Out-of-the-Box Medical Packaging

In every genre, there are certain tropes. These are the stereotypes or scenarios we expect to see. When we think of horror movies, we all know the looming masked figure who can easily catch up with running victims despite never seeming to change their slow, ominous gait. When we think of cheesy romance novels, there's a shirtless man embracing a tiny blonde while his muscles bulge out of his skin. And, a little less scintillating, we have certain ideas when it comes to medical packaging. 

Medical packaging has its own set of tropes. For example, think back to the last healthcare device you saw. Chances are it met some of these stereotypes: 

  • Clean, minimal design with majority white background
  • San serif text in blue or green (in color theory, these colors are seen as calm and serene - a vibe that's welcome when dealing with health) 
  • Easy-to-open 
  • Soft touch lamination

There are certainly more we could include, but these are probably the most common. It's not to say there's anything wrong with these features. In fact, most medical packaging tropes exist to calm the consumer and put them at ease. When we know what to expect, things feel more manageable. But manageable doesn't have to mean boring.

Medical Packaging Doesn't Have to Look Like Medical Packaging

Boring is a subjective term, but we're willing to bet that no one would assign that label to this recent project. 

This project was developed for a medical packaging partner to hold documents. And while it doesn't overtly overthrow many of the stereotypes we associate with medical packaging, it does subvert them just enough to hold the interest of the user. It uses the white and blue color palette, but the bright mustard accent adds a hint of modernity and fun to the package. It also uses an easy closure device, but it's more than the standard paper slide we see so often.

The latch, along with the handle, add a layer of accessibility that sometimes gets overlooked in more affordable medical packaging styles. It's a box that's loaded with extras, and that showcases the brand at the same time as functionality. 

Brands Can Speak Louder Than Words

Medical packaging is usually subject to a number of regulations and requirements, which is one reason that many healthcare organizations opt for "safe" versus "unique." Customers know what to expect, and frankly, it's cheaper to recycle designs and utilize familiar tropes. 

But as the above example shows, there's value to be found outside of the "safe" zone. When there's an opportunity to showcase a brand alongside a functional design, it's not an opportunity to pass up. Learn more about how Sunrise can take a safe project and turn it into an opportunity. Contact the team today!

Medical Packaging for Education

Medical packaging can be a complicated subject. At Sunrise Packaging, we've done our fair share of creating unique boxes and packaging solutions for medical projects. We're always looking to expand our horizons, and we recently wrapped up a project on a new avenue for medical packaging for us: education. 

Launch Kit for Learning

Medical Coding Academy helps students prep for their Medical Coding National Board Exam. They came to us with a need to create a new prep kit for their students. We jumped at the chance to create these bright, engaging pieces of medical packaging. Typically, when we hear about medical packaging, one of the first concerns is what regulatory information needs to be included. It's a refreshing project that allows for more creative freedom. 

And we definitely looked to leverage our creative freedom here. We began with a custom magnet box and added a foam insert and clear, plastic pocket for the materials and products that it would hold.  The outside has a matte lamination and offset printing to ensure the vivid colors will resist fading. 

As we mentioned before, we love the colors and vibrancy of this design. 

A New Design for Medical Packaging

This kind of medical packaging puts a new spin on things. The educational aspect sends a slightly different message, particularly with the use of colors, avatars and bright content: this content will NOT be boring! And aren't those the words all of us want to hear when it comes to learning something new? 

Engaging, bright and vivid are words educators strive to hear applied to their work. Wouldn't it be great to apply them to medical packaging more often, too?

When your industry is facing a packaging challenge, check in with the team at Sunrise to help resolve it. Chances are, we might have a few ideas. Talk to our team today!

Compliance Packaging Spikes Innovation In Medical Packaging

Compliance packaging is a friendly way to help consumers take their medication on schedule. And blister packaging provides the perfect platform for it. 

Let’s establish why compliance packaging is such an important issue today. If you’ve ever been charged with taking a medication daily, there have surely been days when you forgot about it. Whether that lead to unintentionally skipping a day or just a few hours, it has an effect. Or maybe you’ve been prescribed a device that you’ve been using incorrectly. Inhalers are notorious for misuse. With over half of the US population on some kind of medication for a chronic condition, nonadherence is a big issue. So much so that a 2008 Medco survey estimates that half of those people don’t adhere to the given guidelines for their medication. A year later, the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation cited this as responsible for up to $290 billion in unnecessary costs every year. 

How Thermoformed Blister Packs Aid Compliance Packagingcompliance packaging with blister packs

As mentioned above, compliance packaging makes it easy for users to to take the right dosage at the right time. Here are some examples from the 2016 HCPC Compliance Package of the Year winner of how they used blister packaging in their design. 

The winner created packaging for a two week dosing regimen. The blisters are designed like a calendar, with each box making up two two-week packs. With red arrows leading the user from pack to pack, it’s clear how they should progress and take the dosage. The thermoformed blister packs ensure that the user doesn’t take more or less than is prescribed. 

In addition to keeping the dosage consistent and accurate, blister packs play another role. With the aging baby boomer market, packaging accessibility becomes a consideration.  Being able to open pill bottles requires dexterity and hand strength… Something we tend to lose as we age. Blister packs allow for users of varying strength and dexterity access with ease. 

Implications in Other Industries

While the term is usually applied to the pharmaceutical or medical packaging industries, compliance packaging measures can apply everywhere.  Making retail packaging that’s easy to use, regardless of hand strength, is a standard to which all packaging should be held. Designing labels and lids for thermoformed packaging that inform and educate users is a great use of space. 

What measures has your organization taken to create a compliance packaging approach?

Healthcare Packaging Through 2026

The healthcare packaging market outlook through 2026 was released earlier today (October 20, 2016). This research, conducted and produced by Commodity Inside, attempts to predict the future of the market. It helps producers and manufacturers alike know what to expect in terms of medical packaging trends and requirements. The report also provides a commentary on both existing and emerging markets, particularly where organizations may want to focus attention going forward.

Elements Affecting Healthcare PackagingCustom box for medical market

On average, countries spend 10% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) in the health sector every year. Populations are growing in nearly every corner of the globe. This leads to increased urbanization, increased aging population, and an overall increase in healthcare spending from consumers as well. The increase in demand is expected to continue to rise into the future.

Asia is driving much of the growth in healthcare packaging. Globally, the demand grew in 2015 by 5.6%. This equates to $65.8 billion worldwide. It’s a sizeable market, to say the least, and one still expected to grow by at least that amount in the next decade (another source predicts hitting $82 billion by 2021).  The 2026 outlook includes chapters focusing specifically on:

  • Asia (China and Japan, specifically)
  • Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom)
  • North America (Canada and USA)
  • Latin America (Brazil)
  • Australia
  • Middle East/Africa (Egypt and South Africa)

Each section includes a market review and a market outlook.  An appendix provides further macroeconomic information.

Medical developments are driving the demand as well. As devices become more lightweight and efficient, packaging needs to reflect those updates. Additionally, medical device packaging needs to meet the needs of consumers. That might mean using magnetic closures on boxes to aid in opening. It might mean integrating carrying components, like handles built into containers, so devices are more mobile. And, like phones and laptops, healthcare developers are always looking to make devices lighter. This means that packages need to take on more protective roles. Look for more rigid setup boxes, thermoformed protective cavities and other custom features.

About Commodity Inside

In addition to healthcare packaging, Commodity Inside also produces reports on corrugated packaging, flexible paper packaging, folding cartons, and more.

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.

Custom Plastic Packaging Factors

thermoformedWhen making packaging decisions for retail products, there are a lot of factors that come into play, and many important things to consider. Custom plastic thermoformed packaging comes as no exception. In order to have an all around quality packaging solution, it needs to be protective and practical while simultaneously marketing your brand and product. Protection and practicality go hand in had for custom packaging solutions. In order for  a plastic blister pack or clamshell to properly serve its purpose, it needs to insure that the product is safe in shipping, that it is tamper proof in-store and can therefore be purchased and put to use! Simplicity is also a key component of quality packaging. Many times with plastic clamshells and blisters, shoppers find it difficult to actually access the product that they just bought! Create a design that offers protection but can also be easily opened in the household- there are a few tricks out there to open difficult plastic packaging, many of which come with a bit of risk. Finally, use packaging to your advantage by adding value to your in-store presence. You worked hard on making the packaging design, now make it work for you. Incorporate your marketing message and branding strategies when you design artwork, tooling, and more!

Consumer Products: Blister Packaging

pocketmonkeyWhile we emphasize the security and display that is associated with custom thermoformed clamshell packaging, there are other plastic packaging solutions that can offer similar display benefits and tamper evidence in retail. Using branded artwork is much easier to do with blister packaging, because the concept of the item requires a blister card anyways– might as well print with eye-catching graphic design! The thermoformed cavity is then heat sealed onto each card holding the product in place. See here our example of our custom-made packaging for the Pocket Monkey product. When it comes to security, the blister pack keeps items protected from their external environment. However, since they are easier to open than clamshells, there is still a possibility of tampering. While this does not protect the product itself, it does protect the consumer, making any evidence of tampering obvious to the shopper. Plastic blister packaging are commonly used for pharmaceutical products, but are also extremely popular in general consumer goods packaging.

Custom Audio Album

custom thermoformed albumThis custom disc album is basic and functional. With chosen materials and custom foil stamp, this black vinyl audio album holds all discs in place in an protective, durable case. Most plastic packaging solutions that you see in retail are transparent in order to display the product and draw in a customer. However, what many purchasers don’t realize is that there are multiple colors, gauges, and properties of plastics that can be thermoformed to create a packaging solution. For example, on our online store we offer thermoformed packaging solutions in black, white, and clear! For custom products, we have the best resources to get the plastic in the color and thickness that is best suited for the project. This black custom audio album is just an example of how a classic vinyl and turned edge album can add value and weight to a disc set.custom vinyl foil stamp

CNC Molds to Form Your Packaging

Customized tooling is a heavy investment, but one with a vast return. While there are many benefits to purchasing standardized clamshells or blister trays, a custom fit will look sharp with your product and protect it accordingly. The video below shows the process we use to form the tooling mold that shapes all of your plastic products. After we are provided with the item being packaged, we take all the necessary steps to provide our clients with a perfect fitting mold. Shown here, the mold being made is designed to hold one of our Flashpads™ for our marketing kit. Depending on size, shape, and quantity, custom tooling services give you complete control of how effective the final mold will be by forming multiple pieces per mold, or safely vacuum and pressure forming a deep cavity. Check out the video to get an idea of how this works!