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!

The Netbox Adds Value to Vaping Kits

 

Vaping. It’s here. And if the numbers have anything to say, the e-cigarette movement is not going anywhere. If anything, it’s gaining momentum. Becoming a culture. With Vapefests popping up across the country and e-cigarette companies popping up left and right, it’s more important than ever for industry startups to lean on luxury packaging.

custom box with turned edge printing, magnets, and an upscale luxury presentation

Behold the Netbox!

If vaping is the future of smoking, then the NetBox is the future of e-cigarette packaging. These beautiful examples of custom turned-edge packaging are available with all the bells of whistles: soft-touch laminations, full-color printing, embossing and foil stamping. But, when it comes to vaping, this box is more than just for for show. Here are a few reasons, why a custom box like the Netbox can make a vaping kit shine.

 

Protects Vaping Components

Vaping is more than just picking up a pack of smokes at the gas station. It’s got a certain class and elegance. It also has parts–and not the disposable kind. The ‘e’ in e-cigarette means electronic, which means you can’t just roll a vaping device up in your shirt sleeve–or shouldn’t, rather. Quality vaping kits all contain basic components: an atomizer for heating the liquid, a battery, and cartridges, or containers for the liquid. These pieces are electronics and glass and should be properly packaged. Netboxes can be fit with diecut foam inserts or thermoformed plastic trays to hold these items. Protective packaging that’s also retail ready.

 

Doubles as Storage

Since an e-cigarette is more than just a stick, a custom box is a must. Without durable packaging, vaping kits couldn’t include all the necessary parts. And since those parts aren’t disposable, a vaper needs to be able to store the kit, either at home or on the go. Attractive packaging like the Netbox becomes an heirloom–a futuristic humidor for vaping technology.  There is a lot of pride amongst vapers. Custom mods and styles are all the rage. So giving the gift of sleek, luxurious storage that also leaves room for modifications is a strong selling point.

custom turned edge magnetic box for vaping kits

Adds Value to Vaping Kits

The humidor was once the hallmark of cigar aficionados, a symbol of regality and wealth. Vapers want that feeling as much as anyone else, and elegant custom packaging from the get-go sends the message of class and sophistication. The NetBox is a magnet box, which is already a cool feature. That smooth, subtle snap of a magnetic tab sends the message of high-end. Upscale packaging goes a long way in an industry focused on appearance.
In the end, whether vaping kits or a marketing kits, it always comes back to presentation. If you want someone to take pride in your product, the first step is taking pride in it yourself. And that starts with the suit it’s wearing.


 

Custom Packaging Spotlight: Ramble FX Twin Bender Setup Box

Minnesota’s own Ramble FX knows that an elegant piece of equipment like their Twin Bender fuzz pedal needs elegant custom packaging. The custom box we crafted for them definitely fits the bill. It truly puts the custom in customized.

 

custom two piece rigid setup box by sunrise packaging for ramble fx, turned edge, soft touch laminate tray with diecut foam insert

 

This luxurious custom package is a very unique combination of elements. The Ramble FX box is a rigid 2-piece setup box which means it has a strong, durable construction of sturdy chipboard that almost completely telescopes shut. A sliver of the bottom tray remains. This design is as functional as it is visual; the flash of red compliments the box while also providing a handhold for ease of opening. A custom package should always consider having this element or thumb notches for a smoother user interface.

 

The top or outer layer of this custom packaging sports the impressive Ramble FX logo, brought to life with crisp graphics and protected with a soft-touch lamination. This soft-touch feature ratchets down the glare as well as giving the packaging a high-end feel. When you have your hands on the Twin Bender custom box, you know it’s a fine piece of hardware before you even open it.

 

The bottom tray has it’s own unique glossy lamination, giving the red a glow while also giving the bottom a smooth, clean texture. The lower tray is fit with a foam insert, die-cut precisely for the pedal and matching the colors of the rest of the packaging. The devil is in the details, as they say.

 

Ramble FX Twin Bender custom packaging. turned-edge box design, rigid two-piece setup box, offset printing, glossy lamination, soft touch lamination, diecut foam insert

 

The Ramble FX custom box has a highly-impactful presence, garnering an appreciation from the buyer that is opening their purchase for the first time, or the onlooker that may be in the market for a fuzz pedal. Truly impressive, unique, and personalized for a standout look. A beautiful frame for a masterpiece of musical equipment, and a testament to the added value of custom packaging.

 

As always, it was a pleasure to contribute to this truly artful custom packaging presentation.

The Most Famous Piece of Corrugated Cardboard Ever

A portion of the star wars early bird certificate, maybe the most famous piece of corrugated cardboard in the history of retail


The year is 1977. Fleetwood Mac is blasting through the speakers of Trans Ams everywhere, Star Wars takes the box office by storm, and the Kenner toy company is sitting on the golden egg of a lifetime–and they almost crushed it. Here’s the true story of how a piece of corrugated cardboard changed the face of marketing history.


 

May the Corrugated Cardboard Be With You

 

Months earlier in 1976, The Kenner toy company caught a seemingly lucky break. A small subsidiary of General Mills, Kenner’s usual fare was squirt guns and bubbles. But a major toy company, Mego, had passed on the Star Wars license to produce toys. Kenner, the Little Toy Company That Could, managed to acquire it.

 

Huge mistake for Mego. Potential mistake for Kenner.

 

Why? Just because Kenner picked up the license didn’t mean they believed in Star Wars. It seems impossible now, but the original Star Wars movie could barely get off the runway back in the day.

 

But once it did, it exploded.

 

The late May blockbuster left Kenner scrambling to produce Star Wars toys in time for the holiday season. Even by today’s standards, that’s a tough deadline. At some point, the small company realized they couldn’t meet the demand by Christmas. But did they give up? Not a chance. Instead they turned to a piece of customized corrugated cardboard into a legend.

 

The Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Was Born.

custom corrugated cardboard packaging used in the marketing of popular star wars toys

A member of the Kenner team had an idea. Instead of letting the ball drop, they created a corrugated cardboard box. Most likely an E-Flute wall structure–the standard in luxury display packaging–Kenner’s Early Bird Certificate doubled as a display stand. The idea was that kids could mail in the certificate and, when the toys were ready, Kenner would send out the first wave of toys, packaged in a thermoformed plastic tray. Then, when the package came, kids would have a spot ready to display them.

 

And they sold it.

 

Hero Complex’s Jay West calls it the “the most coveted empty box in the history of retail.” To think that anything could replace an action figure under the tree in a child’s eyes seems unlikely, let alone a hunk of corrugated cardboard. But it did. In fact, the anticipation of staring at the placeholder while waiting for the figurines to arrive made the prize even sweeter. Exclusive mail-away action figures would be the cornerstone of the Star Wars toys for the next 30 years.

 

Maybe Kenner’s whole plan wouldn’t fly today. But there’s a lot of takeaways from this story. Not giving up? Of course. Taking chances? Sure. But, above all, it shows the creativity stored in that “coveted empty box.” That’s the power of corrugated cardboard. It’s durable, environmental, economical, and endlessly engineerable. Just a simple piece of cardboard changed the face of product licensing forever. Think what it could change next.

 

You might be wondering what parents paid for that precious corrugated cardboard back in the day. $7.99. But what are folks willing to spend on it today?

the infamous customized corrugated cardboard on ebay, glossy laminate

 


 

Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) and the Five Easies

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

 

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

 

So what is Retail Ready Packaging?

 

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

 

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

 

retail ready packaging, five easies, rrp guidelines

Image: Retail Ready Packaging Toolkit

 

Easy to Identify

 

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

 

Easy to Open

 

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

 

Easy to Shelf

 

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

 

Easy to Shop

 

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

 

Easy to Dispose

 

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

 

Bottom Line

 

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