Creative Packaging Ideas

Think back to the first time you purchased a brand that you’ve come to love. What made you purchase it? Positive reviews? Personal referral? Great marketing? Creative packaging?

Chances are, it was probably a mix of all these things, right? As an organization, you can start to cultivate your brand advocates, generating referrals and reviews, after you nail the last two things. And creating great marketing comes along with creative packaging for your products. 

Packaging is what sells your product. It conveys a feeling, cultivating a longing in your customers. So what does that look like…exactly? Well, it looks different for every product. Which is kind of the point of creating custom packaging design. But we’ve identified a few common trends that are ideal for attracting buyers. 

Creative Packaging Trends

Integrate Patterns

Using patterns in packaging design is a simple and efficient starting point. It can add depth and the perception of texture without the cost of embossing or inlays. Additionally, patterns can be used to evoke specific emotions or ideas. Blue and red stripes will inevitably remind people of the US flag; plaid has rustic or lumberjack connotations. Think through your pattern picks with unbiased audiences to evade any unintentional meanings. 

Think About The CXcreative packaging

We’ve written about CX, or customer experience, a few times before. It’s one of the surest ways to reach the hearts of your customers and start attracting influencers. Customer experience happens on multiple levels. It’s a design aesthetic that’s appealing. It’s including little touches that enhance the product. Check out the note inside SW Basics of Brooklyn’s lip gloss kit.  It shows customers that they care about reusing materials and have a playful sense of humor. It appeals and delights, which is the heart of CX. Custom packaging options like this can include subtleties as well. Things like thumb holes, custom thermoformed trays, or nested turned edge boxes can add layers of pleasure for users. 

Make It A Gift

This is a common packaging design element used by liquor companies. Packaging products like a gift–regardless of whether the purchaser is actually *gifting* the product–immediately makes it more attractive on the shelf. This type of creative packaging doesn’t have to obvious, so halt on the bows and ribbons. Consider more tasteful elements, like an additional simple box or tissue paper inside the packaging. Some companies will even create complementary elements to go with the product, like branded lowball glasses with brandy. Or simply allow the idea of a gift season your creative packaging brainstorming sessions. 

Be Mindful of the Process

While brainstorming can generate many creative ideas, it’s important to bring your packaging producer into the fold early on. Everyone works within a budget, and working with Sunrise Packaging allows us to help frame options that are within the product means. Plus, we have a bit of experience in creative packaging, as you can tell!

Etsy Custom Packaging Tips

The market for handmade goods has never been hotter, and websites like Etsy are reaping in the benefits.  Etsy is an online marketplace specializing in handmade, craft or vintage items as well as supplies. It’s relatively easy to use for both sellers and buyers, and numbers attest to that. In 2014, Etsy had over 50 million registered users, and total sales reached nearly $2 billion through the platform. With that kind of bandwidth, it might sound challenging to break through the noise as a new seller. But that’s where Sunrise Packaging comes in (locally owned in Minnesota). Etsy custom packaging is one of the best ways to retain and attract customers. 

Etsy Custom Packaging Basics

healthcare packaging
This outlet as a seller recently came to my attention when I purchased a small ring from an Etsy seller. It’s not a particularly expensive item, not vintage or anything else like that. I was incredibly impressed by the seller’s attention to detail when it came to packaging, though – so much that I realized how important packaging is, and how that fact might escape the attention of new sellers. 

Apparently, Etsy thinks so, too. They provide a literal handbook to Etsy custom packaging.  Since packaging is, quite literally, our business, here’s our take on Etsy’s suggestions for custom packaging: 

  1. Label your labor
    Etsy hits the ground running with a primer on branding. It’s incredibly important to help customers remember your business in every possible way. Crafting creative labels not only helps your business stick in their mind but makes it more likely that they’ll pass your name on.  Utilizing finishing options like debossing, embossing and other features help ensure that this will happen, or utilize a sleeve box to add some labeling. 
  2. Make Your Packaging Pop
    I couldn’t find hard numbers on what percentage of Etsy purchases are gifts, but the number is probably pretty great. Packaging that is gift-ready takes one part out of the process for your buyer. Besides, even if it isn’t intended as a gift for someone else, it’s kind of awesome to make the customer feel a little indulgent, like they’re getting a gift for themselves, isn’t it? When it comes to classic gift style, a two piece set up box is perfect. 
  3. Get Into Shipping Shape
    The last thing any seller needs is to mess up an order.  Like Etsy reiterates: how inclined are you to return to a seller who messes up your order, or doesn’t package it correctly to withstand shipping? Probably not very likely. Take the time to consider if you need any custom inserts, and the protection products might need. Thermoforming or custom formed trays might be a great way to go. 

Make Your Package Shine

Ordering things online is like the grown up version of Christmas morning. You know packages are coming on a certain day, so the expectations are even higher when you know what to expect. Let every delivery of your product generate that kind of excitement! 

Custom Magnetic Boxes

Sometimes, certain types of boxes become associated with certain industries. Technology, for example, seems to usher in new trends or set the tone for what moves over to other industries. Minimalist design, solid colors, magnetic closures, all of these trends started with technology devices and bled into other industries. Custom magnetic boxes are an especially a great option for any product. Our turned edge cigar box style features a magnetic flap for closure. Here’s why.

The Appeal of Custom Magnetic Boxescustom magnetic boxes

Custom magnetic boxes have been most commonly found in the technology industry, but more areas, like healthcare packaging, are starting to use magnets as well. The appeal is more than just aesthetic. Here are some reasons that organizations are seeking out magnetic boxes and magnetic flaps for their products:

  • Design appeal
    Including magnets in packaging increases the trend factor. From a design perspective, it creates a sleek kind of closure that slides easily into a sleeve box or any other kind of box. Magnet boxes are also usually laminated in material that lends itself well to different design treatments as well. Companies can print in full color, or choose to emboss, deboss, etc. 
  • Accessibility
    The growing baby boomer population is just one sector of the population that needs easy-open packaging. Complicated closures, harsh glues, excessive taping, all of these things are problematic for hands that don’t work as well as they used to. Let’s be honest: it’s also really annoying to have to deal with boxes that are overly taped, right? Magnets of varying strength are easier for all hands to open. It’s a great option for medical packaging, particularly for personal devices. 
  • Security
    Few types of closure can promise the security and ease of functionality that magnets provide. Not to mention longevity, according to Science Focus: “The alignment that holds magnets together can be damaged over time, principally as the result of heat and stray electromagnetic fields. The process is very slow, however: a modern samarium-cobalt magnet takes around 700 years to lose half its strength.”

Ready to Design Your Own Magnetic Box?

Sunrise representatives are ready and waiting to help you design custom magnetic boxes that show off your product and appeal to customers. Contact us today!

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.