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. 

 

 

Sales Kits To Attract & Retain Business

Swiping and scrolling on our mobile phones are the major methods in which we consume content these days. Whether your on Reddit or Tinder, it takes something pretty interesting to make you stop and look at it further. This is exactly what your sales kits needs to do. 

Ask yourself: Would my sales kit give a customer pause in the middle of all the other things demanding their attention?

If the answer is no, read on. Well, read on even if the answer is yes, because there's always room to level up, right?

Sales kits, or marketing kits, showcase your organization's products in a manner that makes them irresistible...or at least worth a more in-depth glance.  It needs to tell the customer that you are an ideal fit for whatever initiative they're targeting. It should attract new customers, educate existing ones, form new partnerships, and share information with media prospects. It's a tall order, we know, but it's very doable. 

Brainstorming Ideas for Upgrading Sales Kits

SmallBizTrends has some ideas for how to re imagine your sales kits in lean, mean, lead-generating-and-retaining machines. When you're ready to start designing custom packaging, Minnesota-based Sunrise Packaging is here to help. We know that even the most beautiful, most user-friendly packaging can't fix a sales kit that doesn't tell the recipient what they need to know or do, so take some time to answer the following questions to frame your sales kit revamp:

 

Sales kits

Who is your target audience?

Creating audience profiles is a great way to drill down on the "who" of who your customers are. Veer away from lumping them together by industry; it's usually way too broad. Think of them in terms of people, and by their roles. A CFO will probably respond to different messaging than an engineer. How can you address both, or what levels of differentiation can you include?

What issue or problem is your product or service addressing?

Start by recording the top frustrations of customers in the industry. Then figure out how your product solves those frustrations. Not sure what frustrates customers? Ask them!

What kinds of messages or statements speak to your audience?

Keep content focused on your customer by speaking to them. Write using 'you' in positive phrases building on the prior task of answering problems. Try to keep the message simple and action-based, but still focused on the benefits of what you offer. 

Go Beyond the Sales Kits Basics

This should give you a good frame of reference to start revising the standard sales kit materials (flyers, brochures, samples, etc). But what will really take your marketing kits to the next level? Consider leveling up to some interesting box features, like magnetic closure or a hinged lid, that guarantee your sales kit will make an impact. Create a unique first impression with custom finishing options debossing or embossing.  Take the step that will make your clients stop swiping or scrolling, sit up and pay attention. 

Sales kits

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.

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. 

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. 

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!

FlashPad Wallets: The Perfect Closing Gift

Okay, let me rephrase: FlashPad Wallets make the perfect closing gift *holder*.

Giving clients a gift at closing as a realtor sounds like a great idea. Who doesn’t like presents, for one, and a gift is a great way to express your appreciation for their business. It’s also a delicate way to ask for a referral (directly or indirectly, depending on your style). However, there are ample opportunities for the sweet gesture to go awry as RealtorMag describes.

For example, a set of crystal wine glasses sounds lovely. Unless they’re emblazoned with your company’s logo, in which case it’s really just a present for you, right? And what if they choose not to drink alcohol? Yes, we know that wine glasses don’t have to be used for wine, but it’s the implication as well as the lack of personalization that offends.  

So how does one come up with a gift that’s personal (but not too personal), won’t offend in any way, leaves a positive impression and reinforces your chance of a referral?

FlashPad Wallets can hold gift cards or USB Drives

FlashPad Wallets to the rescue

FlashPad Wallets are a new take on our classic FlashPad. They are smaller, lighter, and more portable.  The Wallet snaps shut and opens like a bifold wallet (hence the name...and it also possible to purchase as a trifold for more content). The inner and outer areas are completely customizable to whatever logo and messaging you want to share. While the package might become a keepsake for your client, what’s inside will catch their eye.

As RealtorMag notes, there’s one gift that everyone appreciates: money. It’s a tad gauche to fill it with cash, not to mention impersonal, so select a gift card that meets their needs. You’ve spent a substantial amount of time with them, so think back to conversations with them. Are they planning on buying new furniture? Do they love Starbucks or some other item? Does their new house have a lot of shelves that need to be filled with books? The opportunities are endless. The finishing options for FlashPad Wallets also allow for you to write a personalized message while the preprinted packaging does the selling for you.

Another option for the Wallet is a USB drive to be filled with whatever materials you share with clients. Information about their new neighborhood, any closing documents that can be saved digitally...whatever you can think of. I love the key-shaped USB for this idea; it’s a nice touch without being too cutesy. 

Regardless of how you choose to bookend the relationship, your client will probably remember you more for how you worked with them than the closing gift. Use the gift to build your reputation and connect with clients on a deeper level. And let the FlashPad Wallet remind them of where to send referrals. 

How Binders Aid Retention

 

Custom Turned Edge Binder

Learning and Retention

Learning and retention are hot topics for any trainer, but less so for professionals whose primary role focuses on something else. Typically, the human resources department of an organization is tasked with ensuring that employees know and understand the basics of their new job as well as build on that knowledge. There are many methods to utilize when creating training materials, and far too often, organizations focus on the format in which the materials are handed out and less so on the quality of the products. This is where Sunrise's high end binders--specifically, turned edge binders--can save you from yourself.

Ideal for HR Trainings

Turned edge binders are ideal for HR trainings for a few reasons. When an employee wants or needs information on something specific, they're unlikely to access an elearning module, search through it for the information they want, and come away from it with a positive outlook. However, being able to grab a quality binder and quickly flip to the information does. Turned edge binders also provide a tactile experience, which for some learning styles, is more effective to help employees retain information. This isn't to say that a hard cover binder should replace elearning modules or more interactive formats. But a binder to supplement and complement information is always a plus. Some things which HR departments need to consider when creating materials include these facts about adult learning:

  1. Adult learning is autonomous
    Adults are old enough to make their own decisions, right? So when learning, they need to feel the freedom to make their own choices. This is where giving them the option to skip and return to modules as well as go at their own pace (electronically or via the turned edge binders) is an important aspect to training.
  2. Incorporating knowledge and life experiences increases retention
    Being able to connect past experiences and knowledge base with new things helps things *stick*. Trainings which can pull out relevant experiences not only interest attendees (because they can relate) but also helps them frame the knowledge.
  3. Keep things goal-oriented
    Building on the previous two tips: in order to keep employees on task and engaged through their experiences, it's important that lessons have a goal or have a clear outcome. In order to maximize the learning potential, it's important to set timeframes for completion. Coupled with the clear outcomes, this helps employees stay on schedule. However, modules with known timings can make people nervous, which might be an unfair representation of their skillset. Providing hard cover binders alongside an e-module turns into an open-book test of sorts, which eases anxiety.
  4. Learning should be relevant and practical
    No one likes to feel like their time is being wasted, right? And that's hardly the impression you want to make on a new employee. Make it clear how these lessons tie in to their productivity or ability to do their job better. Additionally, using examples which help ground theoretical concepts helps enhance understanding.

But why turned edge binders?

Sunrise has many types of binders, but we love turned edge. They have a (literal) longer shelf life since they tend to be more durable. The customization is also higher than other styles, as the covers can be printed digitally or offset to match your organization's branding. Add ins, like pockets and adhesive trays, also increase their functionality.

What type of training does your organization provide? And how much did you remember a week after it was over? I bet you wish you had a binder.

 

Ann Sachs Turned Edge Binder

Nifty Netbox PopUp Palettes

In honor the recent release (and soon-to-be sold out) Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass eye shadow palette, I decided to revisit the original Alice in Wonderland palette (though note that these are not Sunrise products). What I love about these palettes is, first and foremost, the eye shadow selection. Urban Decay is super pigmented without feeling heavy or weighty, making it easy to vary the intensity. Secondly, the packaging for these palettes is always fun and interesting. The magnetic closure, or netbox, as Sunrise calls them, adds an interesting element. It helps ensure that what lies beneath that top flap stays secure and accessible for days to come. The drawer feature is one of my favorite features. It’s great to pull it out, see all the colors at once, and formulate your blending plan.

alice in wonderland netbox urban decay

Courtesy of Urban Decay

Alice in Wonderland vs. Through the Looking Glass Netbox

The obvious precursor to Through the Looking Glass. The original Alice palette netbox takes obvious inspiration from the original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. Whimsical mushrooms swirl around the mirror in the pop up portion, the caterpillar looms over Alice, and it’s basically a must-have for literary Alice memorabilia fans and collectors. This was one of the first palettes for which I popped the $60, and the one that made me a convert.

As one of those people, the fact that there are no original shades in this palette isn’t as much of a bummer as it would be others.  That might sound surprising, but Urban Decay is notorious for re-purposing older shades in palettes. But it can be frustrating, so it pays to do your research prior to investing in a palette. From a purely financial standpoint, it’s a steal to get 16 eye shadows, two mini eyeliners, and a mini primer potion for that price. Buying each individually would run around $200. Granted, these are smaller than you would buy individually, but still it’s still a better deal.

through the looking glass urban decay netbox

Photo courtesy of Bustle.com

On the other hand, Through the Looking Glass makes up for it. With 20 new shades and a great design, this netbox delivers in more ways than one. One frequent offenses of the pop-up palettes is that they tend to skew toward the glittery-shimmery side of things, but there’s a good amount of matte shades for change. Another deviation in this palette is the organization of colors. They’re organized into columns according to character. Depending on how creative you are, this might make blending easier or feel limiting. I tend toward the former.

What’s your favorite palette and why?

Out-Of-The-Box Custom Boxes

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

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

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

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

    Custom boxes made of pizza

    Courtesy of Vinnie’s Pizzeria

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

    Custom boxes holding gazpacho

    Courtesy of Come Home

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

    Custom boxes and packaging for strawberry milk

    Courtesy of Nude Jr Strawberry Milk

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

    Custom boxes and packaging for pasta and invitation

    Courtesy of Breno Cardoso

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

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