Custom Boxes & First Impressions

We all have ideas for new board games. Okay, maybe not all of us. But who hasn't sat through a long game of Monopoly or Risk and thought "This game would be way better if..." After taking that first step away from a base game, it's only a few more to determine rules and objectives, maybe even moving to designing a game board (or whatever you would call the set-up for "Cones of Dunshire").  You might be ready to commission custom boxes, but hold one second.  How do you know what the box needs?

Yes, the box needs to fulfill the basic needs: holding the game contents safely and securely, providing a pleasant experience for the user, things like that. But the cost associated with custom boxes usually doesn't rise to the top of the list. It's admittedly less interesting than choosing player tokens or designing a game board. But it's arguably one of the most important parts of launching your original board game. 

Custom Boxes: Your First Quest

New ideas for board games can come from any source of inspiration. It might be, like we mentioned above, a new take on an old tradition. It could be something entirely new and original, educational or strictly fun, or any other variety of elements. But in the early planning of the game, keep in mind how this needs to be packaged. Not just from a business or marketing sense, but from a practical and logistical standpoint as well. 

custom boxes
  1. Pare down what's necessary to play the game
    From an imaginary perspective, designing an intricate game with lots of player pieces and tokens, cards and chips, might come off like a great idea. But a game doesn't need to be upward of 100 pieces to be fun (well, unless we're talking about a literal puzzle).  Think of it this way: the more pieces your game has, the more it will cost to produce, and the more it will cost in stores. Additionally, it will affect your packaging requirements. 
  2. Using your pared down model, start to think through what style of packaging is necessary
    Custom boxes need to be able to provide protection for fragile game pieces or simply provide a home for the collective pieces and board. If these pieces are heavy, then a sturdier material, like chipboard, is going to be needed. If they're breakable in any way, consider foam inserts or plastic molding trays to keep them safe. Or, if there are other things that need to be kept from rolling around (like dice), that's another kind of tray. At Sunrise, based in Minnesota, we've helped many gamemasters think through their packaging. Bring your needs to us, and we can work through them. 
  3. Make a list of the things necessary for the box
    And not just art. People who pick this thing up off the shelf want to know a little bit more, so give them a little teaser.  Provide a statement about the game and any other relevant information. Does it include small, possibly choke-able pieces for little kids? Add that a caution might be necessary.  Is there a recommended age range for the game? Add that too. Add anything that might be necessary from a legal perspective, but don't forget that this is what needs to sell customers. 

Sunrise Packaging has been helping gaming auteurs in Minnesota and beyond to create their masterpieces for decades. We know how to prevent expensive errors and miscalculations, and how to help you think through what elements your custom boxes need to be effective. Contact us today!

Cosmetic Review: Urban Decay NAKED Ultimate Basics

It's here. Urban Decay's first ever all-matte palette, NAKED Ultimate Basics Eyeshadow palette. 

We wrote about this after it was announced a few weeks ago. The buzz around the palette was at a high, and it's the star of the 2016 holiday line up for the brand.  Well, it's been a week after it's release, we're ready to release the verdict: 

Is the Ultimate Basics worth dropping $50? YES.

Cosmetic box review for Urban Decay Ultimate Basics

NAKED Ultimate Basics Palette Review

Let's start with the fundamentals: 

  • Packaging
    Moving away from the more capricious and fanciful design of the recent palette, but still not quite as stoic as the other Naked palettes, Ultimate Basics features a golden burst. It's shiny and eye-catching, a delicious compliment to the matte shades inside, and an interesting companion to the other more, well, *naked* shades on other palettes. It's luxury packaging on another level.
  • Features
    One complaint from other palettes is the mirror of questionable functionality. That is remedied in Ultimate Basics, with a full size mirror inside. The applicator is double edged: one for layering, the other for eyeliner or blending. 

There are 12 shades included in the Ultimate Basics palette. While Urban Decay is touting these as never-before-seen, some of these are very similar to shades we've seen before. But, that aside, test out the shades (if you can) prior to purchasing to make sure that these shades work for you. Matte is a funny beast; these shades are denser and richer than your average drugstore brand, per Urban Decay standards, but they're far from universally flattering (without a little help).  Luxury brands should feel luxurious, and this packed powder packs a mink-gloved punch.

Matte Shades Included

  • Blow (Light Nude Demi-Matte)
  • Nude (Soft Pink Nude Matte)
  • Commando (Light Taupe Brown Matte)
  • Tempted (Pale Brown Matte)
  • Instinct (Medium Pink Taupe Matte)
  • Lethal (Reddish Brown Matte)
  • Pre-Game (Pale Yellow Matte)
  • Extra Bitter (Burnt Orange Matte)
  • Faith (Medium Warm Brown Matte)
  • Lockout (Rich Neutral Brown Matte)
  • Magnet (Smoky Gray Matte)
  • Blackjack (Warm Black Matte)

While the colors alone aren't universally flattering, that doesn't mean that a little blending won't remedy that. Bustle has put together a list of tutorials to assist in this.  Matte is everywhere this fall, and it's ideal to ramp up your look from work to night without a total redo. 

FlashPad Wallet: A Most Versatile Solution

Happy first day of September, packaging world, and that means a new special is on the table. The FlashPad Wallet is one of our favorite products, and it's one of our client's favorite packages, too.  Here are some of the ways in which we've optimized this *multum in parvo* product (that's "much in little" if you need to brush up on your Latin)!

FlashPad Wallet in Higher Ed

Engaging students is the number one job of any higher education institution. No matter the department--academics, student life, the library, and so on--they want to make sure that every student has information they need to be successful. The University of Nebraska used a FlashPad Wallet to engage incoming freshman on several levels. The custom design is eye-catching and clearly branded; the recipient is affiliated with the college. 

Flashpad wallet

The space on the outside contains targeted messaging as well as social channels for the user to check out. Open it up, and there's more information as well as a key. Not just any key, but a USB key. And, not to drive the metaphor into the ground, but it's a key to knowledge, a new life on campus, and to the next phase of their lives.

Mortgage Lenders & the FlashPad Wallet

FlashPad Wallets are ideal for replacing stacks paper marketing materials or other types of information. As a thank you, a mortgage lender might provide a new homeowner with maps of the area, coupons, home maintenance services, and more. By condensing all that information onto a flashdrive, they've cut down on paper as well as managed to keep their brand at the forefront with full color printing that's vibrant and inviting. Using a flashdrive also makes it easier for them to keep the information current by using hyperlinks instead of printed material.

Flashpad wallet

FlashPad Wallet = Versatility

These examples come from several organizations, but the versatility and level of customization is the same across the board. The FlashPad Wallet die-cut cavity can be customized to hold anything you need--the above examples both hold flashdrives, but also gift cards, commemorative coins or tokens, beer bottle openers, the list goes on. The only criteria? It has to fit the dimensions. The design be a bifold or trifold, depending on the amount of content that should accompany the item.

Flashpad wallet

The FlashPad Wallet can change they way customers perceive your business, and Sunrise Packaging is currently the only producer of these items. And, for this month only, there is no artwork fee. Contact Sunrise today!

A Champagne Box Worth Buying: Dom Pérignon

It's July in Minnesota, which means that we're in the heart of summer. Despite being a state known for snow and winter sports, we take summer pretty seriously in the land of 10,000 lakes. While some might argue that cold beer is the best companion on a hot day, I agree that it does the job in a pinch--but a glass of bubbly is even better. Effervescent and refreshing, champagne is a surprisingly perfect pairing for not only toasts (seriously - try it with scrambled eggs or potato chips). Champagne has an interesting history, and the best products are imbued with their own stories. One of the best known brands, Dom Pérignon, has an especially storied history. There's quite a bit stuffed into this champagne box. 

The History of a Great House

For a sparkling wine to be called champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France. That's where we're starting this story, in France circa 1668. Dom Pierre Pérignon was a French Benedictine monk. While he didn't *invent* champagne, the Dom heavily influenced how it was made in a time when the region primarily produced red wines. While it might sound strange that a monastery controlled a vineyard, it wasn't uncommon in medieval France. Even today, authentic Trappist beers are brewed in monasteries. Today, it makes money; at the time, it was just another beverage. 

Back to champagne. The region of Champagne had been known as a wine produce since Roman times, but it was competing with neighbor Burgundy for production and quality. As cellarmaster, Dom Pérignon took great strides in increasing the quality and quantity of wines from the region. His accomplishments include:

Dom Perignon champagne box from Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=462004
  • Being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve the quality of wines, balance one element with another in order to make a better whole, and deal with a number of their imperfections
  • Perfecting the art of producing clear white wines from black grapes by clever manipulation of the presses
  • Enhancing the tendency of Champagne wines to retain their natural sugar in order to naturally induce secondary fermentation in the Spring
  • Being a master at deciding when to bottle these wines in order to capture the bubble
  • Introducing corks (instead of wood), which were fastened to bottles with hemp string soaked in oil in order to keep the wines fresh and sparkling, and used thicker glass in order to strengthen the bottles (which were prone to explode at that time)

Basically, he established wine-making principles that are still in use today. 

Dom Perignon champagne box from http://www.jamesbondlifestyle.com/

A Champagne Box for the Ages

Over the years, the demand for Dom Pérignon has only grown.  Economics is all about supply and demand: when supply is limited, demand is higher. As a vintage champagne, all the grapes must be harvested in the same year. And, if it was a weak year for grapes, it's not made at all. Since 1921, there have been 41 vintages; it's extremely rare for harvests to result in a vintage multiple years in a row. When your goal is bottled perfection, it's obvious that not every year will yield the best. 

Dom Pérignon, despite the demand from royalty and rappers alike, never compromises for quality. A luxury product needs luxury packaging, and while Minnesota-based Sunrise doesn't make their boxes, we're enamored of the custom set up champagne box style utilized. 

Cosmetic Box Review: Dior Backstage Pros Solution Set

Cosmetic box sets are usually a way to get a little more bang for your buck. Sometimes there might be exclusive shades or add-ins, or a make-up bag, or some other kind of hook for consumers. One brand that bucks this trend, especially when it comes to cosmetics, is Dior. It’s rare to see their products discounted in any way, and buying a set (like the Backstage Pros Gift Set) doesn’t save much more money than buying each product individually.

I don’t mind this, to be honest. I would rather buy shades and products that work for my skin without feeling pressured to buy a set of which I would only use half of the products. However, I am a sucker for great packaging, and the Dior Backstage Pros Solution cosmetic box is gorgeous.  It’s classy and understated, and clearly high-end. Two piece setup boxes have a rigidity and sturdiness that elevates them from something that goes out with the recycling to something in which you store keepsakes.  And that’s true even if it isn’t emblazoned with ‘Dior.’

But back to the products.

Included in This Cosmetic Box

(and with translation below):Dior luxury catwalk cosmetic box

  • Diorshow Maximizer
    “Mascara serum base, lash amplifying effect”
  • Diorshow Brow Styler in 001 Universal Brown
    “Ultra fine precision brow pencil”
  • Dior Addict Lip Maximizer in 001 Pink
    “Collagen active lip-gloss”
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow in 001 Pink
    “Color awakening lip balm”
  • Nail Glow
    “Instant French manicure/brightening effect”

Full disclosure: I wouldn’t have bought the set if it didn’t work with my skin tones, but luckily, 001 Pink is one of faves. It’s subtle and slightly plumping without being overwhelming, and it works on a variety of skin tones.

Same goes for the 001 brow styler, which gives a natural brow look.  Unlike cheaper pencils, which give off too much powder or waxiness.  Some online reviews have criticized the amount received for the price. When it comes to make-up, I’m a firm believer that quality is more important than quantity. However, I will admit to not being 100% sold on the Maximizer mascara. My eyelashes are very fine, and this tends to add more gunk than desired volume to them. It’s entirely possible I need application lessons, but this is the only product in the cosmetic box that I wouldn’t purchase on its own.

But back to a high note: Dior’s nail glow is worth every penny for ladies whose nails tend to chip otherwise. Reviews have noted the strong acetone scent, but c’mon…it’s nail polish! The shade works for my nails, leaving the nail tips looking whiter and rest slightly pink, as promised with the instant French manicure advertising. I know, I know, I didn’t believe it either, but try it out.

Cosmetic Box…Not by Sunrise (but just you wait)

This cosmetic box isn’t a product by Sunrise, but we do a pretty bang-up job with custom setup boxes. We’ll have some exciting news regarding this particular style in the next few months, too…so hold onto your seats in anticipation.

Contact a sales rep for more information!

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!

Medical Packaging For Boomers

Nearly 27% of the population of the United States was born between 1946 and 1964. Termed the Baby Boomers, this generation has stampeded its way through the decades and are now arriving at retirement age. While aging typically indicates health decline, this generation is bucking that trend (or segments of them are). They're eating better, exercising more, taking preventative measures designed to help them not only live longer, but have a higher quality of life as well. Their expectations are higher than previous generations; baby boomers also tend to have more money and are generally wealthier. They want the best--and they can probably pay for it--in their products, and that includes medical packaging.

Medical packaging presentation packaging for baby boomers

How Baby Boomers Affect Medical Packaging

The enormous influence of the baby boomer generation reflects its size and spending power. Their needs regarding medical packaging are unique to the industry; they love new and innovative styles, but still need to have ease of opening. Think of a bottle of aspirin. It's a common joke, but sometimes the childproof lock defeats adult logic. Add in arthritic hands and possibly declining mental state, and pill-sized pain relief becomes an insurmountable task.  

For the product above, Sunpack created a box with light magnetic closure. This ensures that it won't open accidentally but is easy enough to slip open when needed.

The design of the medical packaging is important as well when it comes to the user's ability to remove it from the package. In the aspirin example from above, it's easy to shake out too many and lose some of the medication. It's not a huge factor with something relatively low-cost, like aspirin, but becomes exponentially more important with the medicine itself. Being able to package an actual device, such as the Axionics device in the picture, securely is step one. Step two is creating a tray which can not only securely hold the device, but allows for semi-easy removal. The thumb holes around each part of the device help ensure a firm grasp prior to lifting.

Vision is another consideration for medical packaging designed for baby boomers. Naturally, as we age, our vision tends to decrease. Medical packaging needs to be clear and concise in design as well as content.  Devices need to be easily identifiable, but that doesn't mean devoid of creativity. For Axionics, you can see the design is deceptively simple, elegant, and with simple fonts to aid comprehension. While white is the dominant color within the design, choosing a bright, single accent color reduces visual clutter.

Karten medical packaging custom tray

Keep It Simple

When it comes to baby boomers and medical packaging, HealthcarePackaging.com said it best:

This consumer segment is looking for brands that will help them take care of themselves and better their lives, without constantly reminding them that they aren’t actually as young as they think they are.

Packaging is great way to connect with an audience. It not only entices people to try it, but if it offers a pleasurable experience, it guarantees referrals and repeat business. Sunpack can help design products that meet this need for your products.

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?

Magnetic Boxes: The Allure of Magnets in Custom Packaging

 

When you want to add a little dash of panache to your packaging, you gotta go magnetic, as in magnetic boxes. At first, I was a little skeptical how cool a box could be. A box is a box is a box, right? But the first time I held one of these magnetic boxes in my hand, I let out a satisfied breath and thought, Yeah, luxury packaging is definitely a thing.

custom magnetic boxes, magbox, netbox, soft touch lamination, turned edges

Magnetic boxes like the Netbox­™ are just plain cool. Part of that coolness comes from the magnet itself. Fact: Everyone loves magnets. Why? It probably starts when we’re young. If you can’t remember the exact first time you saw a magnet, you can definitely remember playing with them at some point in your childhood. A pair of magnetic spheres twisting and swirling in a vortex around themselves on your kitchen table, or the clasp of your parents’ magnetic boxes becoming endlessly fascinating on a summer afternoon. The fascination began there, didn’t it?

 

But as you grew up, you realized magnets are still kind of a mystery, adding to their dapper mystique. We know manmade metals can be heated to their “Curie” levels, producing magnetic properties…but they also come from space! These metals get ionized by traveling on asteroids. Whoa. And don’t even get me started on lodestones! A lodestone is a naturally-charged magnetic stone….if you can call getting zapped by lightning ‘natural!’ It’s like a geological superhero!

 

All of these elements give magnets their allure, and magnetic boxes are no exception. You might say they have a magnetic personality all their own…

 

…or you might not.

 

Custom mag box with softtouch lamination for presentation packaging and sales kits

 

 

Puns aside, there is something to be said for custom magnetic boxes in the world of luxury packaging. The NetBox™ feels like silk thanks to a soft-touch application, and there’s no denying that familiar snap of its magnetic enclosure. Opening magnetic boxes conjures the sense of unboxing a full array of rich chocolates–and a custom thermoform tray or a precision-cut foam insert can add to that feeling. Seeing an organized spread of items in elegant packaging sends a pretty strong message.

When the box itself feels like an heirloom, the trust in whatever its holding within goes through the roof.

A celebrity wouldn’t be caught dead in a fast food restaurant, and you wouldn’t put an elegant product in a shoebox. Well, unless the product is shoes–but you get the point! Dress your product for the job it wants, not for the job it has. And magnetic boxes are the business casual for the packaging world.