some enjoyment out of a nice setup box for their gift. 

How do you upcycle recyclable boxes from the holidays?

2017 Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging Trends

Trends come and go, and this is especially true of the ephemeral world of fragrance and cosmetic packaging. Certain features and styles--cigar style boxes, magnetic closures, custom setup boxes, etc.--tend to be more prominent in some years than others. Cosmetics and fragrances are a dynamic division of packaging; they're subject to the whims of the fashion world, but loyal customers tend to be drawn to both respectful tradition for the past while enjoying modern innovation. What would Chanel No. 5 be without its stark, elegant style? It's a tall order for any designer to incorporate all these elements. 

However, there are some constants in this ever-changing industry as identified by Cosmetics Design. These guidelines aren't specific only to fragrance and cosmetic packaging, but could be incorporated into the style of any industry that desires their packaging to be creative yet artful and address commercial interests. 

Fragrance & cosmetic packaging

Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging as Art

According to the Pratt Institute 2016 recipient for fragrance packaging design, FangYi Chu, the most important aspect of design is storytelling: 

Through the creative direction, including logo, fonts, and color, the story can be displayed to everyone.

In this sense, custom packaging should endeavor to embody a narrative that speaks to customers. 

Resourceful Innovation & Packaging

Concerns have arose across customer bases when it comes to sustainability. Buyers are becoming hypersensitive to sustainable sourcing and eliminating waste, yet desire usable and functional packaging that is also aesthetically pleasing. At Sunrise Packaging, we can utilize recycled materials for boxes as well as employ other eco-friendly techniques in finishing as well as other stages. 

Cost-Effective Packaging

"Cost-effective" encompasses many things. Obviously, cost is one part of it. It can reflect size, meaning that customers are finding value in smaller cosmetic packages which makes them easier to carry for travelling. All in all, as Cosmetics Design points out, it means a smaller commitment from the customer. The increased ability of customers to peruse the world via the Internet means that they don't only have to buy from big name retailers who carry big name cosmetics and fragrances. They can purchase from anywhere, and the selection means that customer loyalty can easily shift. It's an opportunity and a detriment to the market. In this sphere, creative fragrance and custom cosmetic packaging could make or break whether a customer returns or not. 

Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging

Trends are usually cyclical, but when it comes to hyper-stylized industries, those trends take to take on new twists. With some foresight, designers can find inspiration while retaining classic elements. 

For more information on the topic, refer to:

2016 fragrance packaging trends that will still matter in the New Year

By Deanna Utroske, 21-Dec-2016

Novelty beauty packaging comes and goes, but a few trends Cosmetics Design covered this year will carry over into 2017—for fine fragrance and perhaps some other categories as well.

Goodbye High School, Hello Welcome Kit

Springtime is more than a season of new beginnings. For those completing high school, it’s the season of gowns, tassels, and warm cheese at graduation parties.  As the class of 2016 leaves high school behind with literal ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ college becomes the next new frontier. Things just got real, so to speak. The excitement of getting accepted to a university might be slowly replaced with fear of the unknown. After all, for many kids, this is the first time they’ve left home for a sustained period of time. They might not know anybody, and they’ve just said goodbye to the friends and classmates with whom their entire social circle has comprised of up to this point. This is the perfect time for the freshman student experience folks to kick in, and send the welcome kit.

welcome kit from the University of NebraskaWhat’s a welcome kit?

Glad you asked. A welcome kit is the introduction to the institution. It might be sent all at one time, like opening a giant, college-themed gift, or it adopt a more just-in-time model where accepted students learn more gradually, and at times which it makes sense to perform actions like completing the FAFSA, registering for classes, things like that. However, while the materials should be helpful and informative, they should also impart the core values of the institution.

 

In this example (recently created for the University of Nebraska – Omaha), newly-accepted students received a small, pocket sized folder, welcoming them to the institution. Note that it identifies them as a student by associating them with the university’s mascot and iconic red and black. The die cut cavity inside is a key-shaped USB drive. On the USB drive are materials that might have formerly been printed out. A new student guide, checklist, things that previously cost the institution a pretty penny in paper, ink and postage, now condensed into a keepsake package.

gp-front-back

welcome kit from the University of Nebraska

This folder kit not allows the institution to save money (and not a few trees in reducing paper), but also helps guide the new Maverick a bit more. By placing materials on the USB drive, you can highlight certain things digitally where, in paper, it wouldn’t be possible. As the incoming class are also digital natives, this way of accessing information is more natural to them. It also provides the institution the opportunity to share things with the student in a way that meets their preferred learning style: reading, listening, and/or watching.

Some might feel like the tangible element of receiving a packet in the mail is lost, and that valuable real estate for information-sharing is cut down. I would counter that argument by looking at how Nebraska optimized the back of the folder kit with all the different ways to keep in touch with the institution (social channels figure prominently).  The design is done in such a way to enhance the presentation of the package, and not detract from it. Sunrise takes pride in crafting a box design that fits the needs of the customer.  This style–a trifold–could hold a variety of things.  Coins, gift cards, USBs are just the tip of the iceberg.

And isn’t that what going to the university should be – just the tip of the iceberg?

Out-Of-The-Box Custom Boxes

Custom boxes or packaging are the best way to catch the eye of a customers. If your product is new to the market, unique packaging is practically a necessity. We offer a variety of cool packaging concepts, but some places take it to another level. Sometimes eco-friendly, always creative, these packages are the serendipitous results of marketing and manufacturing.

Full disclosure: we can’t personally make any of these boxes (and trust us, you don’t want to suffer through our baking skills). Sunrise Packaging focuses on custom rigid boxes, designed to high standards with luxurious finishing touches. While the products below definitely bring a unique vibe to presentation packaging, Sunrise products always convey luxury.

Our favorite out-of-the-box custom boxes are…

  1. The Pizza Box Pizza
    Vinnie’s Pizzeria in New York is reinterpreting sustainability. Their pizza box pizza is, literally, a pizza within a box made of pizza. You can eat your box, then eat the pizza. Our only question: do you get to choose the flavor of the box? (UPDATE: the flavor is non-negotiably their personal Sicilian style).

    Custom boxes made of pizza

    Courtesy of Vinnie’s Pizzeria

  2. Come Home Gazpacho Andaluz
    The quandary of how to carry multiple bottles easily and without occupying both hands has been tackled in the liquor world, but not so much in other food and beverage arenas.  Gazpacho Andaluz answers that question with this box. It’s a one-handed operation with proper weight distribution. We’re loving the minimal, yet iconic, design. Sunrise doesn’t use these types of materials.  Our focus is on higher-quality and resistant types of packaging, but this is definitely a custom design.

    Custom boxes holding gazpacho

    Courtesy of Come Home

  3. Nude Jr. Strawberry Milk
    Milk comes from cows. Strawberries come out of the ground. Put them together, and the packaging is what you get. If drinking out of a strawberry-inspired udder is weird, don’t worry. The opening is at the top.  While Sunrise does do custom plastic packaging, this isn’t one of them.

    Custom boxes and packaging for strawberry milk

    Courtesy of Nude Jr Strawberry Milk

  4. Sapore di Nonna Pasta
    Pasta. One of the few foods that’s completely scalable in how it’s prepared, and enjoyed equally by poor college students and those in higher tax brackets. It’s delicious.  Not in our wheelhouse, but fun. This product includes pasta and the spices to enhance it, but here’s the catch: it’s actually an invitation to Sapore di Nonna’s launch party.

    Custom boxes and packaging for pasta and invitation

    Courtesy of Breno Cardoso

While all of these custom boxes are unique, there are several other aspects that went into their creation and design. Each one houses not only a product, but embodies the brand as well. The best custom boxes are the result of collaborations, both internally and with vendor selected to create it. As one of the premiere creators of custom boxes and packaging in Minnesota, Sunrise Packaging works closely with clients to develop quality products that reflect the organization.

Sunrise Packaging works closely with clients to create memorable experiences.  Rather than the above, though, we use other methods. Like foil stamp packaging, thermoforming, and turned edges, to name a few. What do you want to convey with your packaging?

6 Eco Friendly Ideas for Post-Consumer Corrugated Cardboard

 

cardboard-boxes1

So What Do You Do with Your Custom Corrugated Boxes After They Serve Their Purpose?

 

Recycle them, of course. That’s obvious. We all know that generating post-consumer waste is nearly unavoidable in the retail market, but corrugated cardboard is an eco friendly post-consumer fiber that is easily recycled. And it’s place in retail as light-but-durable packaging is widely celebrated.

 

But how are you going to recycle it? I’m not talking about the route you take to the recycling center. I’m talking about the step in between. You know about that step, right? The part where your post-consumer corrugated cardboard becomes the key to crafting? The doorway to imagination? I mean, you’ve heard about that, right?

 

Custom corrugated boxes are eco friendly. But they’re also kid friendly. You’ve seen it before: some birthday or Christmas where the box gets more mileage than the toy inside. Kids love cardboard. Parents: don’t be discouraged by this–embrace it! Get that kid a box and let them go hog wild!

 

Recently, I wrote about how corrugated cardboard has been vital to prototyping my own board game. Yes, the cardboard box has become coveted in my household. Brown Gold, we call it. But it got me thinking: there’s a lot of awesome ways for kids to use corrugated cardboard boxes that can be quite beneficial to their creativity (and the environment). Here’s a few, just off the top of my head.

 

Make a Puzzlepost-consumer corrugated cardboard for custom board games and puzzles

Puzzles are one of the most timeless toys in history. Going to the store to pick one out is fun…but how about making one? Take a piece of corrugated cardboard and either draw right on it, or glue on a picture. Flip it over and sketch out the pieces. The cutting part might need a little supervision–or maybe an adult with an Exacto knife–but at the end, you’ll have a thick, sturdy puzzle made to your exact specifications. Definitely a good project for a rainy afternoon.
 

Make a “Layer Sculpture”

Keep those scissors handy. Break down some corrugated cardboard boxes and cut out a base for your sculpture. Essentially, you’re going to become a 3-D printer, crafting your little statue layer by layer from the ground up. Stencil out the next piece so that it fits within the confines of the base, and so on and so on. Eventually with a little stacking and glue, you’ll have a layer sculpture. A castle spire, the Statue of Liberty. You can even make yourself that Academy Award you’ve always deserved.

 

Make a Giant Interactive Board Game

Now this use for corrugated cardboard will really get you moving around! Breakdown a repurposed cardboard box or two. Or three, or four, or five. (A good old B-Flute RSC Box would be perfect.) Use the flaps as spaces for a giant board game. Get out the markers and crayons to add rules and regulations to the spaces. Collect 200 Pennies or Win a Candy Bar or whatever! Half the fun of making a board game is making up the rules. And making a giant, fully-interactive board game that can go around the house, through the yard, or all of the above will definitely getting the creative motors running. And don’t forget the giant cardboard box dice! 

 

Make Room!

Sure this is fun for kids, but it’s also good for parents, right? Use some repurposed cardboard boxes to create a den of storage cubbies. Or turn existing shelving a little more personal and private by creating custom drawers for each member of the family. Everybody needs more space. Stack’em up and see that precious floor space you’ve been missing!

 

Make Stencils

I use this a lot in my board game design when I need to draw a particular shape or symbol over and over again. Take a sturdy piece of corrugated cardboard and cut out a cool shape. Now you have a template for drawing shapes again and again, and the best part is they’ll be personalized to what you like drawing! Maybe you’re a 5-leaf clover fan, or partial to crescent moons! The options are endless!

 

Make a Robot

box bot, eco friendly idea for post-consumer corrugated cardboard

 

 

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t suggest making a robot to someone. But a custom box made of corrugated cardboard makes the perfect robot parts. 5 or 6 of them stacked together make for all the components of a robot. With very sizes and shapes of boxes, you can make a pretty unique bot. Make it a mini, or life-sized. Just try not to give it artificial intelligence–I’ve heard that ends poorly.

 

 

 

 

Whew! That should hold you for awhile, right? Two rainy saturdays, at the very least. These ideas are all fine and well, but it’s important to remember what it means for the environment. Every time you get a little more use out that custom packaging or corrugated box before the recycling bin, you’re contributing to the fight against post-consumer waste. Granted the eco friendly nature of corrugated cardboard plays its part in that battle, but why not get something creative out of the deal while you’re at it? After all, it’s a lot easier to utilize something than figure out how to properly dispose of it.

 


 

Luxury Packaging Afterlife: The Post-Consumer Purpose

Post-Consumer Waste. What does it mean?

 

Simplified, it means what you do with the box after you’ve opened your purchase. Do you toss it in the trash? Or do you find a way to utilize it, repurpose it.

 

At Sunrise Packaging, we try to use recyclable materials whenever possible. Eco-binders made from recyclable material and utilizing eco friendly, vegetable-based ink. Aqueous print coatings preserve paper from yellowing, making products more reusable, and they’re water-based. Using grades of plastic for thermoforming that can be recycled. In fact, RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) is a polymer made using reclaimed post-consumer material.

recyclable corrugated cardboard cuts back on post-consumer waste

When you think about it, our packaging lends itself quite well to the fight against post-consumer waste. Even though they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, luxury packaging and corrugated cardboard boxes can both cut back on post-consumer waste. How? Well, with a little imagination for starters.

 

Let’s start with luxury packaging. The brilliance of luxury packaging is that it’s not only eye-catching, it adds value to the product itself. The same upscale element that makes it attractive in stores, makes it somewhat of a keepsake in the post-consumer market. Fine packaging can be used and reused as gift boxes and storage long after they’ve served their purpose. I use a magnetic cigar-style box to hold the components of a board game I’m designing. It feels like an heirloom. That magnetic strip, the soft–touch lamination–that’s something I can proudly display on my bookshelf. Not meant for refuse.

repurposed magnetic cigar style box for board game design, turned edges, upscale, post-consumer

On the other side of the coin, rugged, durable corrugated cardboard–still a staple of modern packaging–is designed to be used again and again, and yet is recycled and recyclable. Now that’s eco friendly! Think of the last time you reused a corrugated cardboard box. I bet it wasn’t that long ago. Something always needs moving, lifting, or transporting. And cardboard, with its varying flutes, was there for you. While custom cardboard boxes don’t always have the flash of, let’s say, a rigid two-piece setup box, or the stiffness of a chipboard, but they are lightweight, disposable, and endlessly reusable.

 

 

Corrugated Cardboard and Rigid Chipboard: The Eco Friendly Odd Couple

 

Two different materials, used in different ways, both contributing to the fight against post-consumer waste. One with staying power, and one that bows out gracefully when the time comes. It might take a little imagination–heck, it might take a lot of imagination–but there’s always an eco friendly (re)purpose for packaging, luxury or rugged. All things to consider for your next custom box or packaging project. Do you want to be the heirloom? Or the bottom of the bin?


 

 

New Holiday Packaging for the Elf on the Shelf

Summer is over and it’s time to start discussing Christmas! Okay, maybe not yet. But some holiday packaging markets are already preparing for the snowy season ahead.

One yuletide tradition you can expect to see a little early is the Elf on the Shelf thanks to a little help from Sunrise Packaging.

An Old Tradition Gets a New Look with Corrugated Holiday Packaging

If you’re not familiar with Elf on the Shelf–well, where have you been? Apparently not on Facebook. According to just about any family’s photo uploads, the seemingly timeless tradition of a rambunctious Elf (hailing from the Shelf) carries on year after year. This mischievous little critter appears to be the scapegoat for a wide variety of good-hearted, Toy Story-esque pranks around the house. But how exactly does the Elf get on one’s shelf? That’s where holiday packaging comes in.

Elf on the Shelf custom boxes, corrugated cardboard, b-flute

The (in)famous history of the Elf on the Shelf can be traced back to 2004. Over a cup of tea, an erstwhile mother-daughter duo decided to make a time-honored family tradition into a global phenomenon. Legend has it that Santa dispatches helper Elves around the world come December to keep an eye on families and make sure that the holiday magic is running high. This is the reason the Elf is often caught off the Shelf in a covert location. What results is a month-long game of hide and seek and, more importantly, a tradition the whole family can take part in.

 

But the Elf has to get delivered somehow and apparently Santa thinks holiday packaging is the best vehicle (other than the sleigh, of course). This beautiful custom box crafted by Sunrise Packaging. A 4-color printing finished with Custom Holiday Packaging from Sunrise Packaging, MNan eco-friendly aqueous print coating displays the warm colors of the season. These custom RSC boxes are made of B-Flute corrugated cardboard for a combination of durability and cushion, holding up in transit as well as storage between holiday seasons.

 

Sunrise was able to deliver on this holiday packaging just a week after art approvals. At that rate, Christmas could almost come twice a year! In any case, the Elf on the Shelf custom box was a pleasure to work on. A truly lovely piece of holiday packaging that will hopefully be a part of your family’s traditions this Christmas season. You can almost taste the eggnog, can’t you?

Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) and the Five Easies

plastic retail packaging, retail ready packaging, shelf ready packaging, customized thermoformed product packaging

 

It almost sounds like a rock band, doesn’t it? “RRP and the Five Easies.” In actuality, RRP stands for Retail Ready Packaging and it’s only about the biggest growing development in custom packaging marketing–and it’s still growing. Projections put RRP demand to increase by 70% in 2016. But RRP isn’t the new kid on the block: Smithers Pira Research reported a total market volume of 27 million tons–$54 billion worth–back in 2011 alone.

 

So what is Retail Ready Packaging?

 

Retail Ready Packaging (or Shelf Ready Packaging, SRP) is difficult to define. The ECR generalizes it as a “term used for mechanisms to merchandise product on shelf, on display, on retail store floor on its own base, or at aisle end.”

 

RRP and SRP might be more clearly defined by their guidelines, their motivating factors. Which is where the 5 Easies come in.

 

retail ready packaging, five easies, rrp guidelines

Image: Retail Ready Packaging Toolkit

 

Easy to Identify

 

Clear-cut, straightforward packaging is good for both consumer and staff alike. If your staff can tell what it is right from the box, they’ll be able to get it on the shelf faster while stocking. On the flip side, your customer will be able to get it off the shelf that much faster too.

 

Easy to Open

 

Ever struggle with a package or envelope? Seems like the more you want it, the harder it is to open. A corrugated box with perforations is one of the simplest solutions, able to tear open with ease. Even better if the overall packaging for the product can tear open into the display itself. Again, easy for the stocker as well as the consumer.

 

Easy to Shelf

 

Shelf Ready Packaging means the product is ready to be put on the shelf. Thus, your package design needs to ride the line between marketable and eye-catching, but also sturdy and secure. The right custom packaging can solve both of those issues and get your product to your buyer much quicker.

 

Easy to Shop

 

This relates back to “Easy to Identify”–the easier it is for a customer to know what they’re getting, the more likely they are to choose your product. Transparency in product via the packaging print. Making sure there are no roadblocks between the product and the hands of you potential customer.

 

Easy to Dispose

 

It’s the cold hard facts–eventually your Retail Ready Packaging will have served its purpose. At which point, it needs to “go on to a better place.” This plays a factor in deciding what material to use. Something easily recyclable is the best case scenario. However, this guideline isn’t just preaching an eco-friendly song, it also relates to easily identifying the recycling information. Is it recyclable? Is it made from recycled paper? What type of plastic is it? All of this should be taken into consideration in today’s market.

 

Bottom Line

 

When choosing your custom packaging, RRP needs to be at the forefront. There are a lot of hands on your product between you and your customers. The more confusing–or crushable–your Retail Ready Packaging, the longer the time is before they actually purchase it. And that lost time can mean lost dollars.
So remember: Easier for your stockers. Easier for your buyers. Easier for your wallet.

What’s Trending in High-End Custom Packaging

Custom mag box with softtouch lamination for presentation packaging and sales kits

We’re reaching the back nine of 2015. It’s time to paint the shed, so to speak. If you haven’t had your finger on the pulse of custom packaging, now’s the time to catch up.

Earlier this year, Andrew Gibbs, well-known CEO of The Dieline, highlighted some of the trends in custom packaging. In an article written for the Creative Bloq, Gibbs points to 4 emerging hot spots in the world of package design:

 

  • Visual authenticity a revival of raw, freeform, or handdrawn graphics
  • Luxury of lesssubtle, texture-based iconography and design
  • Ultra-purea simple, clean look, perhaps most notably used by Apple
  • Bio-basedpackaging that’s sustainable, or “environmentally responsible”

 

 

Rigid-set-up-box-11.02.14

Are these trends mutually exclusive though? While Gibbs tends to point to these as separate entities, perhaps business owners can glean a singular lesson from this list. It would appear that clients and consumers alike are looking towards a clean and simple look. They are looking for transparency, integrity, and a product they can feel good about dispersing. Luckily these elements go hand in hand.

But make no mistake: these elements, though subtle and simple and interconnected, are still design choices. Turned-edge packaging, soft touch laminated surfaces, foil stamping and embossing are more important now than ever in establishing that clean, clinical look. And, more importantly, the quality in which these processes are completed needs to be sharper than ever. Making something look handmade is an overlooked artform. Looking sloppy and being sloppy are two different things–and yet immediately recognized by today’s consumer.

 

Customers Unhappy with Wasteful Packaging

retail packagingHermes, a delivery company, conducted a study concerning packaging by online retailers. The reality is that online retailers that overdo packaging for their product are putting themselves at risk of backlash from consumers. About 67% of consumers admit to receiving a delivery from a retailer with wasteful and excessive packaging. Also, 70% of respondents felt that retailers should be doing more to minimize the environmental impact of home delivery. The majority of respondents also struggled to name a specific retail that they believe to be excelling in sustainable shipping practices. The results of this research shows that the use of inappropriate packaging has an adverse affect on the overall online shopping experience. Consumers are unhappy about the amount of waste, as well as having to deal with disposing of the packaging.