5 Cool Features for a Standout Custom Game Box


 

Central City custom game box design, turned edges, offset printing, and glossy lamination

Central City Box Art

I can safely say that board games are the name of the, well, game around my homestead lately. My roommate and I have been spending our spare time discussing everything from hit points to game mechanics to hypothetical company names. Maybe it’s that Gen Con is just around the corner, or that an old friend of mine just launched a Kickstarter campaign for his custom game due out next year, but something is definitely in the air.

 

 

 

The indie custom game scene appears to be at its peak, and I’m absorbed with all the aspects. As much as I’m a geek about story and characters, I’m also a geek about the design side. The game board intrigues me, sure, but I’m what you’d call a custom game box enthusiast too. Between graphics, blurbs, and logos, I love to judge the proverbial book by its cover.

 

Last week, I found myself at a game shop. Surprise surprise. As I made my way up and down the aisles, I tried to keep track of what caught my eye. It wasn’t necessarily the graphics. I mean, sure, a splash of color or a cool character rendering couldn’t hurt your custom game, but what really drew me in was the packaging. An interesting shape or texture. Features.

 

Which of course got me thinking. So if you’re a game designer about to box up your hot new board game, then you may want to consider these…

 

Cool Custom Game Box Features

Handle It

custom handle box

Handle boxes make a great presentation for press kits, but they can also add a little flare to your custom game. A game box that looks like a briefcase or a treasure chest could certainly benefit from this little element. Plus, handles are just plain handy. They make your game easier to transport. Keep your meeples upright, peoples!

 

Magnetic Personality

cigar style magnet box for custom game design

Who doesn’t love magnets? Think about the last time you got a box or a device with a magnet. Now think how much time you spent playing with said magnet. It’s like a game within a game! Okay, maybe I’m just easily entertained, but magnets do add an extra level of security. The smooth snap enclosure also increases the value of your game by leaps and bounds.

 

Sleeves FTW!

example of a heat-sealed sleeve with turned edge printing and lamination

How many times have you had a board game that you loved but lost the rules? Or some other important paper element–a card, or a booklet perhaps? What if you included a sleeve in your custom game. It could safely hold rules, cards, maybe even a custom DVD to go along with your game. You could even utilize the sleeve to create a little window into your game box, another cool design feature!

 

Hold Out for the Fold Out

die-cut custom game board with turned edges and glossy lamination

You might think this idea is bonkers, but I think it’s the next revolution in game design. Folding game boards are pretty standard, but what if your custom game box became your board game! Yeah, I said it! Using buttons, magnets, tuck tabs, it wouldn’t be a stretch for the box could transform into a gameboard. Major cool factor in my book.

 

Notch Your Usual Box

example of custom packaging with thumb notches

Thumb notches, thumb notches, thumb notches. You gotta have the thumb notches, especially when it comes to custom game design. This is true for any box really. This handy little design feature makes your game infinitely easier to open. What’s the point of having thermoformed compartments for all your individual pieces if you’re just going to shake everything loose trying to get the box open. Cards all scattered, meeples everywhere like a mini hurricane hit. A little thumb notch goes a long way.

 

It can be tricky to stand out in any market, but with custom game design on the rise, the market is about to get even bigger. No matter what game box feature you go with, always remember to stand out, make a splash, and blow your audience away!

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

 


 

Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) and the Five Easies

plastic retail packaging, retail ready packaging, shelf ready packaging, customized thermoformed product packaging

 

It almost sounds like a rock band, doesn’t it? “RRP and the Five Easies.” In actuality, RRP stands for Retail Ready Packaging and it’s only about the biggest growing development in custom packaging marketing–and it’s still growing. Projections put RRP demand to increase by 70% in 2016. But RRP isn’t the new kid on the block: Smithers Pira Research reported a total market volume of 27 million tons–$54 billion worth–back in 2011 alone.

 

So what is Retail Ready Packaging?

 

Retail Ready Packaging (or Shelf Ready Packaging, SRP) is difficult to define. The ECR generalizes it as a “term used for mechanisms to merchandise product on shelf, on display, on retail store floor on its own base, or at aisle end.”

 

RRP and SRP might be more clearly defined by their guidelines, their motivating factors. Which is where the 5 Easies come in.

 

retail ready packaging, five easies, rrp guidelines

Image: Retail Ready Packaging Toolkit

 

Easy to Identify

 

Clear-cut, straightforward packaging is good for both consumer and staff alike. If your staff can tell what it is right from the box, they’ll be able to get it on the shelf faster while stocking. On the flip side, your customer will be able to get it off the shelf that much faster too.

 

Easy to Open

 

Ever struggle with a package or envelope? Seems like the more you want it, the harder it is to open. A corrugated box with perforations is one of the simplest solutions, able to tear open with ease. Even better if the overall packaging for the product can tear open into the display itself. Again, easy for the stocker as well as the consumer.

 

Easy to Shelf

 

Shelf Ready Packaging means the product is ready to be put on the shelf. Thus, your package design needs to ride the line between marketable and eye-catching, but also sturdy and secure. The right custom packaging can solve both of those issues and get your product to your buyer much quicker.

 

Easy to Shop

 

This relates back to “Easy to Identify”–the easier it is for a customer to know what they’re getting, the more likely they are to choose your product. Transparency in product via the packaging print. Making sure there are no roadblocks between the product and the hands of you potential customer.

 

Easy to Dispose

 

It’s the cold hard facts–eventually your Retail Ready Packaging will have served its purpose. At which point, it needs to “go on to a better place.” This plays a factor in deciding what material to use. Something easily recyclable is the best case scenario. However, this guideline isn’t just preaching an eco-friendly song, it also relates to easily identifying the recycling information. Is it recyclable? Is it made from recycled paper? What type of plastic is it? All of this should be taken into consideration in today’s market.

 

Bottom Line

 

When choosing your custom packaging, RRP needs to be at the forefront. There are a lot of hands on your product between you and your customers. The more confusing–or crushable–your Retail Ready Packaging, the longer the time is before they actually purchase it. And that lost time can mean lost dollars.
So remember: Easier for your stockers. Easier for your buyers. Easier for your wallet.

Upgraded Packaging Drives New “Game of Thrones” Box Set

New game of thrones upgraded packaging, photo hbo home entertainment

Photo: HBO Home Entertainment

Winter is coming. Again.

 

The popular HBO series Game of Thrones is getting a home video do-over thanks to a hefty packaging upgrade.

 

USA Today reports that medieval masterpiece is getting the steelbook treatment, popular with some of the more hardcore home entertainment collectors. The packaging upgrade will also include magnetic sigils for the fictional houses, as well as new box art design by Elastic, the design studio that created the show opening.

 

Maybe you don’t own a megahit DVD franchise, but a lesson can still be learned from this for any business owner. Upgraded packaging means repackaging, or even rebranding. It can give an old product a new lease on life. In fact, in an article from the New York Times, Paco Underhill, Author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, points to upgraded packaging as a way to catch consumers that may have previously passed on a product.

 

So is your product due for some upgraded packaging?

 

If so, you may not need a clunky steelbook to do the job. Custom media kits can impress the same visual impact, complete with all the bells and whistles. Velcro and magnet latches can be applied to your customized packaging, adding that extra wow factor. Who doesn’t love magnets, right? Your upgraded packaging can now include handles for easy carrying–try that Game of Thrones! Digital offset printing will give your box or package that sharper appearance.

 

In any case, upgraded packaging might just be that breath of fresh air your product needs.

 

High-Quality Custom Designed Box Packaging

Custom-designed-packaging, high quality packaging, sbs paperboard boxes, lightweight boxes, retail boxes, retail packaging

Premium high-quality custom designed box packaging with visually striking graphics leave a long and lasting impression on your customers long after the initial unboxing experience. Use state-of-the-art printing with custom lamination in gloss, matte or soft touch finishes with innovative impactful options such as foil stamping, embossing/debossing and die-cutting to enhance your brand and market your product packaging.

The SBS paperbox set shown above displays a variety of colors with a custom diecut window. The texture applied on the boxes are all unique and custom. We see examples of rigid two piece boxes as well as lightweight paperboard boxes all designed in a perfect harmony. Some of the boxes are silk screened with 1 color while others are full color offset printed for the utmost impact. This set is a great example of retail ready packaging!

Custom Paperboard Packaging

I noticed this post on the dieline and the intriguing custom packaging in this piece really caught my attention. Skoff Pies packaging was designed by Creative Inc. Skoff pastries are slipped into vibrant Paperboard boxes that are exemplified with graphic teeth trying to grab a bite of its contents.

This custom designed Paperboard SBS packaging utilizes an embossed logo that gives the Skoff product a first-class sensation. The packaging design shows off owner Donal Skehan’s eccentric personality and adoration of everything retro. Their unique branding has been effective for Skoff further separating them from the competition.

 

The Impact of Packaging

Package design, how can package design help, perceived quality of high end packaged goods.

This article of The Impact of Packaging by MS Packaging (http://www.mspackaging.co.uk/) caught my attention. We have seen many of the same thoughts from manufacturers and consumers who know how important exceptional packaging is crucial for a product to evoke consumers attention. Here are a few of the results from their research:

Only 11% of global consumers are completely satisfied with their packaging today

When it comes to overall product satisfaction, packaging is almost as important as brand for consumers

64% tried a product because the packaging caught their eye

41% purchased a product because of the package design

36% switched brands because of a negative experience with new design

22% wrote an online review that mentions their package

Because of packaging, 29% researched more about a product and 20% became a fan of the branding company on social networks

These results certainly show the importance of quality design as it is undoubtedly a major factor which helps to build a wide customer base. With consumer’s now more willing to be influenced by packaging, it will take quality packagers that are up to the challenge of producing this distinction.