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!

What is a Designer Box?

Let’s start with what a designer box isn’t: plain cardboard.

Medela-OpenedIf you’re shipping out blouses, candy, promotional material, or whatever in uninspired packaging, you might as well be replace the word FRAGILE with DON’T BOTHER OPENING.

But why? A box is a box is a box, right? False. If that were true, everything you ever ordered online would arrive as though it were homemade cookies from your great aunt: cardboard, duct tape, and a scribbled address. But companies don’t spend all this time and money on cultivating top-tier products just to have them look like something you bought from somebody on eBay. Sure, there’s lots to love about corrugated. It’s cheap, padded, and disposable…but are those really words you want associated with your product?

Even e-retailers are being told to “ditch the brown box” by experts. Frankly, it’s a little on the boring side. Not to mention, it’s hard to establish brand identity with a box that looks like everyone else’s. Which brings us to the designer box.

Like designer anything, a designer box has features. It could be a unique opening, something outside the standard top flaps. Maybe it’s shiny foil trim, gold or silver. Perhaps it’s embossed handwriting, magnetic clasps, or a flocked interior. Maybe it’s all of the above.

gate_fold_designer_box_minnesota_vikings

One place to start is packaging that is rigid. This means the walls of the box are assembled using chipboard, a condensed form of cardboard that mimics the stiffness of thin particleboard. You might have experienced this type of packaging in smartphone packaging, or even with high-end board games. The result is more durability and, ultimately, reusability. That’s another designer difference: boxes can be eco-friendly as the day is long, but reusable packaging is smart packaging. It’s multifunctional, and therefore valuable. Pop quiz. What’s the better choice for bagging your groceries–paper or plastic? The answer is actual secret option C, a reusable bag. No matter the material, disposable products still contribute to waste.

As with most things, it’s important to remember your audience. Or maybe, recipients in this case. If your product is an all-organic, environmentally-minded soap, you might not want to include all the bells and whistles on your packaging. (You might not want to have packaging at all, but good luck with that at retail.) In this case, you might want to opt for the cardboard box. But that doesn’t mean you can’t spruce it up–even eBay knows that. And it’s totally possible with soy-based inks and water-based coatings. But for items with a higher price tag (think: electronics, tools, clothing), don’t you want packaging that matches the quality of your product? More than that, don’t you want the security and storage that comes along with designer packaging?

Upgrade Your Box

turned edge hinge box

What do you think of when you think of box packaging? A plain cube? 6 equal sides? A brown cardboard brick? Seems uninspired. But there’s so much more. So let’s talk about a…

Packaging Upgrade

 

If you’ve looked through our gallery then, spoiler alert, you know we’ve already thrown the idea of a ‘boring box’ out the window. The days of basic are over when it comes to retail and promotional packaging. A box needs to be salesperson, showcasing a product or organization when nobody else can. Let’s go over a few packaging upgrades that can give a box a standout presence.

Magnets

The slickest, coolest, most secure upgrade, magnets make the difference. Whether you opt for hidden magnetic tabs that snap lids shut with invisible power, or an ornate clasp straight from a castle gate, this element adds a sophistication that is the difference between post-consumer waste and reusable heirloom.

Handles

Not only does a handle turn a box into a stylish makeshift briefcase, it also adds a lot of functionality. A presentation kit that can be transported easier, is something worth keeping around. Something memorable. A custom handle box shows that you care about the end-user.

Windows

You’ve heard that eyes are the window to the soul, right? Well, flip it back on them! Put a window on your custom box for some all-around product transparency. Perhaps a stylish opening to show off a textured material, a clear plastic that offers a glimpse, or a thermoformed blister for including a sample.

Foil Stamping

Shiny! Embossing your logo into a rigid setup box already adds some dimension, but why not go all in on a foil stamp. This little upgrade adds a metallic sheen to your impression. Used tastefully, it’s the perfect complement and carries that look of richness.

Textures

The breakthroughs in textured wraps for packaging will blow you away. From suede to snakeskin, your box can tap into that tactile appeal that makes or breaks products in the marketplace. If you have a box that can’t be put down, that’s half the battle right there.

Pockets

An oldie-but-goodie. Pockets are awesome. Functional. A little sleeve for a business card, or an industrial pocket for literature and instructions. These hidden accessories set projects apart, bringing your clients back for more. Pro tip: sleeves are cool, but if you need to include a compact disc, consider adding adhesive disc hubs to turn a binder or box into an instant DVD case.

Foam

Stop thinking bubble bath, are start thinking contoured support. Die-cut foam inserts inside your custom marketing kit are the pinnacle of professionalism. Clean, crisp, and cut to the exact specifications of your product, a foam insert not only stores securely, it displays elegantly.

Tech (of the Future)

As electronics become more and more inconspicuous, the easier they can be added to custom packaging products. RFID tags embedded in a box can either be used for instant package tracking, or give your clients an almost magical link to your website (think: reordering) or social media account (think: likes!). The day is fast approaching that super thin video screens could allow you to present that Super Bowl-quality commercial upon opening.


 

These are just a few of the packaging upgrades available through Sunrise Packaging. Request a Quote for a quick and easy one-on-one with our experts! The only thing between you and getting noticed is a mouse click!

Award-Winning Packaging

It’s not impossible to find award-winning packaging.

There’s the Dieline Awards, the Luxury Packaging Awards…but packaging that wins a Grammy? That’s huge.

You might not know this, but there’s a category for the Grammy Awards that doesn’t get aired during the live telecast. Probably because the title is so long-winded, it would get cut short by the play-off music. The category is Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package and, since its inception in 1995, it’s usually presented at a ceremony preceding the awards show. And usually it’s given for some specialty artwork or cool inclusive. But this year’s BBSLEP–woof–Grammy Award-winning packaging was really a showstopper.

The award was given to a trio consisting of Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood, and–no big deal–Jack White! That’s right, the talented musician, famous for bands like the Dead Weather and the White Stripes, has now picked up his 11th Grammy–but this time it’s for packaging! (Actually, his 10th was too, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)

grammy_award_winning_packaging_by_third_man_recordsWhite’s Third Man Records put out a monster collection titled The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32), featuring prolific hits from the early 20th century. To truly showcase this collection, White and his team opted for the luxury packaging route. The cool contents notwithstanding, the packaging is a stainless steel and polished aluminum case designed to evoke the art deco era of early radio. (Check out the video above!)

The packaging isn’t the most practical (the website claims that each case is handmade and it could take up to a month to ship) but with a $400 price tag, the final product better be a little better than a cardboard box.

You don’t have to package your product in a metal suitcase, but you have to respect the idea behind it. The flash, the majesty, the shelf presence of presentation packaging draws a crowd. And, in some cases, draws a famous award too.

Oh, by the way, last year’s Grammy in this category? Also went to Jack White for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One. Check out that award-winning packaging, plus all the other winners here.

Image: Third Man Store

Packaging That Ignites the Senses

InVitamin_facial_careYou already know that presentation packaging is a big deal. As a protective vessel, as the first thing a customer sees, as a storage device, now more than ever, a box is more than a box. Luxury packaging has its own voice. Maybe it screams from the shelf, or maybe it whispers. Either way, it is the draw of the proverbial “cover” that reals consumers in.

Artwork is the most basic step. Breathtaking visuals can draw the eye, while the simplicity of an elegant font can breathe value into a product simply by exuding charm. But if you’re looking to go one step further, the next logical step is tactile. A unique cover material can make all the difference. As simple as a silky soft-touch lamination or as complex as as textured snakeskin, an exotic wrap material is hard to put down. When a customer actually gets a product into their hands, that’s a good chunk of the battle. And if there’s something that feels soothing to the touch, well, that battle turns that much more in your favor.

But what’s the next step after that? The next evolution? We have touch and sight covered, what about the other 3 senses?

Marketing experts already know the key to selling is engaging as many senses as possible. You see this in every commercial and print ad. But now it seems the marketing world is taking things one step further. Targeting the consumer in the store, at the moment of decision, with multi-sensory triggers. Infant supply aisles that waft of baby powder, beach-scented swim trunk sections. Some of these innovations are already in play–but if you can’t control a particular stores marketing trends, then will the future of packaging include these extra sensory upgrades?

Imagine it. Wine packaging laced with the buttery notes of a fine cabernet. A tree-trimmer that smells like fresh-cut grass, or the air before a summer storm. With presentation packaging, these experiences aren’t far off. Packaging is all about innovation, and nothing is more innovative than an engaging, interactive experience.

Sunrise Packaging – 2015 and Beyond

JanlEblastAs the new year approaches, we reflect on 2015. Accomplishments and changes, the growth of the family. Learning from these things, all the while looking forward to the future.

For Sunrise Packaging, 2015 was a big year.

SwiftPack_new_product_2015For starters, we launched a variety of new products. Innovation was definitely the name of the game, this year. Custom projects such as the Front Open Box and Gate Fold Box transformed the definition of “box” in a big way. From the SwiftPack gift card holder, to the flat-shipping InstaBox, we looked for ways to reduce the time between initial design to shipping. The InstaBox (short for Instant Rigid Box) made an extraordinary stride in bridging the gap between luxury packaging and corrugated cardboard. A product that ships flat like corrugated, but assembles into upscale packaging when you need it. A major victory in the war on wasted space.

TdApiBpYou could say the InstaBox was a foray into hybrid packaging. That also became a theme of 2015. Our custom pads were already hybrid packaging–the combining of box and book–but products like the InstaBox and Sleeve Box followed suit, utilizing the best traits of our more popular custom boxes.

We also introduced our new PowerPad; custom power bank packaging to go with another new product. Power banks, like USB drives before them, are the latest promotional item rife with space for personalizing, and making the rounds at trade shows and conventions.

Power-PadPower banks are another step towards practical presentations. Products that not only look good, but serve a function too. Power banks make a great promotional giveaway because they have a reusable purpose, unlike a business card or novelty whistle. Presentation packaging can serve this same purpose. A box that retains its use as a presentable storage solution. Packaging that is worth more on your mantle than it is in the recycling bin. Creating reusable, post-consumer packaging around that theme was a big goal for us this year.

On the technical side, we started improving the user experience on our websites. SunPack.com, SunriseBoxes.com, and USBpackaging.net all got a much needed responsive makeover, with more improvements are planned for 2016. While it’s difficult to provide specifics on products which we make uniquely custom, we hope to create sites that inform as well as flow seamlessly, feeding into one another for the ultimate, easy-to-use interface.

Nov-SPECIAL

In the same vein, our biggest change was moving into a new facility earlier this month. That’s right, Sunrise Packaging now resides at:

1214 98th Ave NE
Blaine, MN 55434

 

Though it’s just down the road from our previous location, this new location offers more streamlined interaction between our sales team and manufacturing department. 2016 will be about running leaner to reduce overhead. More specialized equipment and less waste materials will mean faster turnaround time.

And while New Year’s is a time to reflect on changes and growth, it’s also a time to remember the staples. The gold standards, if you will. As our technology changes and our team grows, we will always provide the same exceptional customer service with a personal touch. After all, personalization is what we do, isn’t it? Our standards of quality will not get leaner. We will always deliver an exceptional product, customized to exactly the right fit.

Call it a resolution, but don’t call it new.

From our family to yours, Sunrise Packaging wishes you best for this new year.

And be sure to stick around. You’ll want to see what comes next.

The Netbox Adds Value to Vaping Kits

 

Vaping. It’s here. And if the numbers have anything to say, the e-cigarette movement is not going anywhere. If anything, it’s gaining momentum. Becoming a culture. With Vapefests popping up across the country and e-cigarette companies popping up left and right, it’s more important than ever for industry startups to lean on luxury packaging.

custom box with turned edge printing, magnets, and an upscale luxury presentation

Behold the Netbox!

If vaping is the future of smoking, then the NetBox is the future of e-cigarette packaging. These beautiful examples of custom turned-edge packaging are available with all the bells of whistles: soft-touch laminations, full-color printing, embossing and foil stamping. But, when it comes to vaping, this box is more than just for for show. Here are a few reasons, why a custom box like the Netbox can make a vaping kit shine.

 

Protects Vaping Components

Vaping is more than just picking up a pack of smokes at the gas station. It’s got a certain class and elegance. It also has parts–and not the disposable kind. The ‘e’ in e-cigarette means electronic, which means you can’t just roll a vaping device up in your shirt sleeve–or shouldn’t, rather. Quality vaping kits all contain basic components: an atomizer for heating the liquid, a battery, and cartridges, or containers for the liquid. These pieces are electronics and glass and should be properly packaged. Netboxes can be fit with diecut foam inserts or thermoformed plastic trays to hold these items. Protective packaging that’s also retail ready.

 

Doubles as Storage

Since an e-cigarette is more than just a stick, a custom box is a must. Without durable packaging, vaping kits couldn’t include all the necessary parts. And since those parts aren’t disposable, a vaper needs to be able to store the kit, either at home or on the go. Attractive packaging like the Netbox becomes an heirloom–a futuristic humidor for vaping technology.  There is a lot of pride amongst vapers. Custom mods and styles are all the rage. So giving the gift of sleek, luxurious storage that also leaves room for modifications is a strong selling point.

custom turned edge magnetic box for vaping kits

Adds Value to Vaping Kits

The humidor was once the hallmark of cigar aficionados, a symbol of regality and wealth. Vapers want that feeling as much as anyone else, and elegant custom packaging from the get-go sends the message of class and sophistication. The NetBox is a magnet box, which is already a cool feature. That smooth, subtle snap of a magnetic tab sends the message of high-end. Upscale packaging goes a long way in an industry focused on appearance.
In the end, whether vaping kits or a marketing kits, it always comes back to presentation. If you want someone to take pride in your product, the first step is taking pride in it yourself. And that starts with the suit it’s wearing.


 

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?

Custom Packaging Spotlight: Ramble FX Twin Bender Setup Box

Minnesota’s own Ramble FX knows that an elegant piece of equipment like their Twin Bender fuzz pedal needs elegant custom packaging. The custom box we crafted for them definitely fits the bill. It truly puts the custom in customized.

 

custom two piece rigid setup box by sunrise packaging for ramble fx, turned edge, soft touch laminate tray with diecut foam insert

 

This luxurious custom package is a very unique combination of elements. The Ramble FX box is a rigid 2-piece setup box which means it has a strong, durable construction of sturdy chipboard that almost completely telescopes shut. A sliver of the bottom tray remains. This design is as functional as it is visual; the flash of red compliments the box while also providing a handhold for ease of opening. A custom package should always consider having this element or thumb notches for a smoother user interface.

 

The top or outer layer of this custom packaging sports the impressive Ramble FX logo, brought to life with crisp graphics and protected with a soft-touch lamination. This soft-touch feature ratchets down the glare as well as giving the packaging a high-end feel. When you have your hands on the Twin Bender custom box, you know it’s a fine piece of hardware before you even open it.

 

The bottom tray has it’s own unique glossy lamination, giving the red a glow while also giving the bottom a smooth, clean texture. The lower tray is fit with a foam insert, die-cut precisely for the pedal and matching the colors of the rest of the packaging. The devil is in the details, as they say.

 

Ramble FX Twin Bender custom packaging. turned-edge box design, rigid two-piece setup box, offset printing, glossy lamination, soft touch lamination, diecut foam insert

 

The Ramble FX custom box has a highly-impactful presence, garnering an appreciation from the buyer that is opening their purchase for the first time, or the onlooker that may be in the market for a fuzz pedal. Truly impressive, unique, and personalized for a standout look. A beautiful frame for a masterpiece of musical equipment, and a testament to the added value of custom packaging.

 

As always, it was a pleasure to contribute to this truly artful custom packaging presentation.

Customized Incentive Games: Bored to Board in 5 Steps

Jungle Safari customized incentive game

Customized incentive games are a great way to boost sales at the same time as boosting morale. Why? Because they’re fun. Incentive games are so well received because employees because they’re competitive. They can also take the place of a raise or bonus that just isn’t in the budget. But just like with any game, customized incentive games have rules. Not just for the player, but for the game-maker as well.

 

It’s Called Gamification.

 

And it means using elements of game development to promote an increase in productivity. It’s taught in business classes and preached about in textbooks. It’s not just a fun thing to talk about in the breakroom. It’s a trusted motivational tool.

 

How Can Customized Incentive Games Help?

 

There are many different variations of incentive games, but customized incentive games set the gold standard. Anyone can tape a twenty over the water cooler and say most sales wins, but what about tomorrow? And the next day? Seems like that would get expensive. And what happens when you don’t put up the bill one day? Chills. But a creative boss can do better (and probably save a little dough along the way) by creating a unique game experience with a board game that is tailor fit to your business. Many companies use custom board games for corporate retreats, team-building activities, meeting a sales goal, or even as a holiday bonus. Later we can get into ideas for customized incentive games, but for now, let’s talk about the universal rules for business owners considering customized incentive games.

 

Personal

This should be an obvious element of customized incentive games. Customized means personalized. A game that is made specifically for your business or trade. Let’s look at the Monopoly model. A standard chipboard game board with a border of squares where players need to progress. If you owned a restaurant, you wouldn’t fill the squares with goals like Be Positive or Promote Synergy. You would want something like Sell 5 Desserts in One Shift, or Sell 3 Bottles of Wine. Be specific. A good game shouldn’t have wiggle room. And while we’re being personal, consider adding some inside jokes or an experience unique to your business.

 

Attainable

Nobody likes an unfair game. Customized incentive games are no exception. Incentives are always pretty tensile. Some employees are content with their performance and don’t want to be pushed.  But a game that’s fun is contagious. Competition is contagious. Know what isn’t contagious? An impossible goal. No server is going to sell 20 bottles of wine in one night, or 20 cars in a day. A game like that is over before it even begins.

 

Interactive

Another problem with taping a twenty over the water cooler? There’s nothing to do. Except your job, of course. But how’s that incentivizing? It’s important to get up out of your chair, especially in an office setting. Even the smallest excuse to be less sedentary is a win. If you’re a CEO of a chain, consider sending a customized incentive game to every branch of your business. Something that can be set up at the front of the office. After a few people get up to move that piece, everyone will want the chance.

Custom Game Boards and customized incentive games with turned edge chipboard for business or  home entertainment.

Attractive

Just like any game at a retail store, the package needs to sell. Your employees won’t be sold on a piece of paper tacked to the wall. That’s about as memorable as a staff meeting. Use the opportunities of a customized incentive game to really wow your staff. A durable chipboard game with turned edge printing gives the game a real feel. Like they’re playing a real game. Playing to win.

 

Payable

Which brings me to the biggest rule: the payout. Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s a free night’s stay at a hotel. Heck, maybe it’s a pair of socks. Whatever the payout is, make sure you can actually pay it out. You customized incentive game is only as good as your word. And if you promise winnings that can’t be paid, you lose the trust of your employees. You get one shot. If your incentive game doesn’t deliver on its promise, nobody will play again.

 

Experts estimate that 70% of the world’s top performing businesses use gamification to boost their sales. It is a proven method for improving productivity. And it isn’t just for employees. Elements of gamification can be geared towards consumers as well.