Collectors Boxes: Creating Demand for Products

Collectors boxes have been around for a while, but what makes a good collectors box is less well-defined. 

If we take a trip back down memory lane, let's consider some of the retail packaging crazes within recent memory. Funko pop dolls come to mind. Minecraft. Pokemon. Beanie Babies. In the cosmetic packaging world, Urban Decay's special palettes sell out within hours; Kylie Jenner lip kits within minutes. Even cereal boxes, like the limited edition old school monster designs. And one of the most popular and omnipresent campaigns in recent history: the Share A Coke campaign, where individual custom labels entice customers to "share a Coke with... [insert name here]."

What do all of these have in common?

Collectors Boxes: What Sets Them Apart?

The easy answer? Put 'limited edition' in front of any custom packaging, and it will increase demand. But the success of these craze-inducing campaigns goes deeper than that. 

Sunrise recently partnered with Solid Ink to create unique collector's packaging. This project utilized a turned edge design with four color printing and matte lamination. Created for their unique Chris Garver and Horitomo collections, the project specifications demand that these custom box sets reflect the brand as well as the inspiration.

Overall, it works as a great case study of what goes into a successful design and creation of deluxe box sets.  In short, it's tapping into what your audience already knows and desires, tying it into your brand, and limiting access.

Create Demand

Solid Ink created these limited edition boxes with the intent of creating demand. It's econ 101: supply affects demand. With these boxes in limited supply, and only available in certain places, it increases the demand. It might seem like a strange analogy, but the Beanie Baby craze of the 1990's is the poster child for this kind of strategy. As a particular Beanie Baby became more popular, the company would conscientiously pull it from the line up, creating--all together now--demand (and price inflation, but that's another story).

Create Something Original

It takes time, skill, and no small amount of luck to create something that captures the collective conscience and enters the zeitgeist. Most importantly, it has to have elements of originality. Even if something similar exists, or another version didn't quite succeed, taking time to find out what the missing element is could be the difference between a generic mobile app and Flappy Bird.

Create Brand Tie Ins

The tattoo industry is all about originality and body modification as an art form. It makes sense that the stars of that subculture are held in high regard. Their name lends authenticity to products, and enhances the sense of uniqueness around a collectors boxes set. When your target audience recognizes someone they admire as part of a brand, it creates an instant resonance. 

Let the Design Support Your Product

Sunrise Packaging has a practiced hand at creating limited edition packaging and collectors boxes. We worked with Prince on album packaging, numerous sports teams on gifts for season ticket holders, and other types of deluxe boxes. Bring us your ideas, and we'll bring them into reality. 

Artisan Liquor Packaging

As you peruse the shelves of your local liquor establishment, you might notice a series of words used frequently in marketing materials. Handmade. Small batch. Craft. Artisanal.  What's it all about, and why is it on my liquor packaging?

In short, it means that these liquids don't come from a mass-produced factory, churning out jugs of alcohol by the tons. It gives buyers a sense of place, a connection to a product, to know that it's rare, or local, or simply imbued with something a little extra special. 

Some might tie it to the general farm-to-table movement; we just see it as taking pride in what you consume. 

Unique liquor packaging

Liquor Packaging Showcases Craft & Company

As a Minnesota local company, we love living in a land that takes pride in everything from turbulent weather to the range of homegrown distilleries, breweries, and wineries in the region. Every one of these alcohol artisans has a story and a mission for what they create. We work to design packaging that showcases their unique perspectives. 

Unique liquor packaging

In the example to the left, the gin company manages to avoid the ubiquitous terms we listed above by using a quirky, funny tone. We embellished their strategy--literally--with deep, rich colors that offset each other. It's a blue tower that's sure to stand out on any product shelf. 

When it comes to box construction, we used rigid chipboard to keep the bottle safe on both shelf and in shipment. You can even add custom foam inserts or thermoformed trays to add additional protection and presentation packaging elements. With the users in mind, they can slip the magnetized flap open to check out the product inside. It's not tricky, it's not dramatic. It's just great design. 

Serving a Growing Market

Great products sometimes have a hard time finding their audience, and this the case sometimes when it comes to liquor. When a consumer is faced with a shelf of vodka or whiskey, it can be overwhelming to choose one. However, one of the most common reasons customers cite for trying something new is that they liked the packaging (no lie). 

Ready to invest in liquor packaging that helps your product stand out without resting on tired marketing cliches? Contact us today!

Options That Make For High End Retail Packages

High end retail packages speak to customers. 

Not literally, of course (but who knows what might happen in the future?). But all it might take is a swift glance over a familiar box to evoke a memory. Positive, negative, those parts of are out of control for manufacturers and companies, but the point is clear: when you have a strong brand that speaks to luxury, quality and comfort, your packaging should reflect that. 

Why Packaging Matters

Some might be quick to dismiss packaging as most important for mass produced consumer brands. It’s necessary for boxes to stand out on a crowded shelf, helping customers identify the one they want quickly. Or to catch their eye long enough to consider trying something new. 

But it’s the seed of brand loyalty that transcends economic status. Whether it’s a loyalty to Captain Crunch cereal or to Cartier watches, customers who exhibit appreciation for a specific product still want to feel like they’re part of the club. Cultivating that seed is partly done through packaging. 

Features of High End Retail Packages

high end retail packages

custom luxury packaging

It’s easy to assume what features a cheaper package might feature to cultivate brand awareness. Color is the main one, with graphics coming in second. But when it comes to high end luxury packaging, customers want a little more. 

  • Make it a tactile experience
    If you turned the lights off and ran your fingers over the packaging, what sense would customers get? Utilizing features like embossing, hot stamps, soft touch lamination, and more can stimulate the senses to entice customers in a different way. 
  • Turn the mundane into the extraordinary
    Opening and closing boxes isn’t something that registers with most people. Unless there’s something that stands out in people’s minds about it. Using a unique closure, like magnets or a custom molded snap enclosure, can do just that. 
  • Create contrast
    Light reflects differently on different materials and colors. Using a matte finish with glossy embellishments will draw attention to the various contrasting elements. Or simply mix up the colors, pairing black with white or other opposites that work well together. 
  • Design a pause
    An unveiling is a spectacular affair, and the first time your customers see your product–as their own product–should be as well.  One way in which package designers do this is to add a moment before the *big reveal.* It’s like going through the wrapping paper to get to a birthday present. Your excitement is heightened because you know this is something you want, and the paper is the only thing in the way. Badly designed processes can lead to buyer’s remorse and increased product return rates. All things luxury producers want to avoid. 

Contact Sunrise Packaging

We love talking high end retail packages. Different features work for different industries, and we’ve a bit of experience in the field to help guide you.  Get in touch today!

Redefining CD Case Packaging With Flashdrives

The reign of the compact disc has passed, but CD case packaging has a little more staying power. 

CDs made headway as more and more homes started buying their own personal computers. They were sleek and shiny, a big step up from the formerly prevailing floppy disks. But like anything, they’re prone to a host of inefficiencies. Quickly scratched. Fragile. Security easily overwritten.  Not a lot of real estate on the disc itself for branding or information. This made their packaging all the more important. Whether a company utilized the standard flip style, a sleeve or something else, this custom packaging protected discs from potential danger. It also created an attractive storage option, not unlike books on a shelf. 

Flashdrives and custom USB drives entered the scene next, and their ease of ease and relative durability have brought them to usurp the place previously held by CDs (and will the cloud trump the convenience of the USB drive? Not until Internet access is stable and accessible everywhere, methinks). But flash drives have more in common with CDs than you might think. While USB drives step it up in most areas–storage, security, accessibility–they can also be fragile with little space for branding on the device itself. That’s why Sunpack created something just for custom flash drives, similar to  CD case packaging: the FlashPad.

College Bound FlashPads for university recruitment, acceptance letters with hard turned edge binding and offset printingCD Case Packaging, Re-Imagined

The old adage holds true: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. FlashPads utilize the familiar CD case packaging style, down to the flip-open cover. But inside, users don’t find a reflective disc, but a foam insert molded to snugly fit a personalized flashdrive. The USB drive can hold whatever information you want to share. The packaging does the hard work of attracting the user in the first place. 

Your custom FlashPad can utilize nearly all the high-end elements we use in boxes and other types of packaging.  Virtually any aspect can be customized or personalized to your company, and any senses you wish to engage.  Let their fingers glide over soft touch lamination with raised embossing. Their eyes can take in the vibrant design and sleek packaging. 

…and that’s all we can really do from our end. If your organization really wants to find ways for taste, smell or hearing to be part of the package, dive in!

Something Old, Something New

While the FlashPad riffs off classic CD case packaging, it brings up to a new level of accessibility. Many newer laptops don’t have CD drives anymore. Flashdrives are becoming the de facto way to share information. 

And our options for packaging don’t stop with the FlashPad. There’s another, sleeker option that works well for more than just customized USB drives (business cards, bottle openers, and more are just a few things that the insert can be molded to fit): the FlashPad Wallet. Mimicking a bifold or trifold wallet closure, the Wallet is a slightly smaller and more compact option. 

Neither of these to your liking? Contact our sales team to start from the ground up for totally customized USB boxes

Human Factors in Healthcare Packaging

Human factors is the study of how humans behave and interact with objects or services within an environment. It’s existed under many different names over time, but human factors seems to be the one that has stuck. While the field has expanded widely in the digital age–understanding how humans interact with parts of a system essentially defines a great web user experience–it has chiefly been the domain of medical devices.  For obvious reasons, it’s necessary to know how a device that regulates a heart rhythm or helps someone hear needs to work well with the human body. But just as the study has taken on new life in other formats, so can human factors inform another key medical area: healthcare packaging. 

Healthcare Packaging Defined by Human Factors

The ultimate goal of human factors applied to a product is to ensure that it’s safe and easy to use in the real world. It’s a good guideline for any product, but especially when we’re talking about medical device packaging or healthcare packaging in general. In fact, it was made a regulatory requirement by the FDA in 1990 for healthcare. healthcare packaging

Human factors sets out to study and answer three distinct questions at the outset: 

  • Who is the user?
  • What are they trying to do?
  • What is the environment of use?

HealthcarePackaging.com frames some of the scenarios for how these questions might be answered. This line of questioning is known as contextual inquiry. It reveals the key points needed to determine packaging requirements. For example, a hearing aid will need different medical packaging than a set of surgical instruments. Human factors studies, and contextual inquiries, are best conducted with actual users and customers…AKA outside of your boardroom and employee pool. It’s impossible for those close to a product to have an actual consumer mindset. And chances are that the intended use of a product will vary from how it’s actually used.

Integrating the Findings

The study detailed in the article linked above focused on finding ways to make sure the packaging reduces stress for users and simplifies things. In their study, they timed things like how long it took users to open the custom package. They also created graphics based on their findings, like the actual environment where the product is used, and how it fits in, as well as storyboards detailing how the task completion played out for various test subjects. 

Armed with this research, organizations can start to refine their healthcare packaging model. Find ways to reduce complexity and increase understanding for how users should actually be using the product.  

The bottom line? You might think you know how customers engage with healthcare packaging, but you have no idea.

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!

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.

Premium Packaging Drives Demand

The importance of packaging has always resided in its connotations. A plain brown paper wrapping might appear innocuous. But in previous decades, it might have hid a salacious purchase (at least, that's what David Hyde Pierce's 'Down With Love' character has led me to believe).  In 2016, people might be a little less inhibited, but packaging is still just as important. Especially premium packaging. In this era of internet shopping, subscription boxes, and a rapidly-growing marketplace, retailers need to find ways to hook customers and, ideally, turn them into repeat shoppers. Products need to find ways to stand out. According to a recent survey, investing in premium packaging is a one of the best ways for companies to do this. 

Premium packaging

Premium Packaging as a Hook

Dotcom Distribution recently released a survey on driving customer loyalty.  They surveyed nearly 600 shoppers to find out what makes them tick. Or more accurately, what makes them return to certain retailers, and what makes them take their business elsewhere. One of the top ways in which retailers can retain customer is by investing in premium packaging, or custom retail boxes. 

Tips to Retain Customers

According to Dotcom Distribution, consumers look for and reward: 

  • Same day shipping options--in fact, fast shipping was even more important than product quality.
  • Premium packaging. Boxes that make products feel like opening a present, or turn a mundane process into an event (check out Sunrise's custom box section for ideas). 
  • Error-free and transparent fulfillment process. Understandably, customers want to receive the correct order, and like to know when something is processing, then shipping, and when it's going to arrive. 

However, customer loyalty can be fickle. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed chose not to return to a business with whom they felt the shipping and fulfillment process wasn't clear enough. However, that negative experience might be redeemed with premium packaging. If a company offers premium packaging, 40% of respondents would give the organization a second chance, and 50% would be more likely to refer them as well. 

The key takeaways are two investments. The first lies in designing a process that keeps the customer in the loop.  Automation through a CRM can handle this. The second investment should be in product packaging. Specialized packaging demands specialized solutions, which is what Minnesota-based Sunrise Packaging does best. Bring elements of innovation to both your fulfillment and your packaging, and it's all but certain that you'll grow a repeat customer base. At least, that's what Dotcom Distribution has found to be true!

Packaging for Millennials & Beyond

It might surprise you to learn that different generations have different effects on the packaging industry. Baby boomers, which have thundered like a herd of elephants through the ages, dominate the pharmaceutical packaging market.  Medical device packaging for them needs to be lightweight, easy to open, and clearly labeled. However, millennials have surpassed the baby booms to become the largest generation in United States history. Representing nearly 25% of the population, it’s clear that packaging for millennials requires a different tone, look and feel than previous generations.

Packaging for Millennials is Different

Millenials are defined as the generation born between the early 1980’s and mid-1990’s.  While singular qualities range, like any generation, millennials are marked by their desire for uniqueness and creativity, and manufacturers are reacting with increasingly innovative and interesting packaging decisions. Their comfort with mobile devices and online shopping means that knowledge and possessions are quickly available at their fingertips. Ranging from their early twenties to late thirties, their purchasing power is primarily what’s driving the changes in packaging to meet their desire for instant gratification.

What Millennials Look For in Packaging

According to Packaging Digest, there are a few common things that millennials look for in choosing brands and, by extension, packaging for millennials:

  1. What does the brand say about me?
    Millennials want to feel a personal connection to brands because brands say something about a person. In part, brands define who a person is and what their values are. As a generation with access to nearly anything, the choices are limitless. To assign meaning to those choices, millennials see their purchases as emblematic of themselves.
  2. How can this brand be customized to me?
    It’s the insult of all insults: BASIC. To call someone basic is essentially to call them uninteresting. Un-extraordinary. Snd worst of all, boring. This is partially a reference to the millennial love for specialty product ingredients but also the packaging. Millennials consistently gravitate toward custom packaging, according to Supermarket News. Think of the Coca-Cola initiative recently, with people’s names on Cokes.
  3. Is it exclusive and high-end packaging?
    Building on the customization factor, millennials love high-end private label branding. Think luxury and exclusive packaging. Or at least packaging that can be perceived like that.
  4. Who else is using it?
    Social media gives everyone a platform to rant or rave about products, and millennials are very adept at picking up what’s hot and what’s not. Creating buzz is key to packaging for millennials. Include QR codes, hashtags, anything that invites interaction with the brand on the package itself.

How Packaging for Generation Z Will Go Even Further

There’s no sign of these trends stopping with millennials. Generation Z is coming up fast behind them, and they promise to wield even more market power. Expect them to want an even MORE personal relationship with their chosen brands.They’ll also expect to use their mobile-first identity to interact with brands constantly.

Contact Sunrise today for tips and ideas on creating packaging that speaks to millennials in their language.

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!