Magnet Boxes: FitBit Blaze Packaging Review

Wearables have been heralded as the next frontier for technology. While the success of Google Glass might be up for discussion, the same doesn’t apply to fitness trackers. Particularly when it comes to FitBit.  There are a ton of trackers out there, but FitBit seems to retain a magic hold on the public. I was an early adopter to the wearable trend, and loved my FitBit from the get-go. I recently upgraded to the Blaze (my third upgrade within five years or so). It’s always great to see a company invest in great packaging, and FitBit includes some great options in their magnet boxes. 

Qualities of Magnet Boxessleeve boxes

Magnet boxes are durable and appealing to the eye and the touch, as well as a popular option for retail custom boxes. They can protect goods without extra protection. The FitBit Blaze also features a paperboard sleeve around it in white. The magnet box, in a contrasting blue, has no marks beyond the FitBit logo on the magnet flap. The custom sleeve design is where the main marketing focus comes into play.

The FitBit Blaze custom magnet box has laminated finishing, which makes the colors bright and vibrant and draws the eye to the picture of the object inside. It’s a little bit of that Apple austerity, but the ‘Gold Series’ calls attention, as well as the iconography. The text is kept to a minimum, but there are some features included on the front, with more on the back. 

The main features included on the front are the ones that make the Blaze different from the other models. It’s a good move to illustrate those things up front. From a consumer perspective, it’s always a concern regarding how different models are from each other–especially when there’s a price difference of $100.  This allows a shopper to view the differences without having to grab each one, turn them over, and compare that way. All they have to do is look at the display and get an idea for what the product looks like and what it can do for them. magnet boxes

Looking at the custom sleeve box in more detail, the back offers quick bits of information in a bullet-like style, enabling shoppers again to get the gist just from a quick scan. One of my favorite features on the box is along the side. Sizing can be problematic for anyone. I have, really, no idea what the circumference of my wrist is, so when the specs say that a small is XX inches and a large is XX inches, it means nothing to me.  But FitBit takes that brain-buster out of the equation by including a wrist sizing tool on the box. This tells customers what size they should purchase. Without having to track down a tape measure. 

Custom Packaging for the Future

When it comes to wearables, the options are limitless. While one might think that the packaging should be something more sophisticated, or stark, or whatever, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the user. FitBit does a great job integrating function with design, especially when it comes to helping shoppers understand the differences in their products. 

 

 

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.

Custom Cigar Boxes: Timeless & Elegant

Finding a box that's truly versatile is a harder task that it sounds. We love custom cigar boxes because, simply put, they're classic. It's a style of box associated with cigars, naturally, but there's something both Old World and modern about it. Depending on the design, a single box style can take on multiple personalities. While the classic cigar-style box presents convenience and ease of opening, it also naturally heightens the luxury and elegance factor. It's clear to see why this is one of our most popular styles, isn't it?

Features of Custom Cigar Boxes

  • Classic style
    From a new baby to weddings, cigars (and cigar boxes) are synonymous with celebrating and good feelings. The style lends itself to presentation, begging to be opened to whomever the custom box is presented.

  • Large variety of finishing options 
    Inlaid foil for your logo? Check. Colored chipboard to match branding guidelines? Check. Nearly anything you can think of, Sunrise Packaging can figure it out. Okay maybe not *everything* but we can try.

  • Interior organization
    It doesn't matter what's going inside the box. What matter is that, when the customer opens it, everything is in its place. Select an option that fits your budget and keeps your product safe.
custom cigar boxes
  • High quality materials = instant keepsake
    One of my favorite things growing up was a literal cigar box from my grandfather. While Sunrise doesn't deal in the wood and metal locking devices (my favorite features of my cigar box), we can utilize high quality materials. It'll help ensure that your custom cigar boxes are valued by customers for days to come.

  • Ability to recreate this iconic scene from Pretty Woman
    It probably won't involve early 90's Richard Gere, but we can't all be that lucky.

Custom cigar boxes are our go-to suggestion when it comes to a box style that conveys instant luxury and nostalgia. Everyone has a memory involving a cigar-style box. It's our job to make it's a positive one. Contact a representative today to learn more about finishing options and putting your own spin on this classic style.

Premium Packaging Drives Demand

The importance of packaging has always resided in its connotations. A plain brown paper wrapping might appear innocuous. But in previous decades, it might have hid a salacious purchase (at least, that's what David Hyde Pierce's 'Down With Love' character has led me to believe).  In 2016, people might be a little less inhibited, but packaging is still just as important. Especially premium packaging. In this era of internet shopping, subscription boxes, and a rapidly-growing marketplace, retailers need to find ways to hook customers and, ideally, turn them into repeat shoppers. Products need to find ways to stand out. According to a recent survey, investing in premium packaging is a one of the best ways for companies to do this. 

Premium packaging

Premium Packaging as a Hook

Dotcom Distribution recently released a survey on driving customer loyalty.  They surveyed nearly 600 shoppers to find out what makes them tick. Or more accurately, what makes them return to certain retailers, and what makes them take their business elsewhere. One of the top ways in which retailers can retain customer is by investing in premium packaging, or custom retail boxes. 

Tips to Retain Customers

According to Dotcom Distribution, consumers look for and reward: 

  • Same day shipping options--in fact, fast shipping was even more important than product quality.
  • Premium packaging. Boxes that make products feel like opening a present, or turn a mundane process into an event (check out Sunrise's custom box section for ideas). 
  • Error-free and transparent fulfillment process. Understandably, customers want to receive the correct order, and like to know when something is processing, then shipping, and when it's going to arrive. 

However, customer loyalty can be fickle. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed chose not to return to a business with whom they felt the shipping and fulfillment process wasn't clear enough. However, that negative experience might be redeemed with premium packaging. If a company offers premium packaging, 40% of respondents would give the organization a second chance, and 50% would be more likely to refer them as well. 

The key takeaways are two investments. The first lies in designing a process that keeps the customer in the loop.  Automation through a CRM can handle this. The second investment should be in product packaging. Specialized packaging demands specialized solutions, which is what Minnesota-based Sunrise Packaging does best. Bring elements of innovation to both your fulfillment and your packaging, and it's all but certain that you'll grow a repeat customer base. At least, that's what Dotcom Distribution has found to be true!

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. 

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.

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. 

A Champagne Box Worth Buying: Dom Pérignon

It's July in Minnesota, which means that we're in the heart of summer. Despite being a state known for snow and winter sports, we take summer pretty seriously in the land of 10,000 lakes. While some might argue that cold beer is the best companion on a hot day, I agree that it does the job in a pinch--but a glass of bubbly is even better. Effervescent and refreshing, champagne is a surprisingly perfect pairing for not only toasts (seriously - try it with scrambled eggs or potato chips). Champagne has an interesting history, and the best products are imbued with their own stories. One of the best known brands, Dom Pérignon, has an especially storied history. There's quite a bit stuffed into this champagne box. 

The History of a Great House

For a sparkling wine to be called champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France. That's where we're starting this story, in France circa 1668. Dom Pierre Pérignon was a French Benedictine monk. While he didn't *invent* champagne, the Dom heavily influenced how it was made in a time when the region primarily produced red wines. While it might sound strange that a monastery controlled a vineyard, it wasn't uncommon in medieval France. Even today, authentic Trappist beers are brewed in monasteries. Today, it makes money; at the time, it was just another beverage. 

Back to champagne. The region of Champagne had been known as a wine produce since Roman times, but it was competing with neighbor Burgundy for production and quality. As cellarmaster, Dom Pérignon took great strides in increasing the quality and quantity of wines from the region. His accomplishments include:

Dom Perignon champagne box from Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=462004
  • Being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve the quality of wines, balance one element with another in order to make a better whole, and deal with a number of their imperfections
  • Perfecting the art of producing clear white wines from black grapes by clever manipulation of the presses
  • Enhancing the tendency of Champagne wines to retain their natural sugar in order to naturally induce secondary fermentation in the Spring
  • Being a master at deciding when to bottle these wines in order to capture the bubble
  • Introducing corks (instead of wood), which were fastened to bottles with hemp string soaked in oil in order to keep the wines fresh and sparkling, and used thicker glass in order to strengthen the bottles (which were prone to explode at that time)

Basically, he established wine-making principles that are still in use today. 

Dom Perignon champagne box from http://www.jamesbondlifestyle.com/

A Champagne Box for the Ages

Over the years, the demand for Dom Pérignon has only grown.  Economics is all about supply and demand: when supply is limited, demand is higher. As a vintage champagne, all the grapes must be harvested in the same year. And, if it was a weak year for grapes, it's not made at all. Since 1921, there have been 41 vintages; it's extremely rare for harvests to result in a vintage multiple years in a row. When your goal is bottled perfection, it's obvious that not every year will yield the best. 

Dom Pérignon, despite the demand from royalty and rappers alike, never compromises for quality. A luxury product needs luxury packaging, and while Minnesota-based Sunrise doesn't make their boxes, we're enamored of the custom set up champagne box style utilized. 

Cosmetic Box Review: Dior Backstage Pros Solution Set

Cosmetic box sets are usually a way to get a little more bang for your buck. Sometimes there might be exclusive shades or add-ins, or a make-up bag, or some other kind of hook for consumers. One brand that bucks this trend, especially when it comes to cosmetics, is Dior. It’s rare to see their products discounted in any way, and buying a set (like the Backstage Pros Gift Set) doesn’t save much more money than buying each product individually.

I don’t mind this, to be honest. I would rather buy shades and products that work for my skin without feeling pressured to buy a set of which I would only use half of the products. However, I am a sucker for great packaging, and the Dior Backstage Pros Solution cosmetic box is gorgeous.  It’s classy and understated, and clearly high-end. Two piece setup boxes have a rigidity and sturdiness that elevates them from something that goes out with the recycling to something in which you store keepsakes.  And that’s true even if it isn’t emblazoned with ‘Dior.’

But back to the products.

Included in This Cosmetic Box

(and with translation below):Dior luxury catwalk cosmetic box

  • Diorshow Maximizer
    “Mascara serum base, lash amplifying effect”
  • Diorshow Brow Styler in 001 Universal Brown
    “Ultra fine precision brow pencil”
  • Dior Addict Lip Maximizer in 001 Pink
    “Collagen active lip-gloss”
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow in 001 Pink
    “Color awakening lip balm”
  • Nail Glow
    “Instant French manicure/brightening effect”

Full disclosure: I wouldn’t have bought the set if it didn’t work with my skin tones, but luckily, 001 Pink is one of faves. It’s subtle and slightly plumping without being overwhelming, and it works on a variety of skin tones.

Same goes for the 001 brow styler, which gives a natural brow look.  Unlike cheaper pencils, which give off too much powder or waxiness.  Some online reviews have criticized the amount received for the price. When it comes to make-up, I’m a firm believer that quality is more important than quantity. However, I will admit to not being 100% sold on the Maximizer mascara. My eyelashes are very fine, and this tends to add more gunk than desired volume to them. It’s entirely possible I need application lessons, but this is the only product in the cosmetic box that I wouldn’t purchase on its own.

But back to a high note: Dior’s nail glow is worth every penny for ladies whose nails tend to chip otherwise. Reviews have noted the strong acetone scent, but c’mon…it’s nail polish! The shade works for my nails, leaving the nail tips looking whiter and rest slightly pink, as promised with the instant French manicure advertising. I know, I know, I didn’t believe it either, but try it out.

Cosmetic Box…Not by Sunrise (but just you wait)

This cosmetic box isn’t a product by Sunrise, but we do a pretty bang-up job with custom setup boxes. We’ll have some exciting news regarding this particular style in the next few months, too…so hold onto your seats in anticipation.

Contact a sales rep for more information!

What’s in a Printing Technique?

While it's true that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, the adage doesn't quite extend to product packaging. Packaging makes a first impression and a lasting one at that. It's what might draw someone to your product, and draw them back again. Choosing the right printing technique plays a key part in making an impression (pun slightly intended).  

At Sunrise Packaging, the printing techniques which you can use include:

Printing techniques not only enhance design, but lend a tactile quality to packaging. Who can see an embossed design and not run their fingers over it? By appealing to multiple senses, it enhances the user's experience with your product before they've even opened it up.

Debossing printing technique example

Embossing and Debossing Printing Technique

Embossing and debossing are similar processes with opposite effects.  While both involve a mounted plate making impressions, embossing produces a raised impression while debossing creates a depressed impression.  Both techniques give the final product some texture, making the packaging irresistible to fingers running over the design.  The example to the left shows debossing; note that either can be used in conjunction with foil printing.

Foil Stamping Printing Technique

As noted above, both embossing or debossing can be used with foil stamping for an impactful, striking image.  Known as hot foil stampers, foil stamping machines use heat to transfer metallic foil to a solid surface. As a permanent process, it's popular for products with longevity: luxury keepsakes, like the Minnesota Vikings package to the right, branded items for photographers, or any business which needs to make their mark.

Foil stamping printing technique
Silk screening printing technique

Silk Screening / Screen Printing Technique

In silk screening or screen printing, a stencil forms open areas of mesh that allow ink to transfer to the material. A roller then rolls across the stencil, forcing ink into the desired space. This method, possibly familiar to you from custom t-shirt designs, is usually employed on boxes (like the Kentucky Derby example) or binders. 

Print Coating Printing Technique

Print coatings not only enhance but also help protect the design. The coating can protect against the effects of repeated use, extreme temperatures, moisture, things that threaten the integrity and longevity of a box, binder, or other type of packaging.  There are several types of print coatings. Each come with their own pros and cons; check out some of the options below, or chat with an expert for recommendations based on your needs!

  • Overprint varnish is the most cost efficient type of print coating.  It provides a mild shine and some protection. 
  • Aqueous contains protective sealants yet is environmentally-friendly as it is water-based. It's fairly glossy, per the example, and won't yellow over time.
  • Laminates has two options: film and liquid based. They're very effective in protecting from water and provide wipe-able surfaces. 
  • UV Coating is liquid-based and applied/cured by UV lamps. Its main advantages include the highest gloss out of these options, better clarity and higher abrasion/rub resistance. 

Contact a representative to find out which options fit your product and your budget!