Vinyl Packaging Revamped for 2016

While my parents don't admit to being hippies, their record collection tells another story.  My youth is peppered with memories set to music, not unlike an episode of "The Wonder Years." I remember running my fingers over vinyl packaging, picking out albums with intriguing album art (The Who's "Tommy" stands out in my mind) or Cream's "Wheel of Fire." I loved the velvet tones of vinyl, and the way the sound seems to fill a space. At some point, the needle on the turntable broke and didn't get replaced. We got a CD player, the records were boxed up and piled in a closet, and the beat went on. 

Since then, music has changed form a few more times. First from CDs to MP3 players like the iPod, and then to streaming with early adopters on Pandora, but now we've entered into an interesting era. In 2016, every sales channel music is slumping except for two: streaming (up 50%) and vinyl (up 11%). I don't think this is a coincidence. There's no ownership associated with streaming. Listeners can quickly sample songs and artists--literally millions of both--for either no fee or a nominal one. When listeners connect with an artist deeply, they want to invest in an experience. That's where vinyl trumps CDs, iTunes, any other form of listening experience. 

Naturally, I know I might be a little biased given my childhood love for vinyl. But there's a tangible experience that comes with holding vinyl packaging and dropping that needle, and I think there's a kind of craving for that kind of close-up sentimentality. Of course, there's more to it than that, and TuneCore has a few more ideas as to why vinyl and vinyl packaging is making a resurgence. 

Vinyl Packaging

Vinyl Packaging as a Form of Art

Whether your shelve it or frame it, album art has the potential to be iconic. Just look at The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper" album cover. And in 2016, it's risen beyond just the album cover to origami and custom box level.

Vinyl is Tangible

I love Spotify, but here's the thing: you can't leave MP3s or Spotify playlists to your kids, or frame your favorites to put on the wall. You can't have your favorite artists sign the album like vinyl packaging. Digital has a lot of positives, but also a lot of tradeoffs.

Vinyl Goes Mobile

The majority of records purchased today also include a download code so users not only have their gorgeous album, but can also download the tunes to their mobile devices or computers for listening. Amazon is an early pioneer in providing the MP3s along with vinyl purchases.

Vinyl Sounds Off

Vinyl packaging is superior, there's no loss in mobility, so how can it get better for vinyl fans? It usually comes down to the strongest argument...sound quality:

Sound is a range of frequencies. When there is a complete presentation of frequencies that diminishes as the frequency increases, the sound seems to be more complete. Vinyl tends to present the widest range of frequencies due to its analog-to-analog production process. Digital music, because of its compression to keep file sizes manageable, doesn’t present as much of a continual range

When people make this argument, it's a passionate, emotional one.  And it's one echoed by an entire community of people who keep vinyl alive through patronizing smaller shops and hunting through garage sales as well as shopping online. Don McLean may have thought the music died, but it's alive and well decades later. 

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!

Upgrade Your Box

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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!

Feelgood Product Packaging?

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Business site Fast Company posted an article this morning about McDonald’s updating their to-go bags, cups, etc. The new designs are technically minimalist, compared to their predecessors, but still features bright, looping lettering in a variety of colors.

The beautifully-written story is titled Can Packaging Design Make You Feel Better About Eating Fast Food? While it may just be a catchy headline, it does pose an interesting question within a question:

Can Product Packaging Make You Feel Better?

 

The article cites McDonald’s move as making fast food appear more fashionable. Sound strategy, since fast food popularity has hit an all-time low (at least, when talking to your fit friends at parties). Re-branding a company’s imagery is smart, helping organizations out of lulls or peaking after a plateau. It’s the core of what packaging design is. Changing the exterior is a reflection of changing the interior. Everybody can relate to wanting to create a new image for oneself, right?

But can it make you feel better? Well, it depends on the definition of you. In this instance, you is clearly the consumer. So does seeing a clever package design make the average shopper feel better? I’d argue that yes, like a powerful piece of art, an aesthetic design can bring a smile to one’s face. More importantly, that charming covering might be the difference between being bought and being left on the shelf.

But if I’m talking to you, business owner, does a new product packaging design make you feel better, then, well…the answer is still yes. New packaging for your product can feel like putting on an elegant dress, or a sharp suit. It’s not just about what it looks like on the shelf, it’s about you feeling passionate about your product. That’s the real message you’re sending with your product packaging, isn’t it? A sense of pride in your hard work. The belief in your product. Sometimes your product itself can’t reflect the passion you feel about it–form follows function, after all–but package design can articulate that emotion, that value, where the actual product cannot.

Does your product packaging need a refit? Your brand need rebranding? We can help.

Images: Fastcodesign.com / McDonald’s

Star Wars: The Brand Awakens

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Star Wars is back. Last night, after a long, excruciating wait I finally saw The Force Awakens. Without spoilers: it was incredible. And today I woke up (we’ll pretend I actually slept) and I thought How can I tie this into packaging so I can blog about it? I’ve only ever done it here. And here. Also here.

Fortunately, I thought of something.

In all seriousness, this one’s a doozy. Branding. It’s at the heart of everything we do. Every logo we put on a flash drive, every custom box we foil stamp, we are helping businesses build a stronger brand image. Something so memorable that a customer associates the product with a solution. It’s the backbone of marketing, retail presence, and the aesthetics of packaging. And nobody does branding better than Star Wars.

Although some might say that lately there has been an…abundance of Star Wars branded merch. At a cocktail party, I would say to that too much Star Wars is better than no Star Wars! But, professionally, I would say this:

Star Wars licensing is an interesting story, historically-speaking. Starting back in the 70s when George Lucas managed to retain licensing rights. This was rather unheard of, but technically the Star Wars films are indie flicks. Especially the Prequel trilogy, almost exclusively funded by Lucas himself. But what a payoff, right? Think of every product you’ve seen with the Star Wars logo slapped on it.

Of course, Lucas sold the property to Disney. To the tune of $4 billion. Insert R2-D2 wail here. As big a company as Disney is, you can’t blame them for trying to turn a profit on their investment. Think about this: The Force Awakens has earned $100 million in advance ticket sales, but that’s still only 1/40th of what they paid for the franchise. Add to that the actual cost of making a special effects blockbuster and you realize they have a long way to go. Brand away!

star_wars_brand_duracell_batteries

Image: Duracell

But how come other movies don’t do that? Well other movies are usually set in modern, Earth-based times, and fill their shots with branded items and product placement. Unfortunately for Star Wars, a character can’t whip out an iPad or use a Samsung lightsaber to offset the cost. Thus, you can’t fault the franchise for allowing Star Wars batteries to exist.

Whether you think there’s too much Star Wars in the world or not, you can’t deny the power of branding. It’s more than just your logo on your product, it’s building a legacy. An empire, if you will. Familiarity is key to building market trust, and what’s more familiar than a brand that is everywhere?

So, as in all things, take a page from Star Wars. When it comes to custom branded packaging, do or do not–there is no try. At Sunrise Packaging, we sincerely hope you do. And when it comes time to design that perfect packaging solution, remember that ours are the best in the galaxy.

The Story on T.I.M.E Stories

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When I report on a game for this blog, I try to make sure it ticks a few boxes. For one, it needs to have depth; a plot or mechanic of sustenance so that I actually have something to talk about. It needs to be entertaining, for obvious reasons. And, perhaps most of all, there needs to be something noteworthy about the packaging.

The game I played this weekend is called T.I.M.E Stories, published by Space Cowboys–and it didn’t just tick all the boxes, it punched through them. Especially in the packaging department. Calling this game box “noteworthy” is an understatement.

But we’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s see if I can sum up T.I.M.E Stories. Oh boy.

Stories Old as Time

Describing the story of the game is tricky. Not because the game lacks a plot (the exact opposite actually). In fact, the plot is so deep that half the fun is just making your way through the twists and turns in the story. The premise is that you’re a temporal agent of the T.I.M.E. Agency. So, yeah, it’s a time travel game. Those are rare enough in general, but T.I.M.E Stories is truly a gem. As a time-travelling cadet you are transported back to a time in history to fix some sort of disturbance. In the case of the base game, the destination is a mental asylum in 1927. All you know at the outset of the game is that something is going down and you need to handle it.

Want to know what it is? Tough. For one, the unfolding story is the ultimate mechanic. To spoil that is to ruin the game. And for two, well, my gaming group and I didn’t exactly beat it yet…

That’s right. Our first mission was a failure. But that’s the beauty of time travel. You can go back again and again until you get it right. And, believe me, you’ll want to go back.

If you didn’t guess, T.I.M.E Stories is cooperative. You and your team are trying to unravel the plot together via choices, puzzles, conflicts, and plenty other creative twists that you won’t see coming. As in all games, your choices are still your own and there’s always points of contention with your teammates at some point. But much like variety is the spice of life, competition is the spice of games–even co-op ones.

If you’re thinking But can I ever play again after I beat the story? welcome to the 20 straight minutes I spent in the game store trying to decide if it was worth it. But having played it, I can tell you that answer is a resounding yes. For a number of reasons, actually.

First of All

Good luck beating it on your first run through, hot shot. There are so many twists and turns in the story that even if you do come out victorious on all the challenges your first time through, you still probably missed a lot of side quests and scenarios. If you play again, your goal should be to discover those extra rooms, clues, and items. Or, if you did discover everything, next time do it faster. That’s the whole point of the T.I.M.E. Agency. Trying to achieve that “perfect run.”

Secondly

There’s a dice-rolling element. I’d call it a combat mechanic, but there’s a lot more gray area in this game than just cut-and-dry combat. The clever and tension-building dice roll mechanic will make any replay a different adventure altogether.

And Third

There are more scenarios available utilizing the base set. Currently, there’s 3 available stories beyond the Asylum scenario, each with their own characters, plots, items, and quests. The stories have an end but, potentially, the game is endless.

Though, technically, it is a story-based game, meaning once you’ve played through, you get what’s going on. But much like a good movie you watch again, or a favorite book you come back to, eventually you’ll want to relive the experience.

Of course if you only play to play it once through, it’s very easy to savor the flavor of this game. That’s where the ingenious packaging comes in.

The Story on the T.I.M.E Stories Box

T.I.M.E Stories custom box_story game

Image: Space Cowboys

I’ll start with the visuals. In a word: perfect. The custom game box is unbelievably eye-catching. Much like Tokaido, it favors the minimalist approach. But T.I.M.E Stories’ box makes Tokaido’s box look like a Jackson Pollack painting. Stark white with a simple, nearly-invisible font that ensures you’ll have to get up close and personal with the box to find out what it is, the biggest visual component is a right-skewed rendering of one of the time travel pods.. A subtle sliver and a hint of things to come. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the outer packaging is the use of both matte and gloss laminations, creating two different textures–one soft touch, one smooth–in conjunction with the crisp turned edges. If you turn the box over or unbox the game itself, that’s when the colors really start to pop. The gameboard itself is beautifully minimalist as well, allowing the beautiful era-appropriate artwork of the cards to shine once the game is in play. The simplicity of the board also lends itself to the replaying of scenarios. New decks, same board.

But that isn’t the ‘ingenious’ part of the game box.

 

The really cool feature of this box is the custom thermoformed insert. It’s the definition of unique. Not only does it pack the game components away in a very organized fashion (a huge bonus in itself), the molded plastic insert acts as a ‘pause’ feature, kind of like a video game. Specially-labeled and spaced compartments allow cards and tokens to be put away so that if you need to take a break in the gameplay, you can easily pick up where your team left off. There’s your other replay value factor: much like a bookmark in a book too good to finish, you can stretch the hours of gameplay out as long as you like.

Kudos, Space Cowboys. You thought way outside the box, by thinking way inside of it. Most impressive.

As an avid board-gamer and a packaging aficionado, I have to say that T.I.M.E Stories really is all it’s cracked up to be. Exciting story, nail-biting dice rolls, smart mechanics, high-art graphics, and truly unique features makes T.I.M.E Stories a game for the ages. H.G. Wells would be proud.


WDYPMWhat did you play this weekend? Keep up with Geeky Goodies’ #WhatDidYouPlayMondays hashtag and remember Sunrise Packaging for all your custom game board and game box production needs.


 

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?

The SunPack Social Media Family

Social media presence is like luxury packaging.

 

It needs to be brilliant and sharp. It needs to have a name on it, and preferably some contact info. It needs to be impactful. Relevant. Modern, and kept up-to-date. It needs to jump out at its audience. Catch eyes, turn heads. And it needs to do all of that on the fly.

Business lives online, and Sunrise Packaging is no exception. So please allow us at Sunpack to show you our “digital packaging” as we run through the heavy hitters of social media and how we use them to stay fresh, trendy, and always connected.


 

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Linkedin

If the social media outlets were a group of friends, Linkedin would be the guy that always wears a suit. Clean and network-driven, Linkedin has proved it has staying power in the social media world, being both a more professional Facebook and an online resume.

 

Sunpack on Linkedin

See the friendly faces that drive the custom packaging machine and keep us in your career Rolodex.


 

official-youtube-logo sunrise packaging social media custom packaging


YouTube

Talk about an underdog story. What started as a hub for funny cat videos has become the  cornerstone of social media marketing. Now that “going viral” and “Internet Celebrity”  are officially in our lexicon, it is hard to remember a world without YouTube.
Sunpack on Youtube

Check out cool videos! Everything from tooling processes to sneak peak product reveals.


 

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Pinterest

Who doesn’t love Pinterest, right? The scrapbook of Internet! The Online Idea Board! “Pinning” is probably the quickest form of social media out there today, giving folks the ability to grab anything and put it on their digital to-do list, sharing great ideas and lifehacks with friends and followers.

 

Sunpack on Pinterest

Keep up with our products, of course, but also see what we think is cool in the world of luxury packaging. Clever ideas are our precious gems–and we’re always ready to polish!


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Facebook

Well, if it isn’t Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. The original and still the king of the social media palace. Zuckerberg’s social experiment has soared to heights he didn’t even know existed. The best place for posting anything and everything. Everybody’s on Facebook. You know it’s true.

 

Sunpack on Facebook

What don’t we post on Facebook? New blogs, promotions, product reveals and more!


Googleplus


Google+

Still hanging in there. While it may not have made the sonic boom it intended, Google+ still benefits from a smooth interface and quick turnaround. Sort of a mashup of Facebook and Linkedin, but benefitting from all the best assets of its social media predecessors.

 

Sunpack on Google+

Google loves businesses. Look there for all our in-depth industry coverage, plus our regular announcements.


twitter-icon, social media page for sunrise packaging, custom packaging, luxury box design


Twitter

The neighbor kid that started hanging around Facebook in Junior High. While it seemed like Twitter was just a scaled back version of the Face-phenomenon, it famously gave us the #hashtag and has since become a place where writers, designers, musicians, and other creatives show off their wares.

 

Sunpack on Twitter

Well, if it’s for creatives, you know we’re there. Follow along!


StumbleUpon-icon, social media page for sunrise packaging, your custom box expert


StumbleUpon

The new kid on the block, more or less. StumbleUpon is like Pinterest without all the frills. Tailored to your specific needs (much like custom packaging!) this social media outlet shows you websites, graphics, and any other cool Internet curios that you might not know about.

 

Sunpack on StumbleUpon

A hub for all our blogs, conveniently organized by category. Plus anything else that strikes our fancy on this clever little site.

Know any other great social media spots we haven’t listed? We welcome a heads up!

5 Ways to Get Noticed with Custom Flash Drive Packaging

 

Everybody knows how cool flash drives are, right? USB drives have taken data storage to the next level. But what if I told you there’s still another level? A way to make your flash drive more than a flash in the pan. A way to make your jump drive jump higher. A way for your thumb drive to get a thumbs up.

 

It’s Called Custom Flash Drive Packaging.

Standard Foam insert inside of custom flash drive packaging flashpad

 

More specifically, it’s called the FlashPad™ and it’s crazy versatile. It’s a way to take your flash drive from typical trade show SWAG to memorable marketing tool. A way to make your fledgeling business shine, or give your old dog some new tricks. Custom flash drive packaging is the hybrid of an informational pamphlet and an email blast campaign–except, unlike most of those, this one will get opened, interacted with, and (most importantly) remembered. Coolest of all, the FlashPad™ has a die-cut foam insert tailored to your specifications–so a flash drive is just the start of what you can include.

 

Here’s a quick look at 5 ways you can ride the crest of this trend. Go ahead and read’em. These ideas are on the house.

 

The Modern Mixtape

You remember making a mixtape or CD for someone back in the day? And you juuuuuuust could not fit that one last song on there? Frustrating. Now imagine that on a global scale. Say you’re a garage band. You’ve played a few gigs around the neighborhood but you’ve dreamed bigger. You want a record deal. The Big Time. What are you going to do? Send out a CD, scribbled on with a Sharpie? Congratulations, you’ve given a record producer a new coaster. A perfect garbage can frisbee. But a personalized USB drive, dressed to the nines in custom flash drive packaging, shows you’re serious about making it big. A sharp, professional look. A mockup of your debut album, complete with a legible track list. Images of your band rocking out under the bright lights of your favorite venue. And, best of all, a preloaded thumb drive with all your songs.

 

Consider: going with a guitar-shaped flash drive. Maybe include a pen too for signing your contract.

 

The Better Business Card

If you’ve ever been on the business end of a tradeshow, you know how tough it can be to make an impression. You’re lucky if you get a couple minutes one-on-one to wow your potential client. More often than not, though, your pamphlet ends up lining a SWAG bag or someone just grabs your pen and vanishes. If only you could make that pen tell that person about your great business the next time they use it. With custom flash drive packaging, you can do one better: you can show instead of tell. The FlashPad™ becomes your pamphlet, complete with all the visuals and bullet points you love. And inside? Your talking pen: a personalized flash drive loaded up with instructional materials, your last office newsletter, videos of your product, and a shortcut to your website. Swish.

 

Consider: making your better business card look like an actual business card. A customized Credit Card Drive has that traditional look and slim design with all the functionality of a flash drive.

 

The Portable Portfolio

This isn’t the 80s where you can stumble into an interview with a goofy tie and cardboard box of rolled posters. Well, maybe you can pull off the goofy tie, but if your professional portfolio looks like you just got kicked out of your house, you’re in trouble. Now imagine being a graphic designer or an architect and strolling into that interview with a digital portfolio all presented in sleek, attractive custom flash drive packaging. Right off the bat, a customizable FlashPad™ printed with your designs is putting something visual and interactive into their hands. Or maybe you’re a wedding photographer hoping to show off your prints without the glare and bulkiness of a proof book.

 

Consider: putting your digital folder in a folder-shaped flash drive. Now that’s just cute.

 

custom shaped flash drive for custom flash drive packaging

 

The Autographable Ebook

I’ve mentioned this one before, but frankly, it’s a good idea. If you’re an indie author, you probably don’t have a lot of hard copies of your book lying around. And if you’re an author that dabbles exclusively in e-books, then you probably don’t have any lying around. But let’s say you hit it big with a monster e-seller. Somebody’s going to want you to autograph your book. Now if you’re a real smooth talker you might be able to take a permanent marker to their Kindle. Or if you’re a real fine handwriter, you might be able to inscribe the flash drive loaded up with your ebook files. But, if you’re smart, you’ll have a mockup of what your hardcover book would look like (in custom flash drive packaging form, of course). Sign that baby up and drop the mic!

 

Consider: Know who else thinks it’s a good idea? Only Hugh Howey, the guy that changed the face of ebook publishing FOREVER. See how custom flash drive packaging worked for him here.

 

The Standout Software

Scenario: You’ve just invented the most life-changing software of all time. Maybe it’s the ultimate pop-up blocker or the greatest pay-to-play app of all time. Now how are you going to get people to use it? Are you going to hit up Comic-Con with a little square of paper with your URL printed on it? Heck no! Load up a flash drive with a digital demo and secure it in some sleek Silicon Valley-style custom flash drive packaging and get some results! Don’t forget links, concept art, and screenshots!

 

Consider: making your FlashPad look like an old floppy disk. Because nostalgia.

 

custom flash drive packaging to look like floppy disc, flash pad, usb drive, diecut foam insert

 

All great points, I know. The standing ovation isn’t necessary, really. But all jokes aside, custom flash drives and packaging really do make a splash. They’re like a Bat Symbol for your intellectual properties. And in all cases, they give your potential producer/client/boss/whatever a smart, memorable asset. One with your name on it. And far more reusable (and professional) than any novelty whistle.

The Most Famous Piece of Corrugated Cardboard Ever

A portion of the star wars early bird certificate, maybe the most famous piece of corrugated cardboard in the history of retail


The year is 1977. Fleetwood Mac is blasting through the speakers of Trans Ams everywhere, Star Wars takes the box office by storm, and the Kenner toy company is sitting on the golden egg of a lifetime–and they almost crushed it. Here’s the true story of how a piece of corrugated cardboard changed the face of marketing history.


 

May the Corrugated Cardboard Be With You

 

Months earlier in 1976, The Kenner toy company caught a seemingly lucky break. A small subsidiary of General Mills, Kenner’s usual fare was squirt guns and bubbles. But a major toy company, Mego, had passed on the Star Wars license to produce toys. Kenner, the Little Toy Company That Could, managed to acquire it.

 

Huge mistake for Mego. Potential mistake for Kenner.

 

Why? Just because Kenner picked up the license didn’t mean they believed in Star Wars. It seems impossible now, but the original Star Wars movie could barely get off the runway back in the day.

 

But once it did, it exploded.

 

The late May blockbuster left Kenner scrambling to produce Star Wars toys in time for the holiday season. Even by today’s standards, that’s a tough deadline. At some point, the small company realized they couldn’t meet the demand by Christmas. But did they give up? Not a chance. Instead they turned to a piece of customized corrugated cardboard into a legend.

 

The Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Was Born.

custom corrugated cardboard packaging used in the marketing of popular star wars toys

A member of the Kenner team had an idea. Instead of letting the ball drop, they created a corrugated cardboard box. Most likely an E-Flute wall structure–the standard in luxury display packaging–Kenner’s Early Bird Certificate doubled as a display stand. The idea was that kids could mail in the certificate and, when the toys were ready, Kenner would send out the first wave of toys, packaged in a thermoformed plastic tray. Then, when the package came, kids would have a spot ready to display them.

 

And they sold it.

 

Hero Complex’s Jay West calls it the “the most coveted empty box in the history of retail.” To think that anything could replace an action figure under the tree in a child’s eyes seems unlikely, let alone a hunk of corrugated cardboard. But it did. In fact, the anticipation of staring at the placeholder while waiting for the figurines to arrive made the prize even sweeter. Exclusive mail-away action figures would be the cornerstone of the Star Wars toys for the next 30 years.

 

Maybe Kenner’s whole plan wouldn’t fly today. But there’s a lot of takeaways from this story. Not giving up? Of course. Taking chances? Sure. But, above all, it shows the creativity stored in that “coveted empty box.” That’s the power of corrugated cardboard. It’s durable, environmental, economical, and endlessly engineerable. Just a simple piece of cardboard changed the face of product licensing forever. Think what it could change next.

 

You might be wondering what parents paid for that precious corrugated cardboard back in the day. $7.99. But what are folks willing to spend on it today?

the infamous customized corrugated cardboard on ebay, glossy laminate