Blank Boxes Provide a Branding Opportunity

There are a lot of reasons that a marketing department might want to opt for flexibility in their materials, including marketing kits or custom gift boxes.  Blank boxes aren't a common request at Sunrise Packaging, but we have the capacity to help create a malleable box style that can be easily customized for whatever use it be put toward. 

Don't be put off by the term 'blank boxes,' either. Sunrise can create a base box style that is hardy, sturdy and secure, leaving the next level of customization up to you and your organization.

Blank Boxes are Perfect for Promos, Sales, and More

In the example to the side, you can see how we worked with an organization to create a custom, two-piece setup box that provides value and recognition. It's as close to a blank slate as a box can get, from a literal perspective. 

Traditionally, an organization might come to us with their content for the box prepared. From taglines to social media handles to instructions, most boxes start with an intent of what it's going to hold. But there's another approach that works just as well, and that's to start from the opposite end. Create a box that can be used in multiple ways, and utilize different customization tactics as necessary. Organizations can use stickers or decals to further customize the box, capitalizing on earlier decisions like size, color and lamination.

Check out some of these ideas for enhanced personalization for blank boxes, like stickers, inserts and more.

Easing Brand and Budget Concerns

Budget and brand uncertainty can be another reason that blank boxes are preferred by some organizations. It's cheaper to purchase boxes in bulk, and less customization also lowers the price as well. If your brand is in limbo for any reason - a possible logo redesign, or other change coming--but packaging is needed, it can be ideal to stick with something simple. 

Whatever your reasons might be for requesting blank boxes, Sunrise has got you covered. We can help create something that is higher quality than a bulk production site, but still flexible enough for your needs. Talk to our sales team today!

How to Work the Magnetic Flap Box

Magnetic flaps on their own are used widely not only in packaging. Binders often use a magnetic flap for closure, as do some styles of journals and books (Bibles are probably the most common). Even some purses use magnetic flaps to ensure tight closure. The magnetic flap box is also increasingly popular, and that's in part to the versatility--and universal delight--of magnets.

It starts with the traditional hinged cigar box. The overlapping hard cover, with magnet, is the additional feature that elevates a simple box into something a little more. While the magnet is the *connecting* piece, so to speak, other elements can take your simple box to the next level.

The Magnetic Flap Box in Action

In the example to the side, created for CME4Life, you can see some of our favorite options at work.

First and foremost: the magnetic flap. It allows for a seamless design from top to bottom, creating a continuity for the eye to follow. It continues as the user slides their finger under the flap to open, revealing the product in full.

This digitally-printed box also features vivid colors. Sunrise can ensure color-matching with this process so that your logo and brand recognition are never compromised in the printing process. It's also laminated. Lamination can enhance colors as well as create another tactile touchpoint for users. This particular example uses matte lamination, one of our favorites. It makes the box as a whole soft to the touch, smooth, and adds a layer of protection to the piece.

Other Magnetic Flap Box Options

This magnetic flap box is just one example of many that Sunrise has handcrafted over the years. Other features which we think make this style of packaging especially pop include:

  • Custom inserts
    In short, inserts keep packaging neat and products safe. Made to order for every project, we can ensure that our custom inserts will fit to perfection.
  • Thermoformed trays
    Sunrise has a custom tooling department that means no delay or travel between workshops for your packaging creation. Thermoforming is a great option to highlight product features; it's literally like a little stage for your items!
  • Personalized foil stamping
    One of the most popular options out there. Foil stamping is a striking customization option that immediately creates a sense of luxury for any package.

And this is just scratching the surface of what's possible with packaging customization. Contact Sunrise today to design your project!

Custom Box Design in Minnesota

Custom box design is something we not only love, but take seriously at Sunrise Packaging.

Our approach is founded in common sense and experience. When anyone encounters an interesting package, their curiosity is automatically piqued. The packaging doesn't have to be unnecessarily tricky, the closure particularly unique. It's a closed box; sometimes, that's all we need to get our imagination flowing.  Our job is to get the user excited for your product.

We accomplish this by using some of our tried and true methods to create great customized packaging. When it comes to a box, it's not always *just* a box.

Delivering More Than a Package: Custom Box Design

Custom Size

It's practically passed into cliche to talk about how to maneuver square pegs into round holes. Yet, when it comes to packaging, there's a kind of "single size fits all" mentality that drives organizations to buy boxes in bulk. While we recognize there's no harm in that approach, there's also not much to gain, either. Part of the pleasure of custom box design is derived from the fit. Perfect, every time. In the example to the side, we created this box for Rheem as a thank-you to their customers.   While the image might distort the size, it's a large box at 24 inches by 22 inches and 8 inches deep.

Just like any bespoke product, a box that's made specifically for your product will always do the job it's designed to do: make your product shine.

Custom Inserts

In the final picture above, you can just see the inside of the box with the custom foam inserts inside. We talk a lot about presentation packaging at Sunrise, and this project is a perfect example. Presentation packaging can focus on the external features, but it's also about how a product (or products) lay inside the custom box design as well. As we mentioned above, everyone wants to be dazzled by an unopened box. Make sure that the reality lives up to expectations with a little padding inside your package.

Custom Finishing

Presentation is all about appearances, and ensuring that your box presents well to customers is key. Yes, the focal point is what's inside the package. But that doesn't mean you get to ignore the outside.

We love this example above because it's simple yet stunning. The brand pops out at the viewer, and while you can't touch it through the screen, it's wrapped in soft Nuba paper. Great packaging engages multiple senses; this one does not disappoint on multiple fronts.

What's Your Custom Box Style?

Just like people, boxes and organizations have personalities. What do you want yours to say?

Sunrise can help develop it. Contact our team today!

Custom Promo Boxes & 2018 Trends

Like any industry, custom promo boxes are subject to trends. Take a look through the different ages to get an idea of what was acceptable (or rather, expected) packaging from just a decade ago. You'll see that it's changed, in every way from shipping time to box design.  But what makes this interesting is the nostalgia factor we see creeping into 2018 trends.

More on that later. 

Customers are looking for some key things when it comes to their packaging needs. They want sturdy custom boxes, a personalized experience and, if shipping online, they want it fast. Different markets respond differently to these base demands, but below we include some tips on the most enduring and prominent trends we're seeing. 

Trends of Custom Promo Boxes

Packaging Longevity

We've commented on this before, but it's a recurring factor: we can order from any corner of the globe and have it in our home within days. It's truly amazing. Yet these distances can have adverse effects on organic products, like first aid items and medicines. Packaging needs to withstand the trials of travel.

"Unboxing" & Social 

One of the top YouTube categories for kids right now is unboxing toys. Yes, you read that correctly. It's people recording themselves unboxing toys. Not necessarily playing with them, or sharing them, or anything else - narrating their experience taking them out of the box. And it's not just toys, you can find unboxings for nearly anything on YouTube and beyond on Instagram, Reddit, and more. 

It's important to note that upcoming generations, even more so than the current ones, will be critically looking at packaging styles, containers, and above all, personalization.

Nostalgia

Nostalgia sells. Whether it's garish unicorn-emblazoned Trapper Keepers or Coca-Cola in glass bottles, people are attracted to things that remind them of memories wrapped with happiness. Best of all for packaging design, it's relatively easy to add in a throwback font in design, as well as utilize materials or designs that are evocative of a time past like kraft packing paper or other custom inserts. 

Bring Us Your Ideas

While we do believe that trends should help inform any packaging decisions, we also want to create innovative solutions. Bring us your ideas and your needs, and let's create something perfect for your product. 

Brokerage Welcome Kits

Becoming a successful broker has a relatively simple foundation: clients. Not only attracting new clients, but retaining old ones at the same time. Providing customized customer service can be a lot to balance in addition to staying on top of new rules, regulations, trends and other business facets.  Brokers need all the help they can. By investing in well-thought out brokerage welcome kits, you can start to pare down on some of the work. 

Brokerage welcome kits help clients feel special while giving them the information they need to take ownership and feel invested (to a larger extent). Welcome kits can also function like a pre-determined follow up plan…the most important part of maintaining those positive first impressions that won their business in the first place. Empower Brokerage has some great tips for putting together a custom welcome kit that’s sure to help retain clients. 

Building Brokerage Welcome Kits: A Checklist

Create a checklist

It might seem a little meta that the first item on our checklist is for you to make a checklist. Making a checklist of the items you need to go over with a client is a great way to get your ducks in a row. It ensures that nothing is missed. Plus, it helps you see your collateral and business in a new way. You might realize that there are redundancies or more efficient ways to share information when it’s all laid out in front of you. 

Policy documents

Whether this means ID cards, literal documents, their application, etc, include copies in your welcome kit. Advise them to keep their copies in a safe place. Don’t forget to include information on what their policy includes…and any upgrades, updates, and possible changes they need to be aware of with a timeline.  Consider investing in some document holding, custom inserts to keep everything in place and in a presentable manner. More on that later!

Contact information

welcome brokerage kits

Hopefully, your customers already have your business card. Adding them to your brokerage welcome kits is a nice touch, as well as adding other people in the office. Front desk, if available, plus any other customer service numbers or websites that they might need to access.  It’s an increasingly personalized touch to include bios of the others in the agency. 

Access tips

On that last note, do you have an online portal or some other type of self-service set up? Include information and instructions on how to set up new accounts and where they can access FAQs.  You can also include information for how they can post online reviews, an increasingly important (and sometimes overlooked) strategy for bettering your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. 

Agency swag

Everyone likes freebies, and they like them even more when they’re useful and/or aesthetically pleasing. Invest in some calendars, pens, Frisbees, whatever you can work into a plug for your agency.  The custom box for your brokerage welcome kit will also help you in this area. 

Custom Boxes for Your Welcome Kits

Work with Sunrise Packaging to scope out specifications for a truly one-of-a-kind welcome kit design. There are multiple options, from a cigar box, presentation-style of packaging to crafting custom inserts for all your materials to utilizing gorgeous finishing options.

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. 

 

 

Custom Binders & Organizing

When I think of organization, I have to admit: custom binders do not leap to the top of my list. I'm much more likely to search for an app for organizing notes, recordings, or whatever I need on my smartphone than I am to pick up a binder. But recently, in the most unlikeliest of places,  I was reminded that some people are more tactile. 

I was watching Brooklyn Nine Nine, and the character of Amy Santiago was enjoying a new binder. 

Custom binders make some people happy

Simple Pleasures of Custom Binders

For those who don't watch the show, Amy is a somewhat Type-A detective with a penchant for organization and procedure. She's tidy, polite, and loves her binders.  Amy and her binders are something of a running gag, but there's something to the simple pleasure she receives.

In the hyper world of the TV cop show, it's understandable how something so seemingly simple can be soothing and bring calmness.  It's a small piece of sanity, a corner of control. When everything else is volatile and subject to the whims of coworkers and criminals, Amy's custom binders are 100% in her control. 

Why Bind It When You Can Scan It?

The ability to pick up and page through a binder is soothing. Users can see everything at once with just a few flips instead of searching through a smartphone. It's a conventional organization system; easy to pick up and intuit, versus someone's private devices. I know that my method of filing (or lack thereof...I prefer to tag things, then just enter a search query when I want it) isn't the same as others. Using a standard system within a binder makes it easier for the entire office to find common resources quickly and efficiently. 

Scanning/taking pictures of documents on the go is handy, but when it comes to document sharing (especially in a not-so-technology-literate organization), it can get tricky. Especially when no one wants to admit that they don't fully understand how to access something. Take the guesswork out by storing communal resources in custom binders. 

 

Options for Custom Binders

Here at Sunrise Packaging (Minnesota), we've been experimenting with some great new, more durable options for custom binders. New techniques include creating covers from a single piece of chipboard, increasing their ability to withstand pressure and the effects of time. Euro-scoring, or rounded corners, help people grasp binders more easily. It's a great option for larger documentation sets or files. Not to mention that pockets or adhesive trays can be added as well to hold discs, notepads, or anything else that could be useful. Contact us today to talk about your needs, discuss cover printing options, and more. Amy would be proud!

Design a Conference Badge that Doesn’t Suck

Conference organizers always try to find ways to make their events unique and memorable, but there are some things which should be standard. Attendees, particularly those who might have had to deal with unpredictable flights or transportation/hotel issues, will always appreciate a streamlined check in process. It's a process where Occam's Razor is well-applied: the simpler, the better. This definitely goes for conference materials, like the conference badge. 

Some conference materials are necessary evils: the plethora of paper collateral from sponsors, the (usually) hideous conference bag, and sometimes a conference tee designated to become bottom-drawer filler. Or, if you attend a lot of technology conferences like I do, it's worn daily by some of the less hygienic attendees for the conference duration. All things considered, most of these materials are expendable. It makes sense to refocus on the one thing that attendees will use and reuse: the conference badge, or name badge. Here are some tips to create a badge worth its salt. Or at least worth the irritation of remembering it daily. And, when the conference is over and the badge has served its purpose, Sunrise Packaging conference name badges are eco-friendly and completely biodegradable!

What Do Attendees Want in a Conference Badge

Choosing the style of a conference name badge can depend by industry. Tech conferences, which tend to be slightly more informal, typically use lanyards with the badge hanging around the midsection. If this is the route you want to go, be considerate of the variety of shapes your attendees come in (male, female, proportions, etc). Choose a lanyard with adjustable sizes so they can choose where it should sit. 

conference badge with name, social identity

If the conference is an industry which tends to be more formal, consider a simpler conference badge that's more of  a traditional name tag with magnetic backing. There's little more annoying than putting holes in an expensive blouse or suit. Not to mention that it might hurt the fabric. Name tags also tend to be a little more discreet and elegant. 

Design Around Attendee's First Names

What's the purpose of a conference badge? To identify the attendee as an attendee and to share their name/affiliation with folks. If space is at a premium, consider cutting last names. Some attendees also might not feel comfortable sharing their full name with rooms of strangers (networking aside). Access Event Solutions recommends the following hierarchy: 

First Name (largest font)
Last Name (slightly smaller font than first name)
Company name/title (slightly smaller font than last name)
Other information (you get the drift)

What Else Might Attendees Want in a Conference Badge

If you go the magnetic, name tag route, you're probably maxed out on space after the above. However, if you go the lanyard route, the back of the conference badge is a great spot for additional information, like: 

  • Conference schedule.
  • Wifi access information.
  • Conference hashtags/notable social channels.
  • Sponsor information (understandable to *want* to put it on the front, but lets be real: no one wants it there)
  • Embedding RFID or NFC technology within the layers of a conference badge substrate. Attendees can scan their badge to win prizes, session room counts, supply contact information to enabled vendors...the possibilities are endless.

For maximum readability, print information on the back of a lanyard upside down!  

Make a Conference Badge Attendees Want to Keep

Name tags might not serve many purposes after the conference, unless they're well-designed and not obtrusively tied to the event. Keep your conference badge design simple, and attendees will appreciate the streamlined effort. Particularly if they're already a little jet-lagged. 

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