Wrap Rage is a Thing

VaporTrail-225It’s pretty common knowledge that thermoformed packaging is tough to open. Especially if the edges are factory sealed, or there aren’t easy-to-understand opening instructions. I thought it was just one of those things. You know, like ‘dogs chase cars’ or ‘bees sting.’ But now I know it’s not just a thing, it’s a Thing.

Wikipedia defines Wrap Rage as “the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-open packaging.” It’s further defined as any packaging that claims to be easy-open but is, in actuality, nearly impossible. Such was the case of a vacuum-packed sausage for columnist Lori Borgman. She had to go through two sets of shears to get at her dinner.

Speaking of shears, products are even banking on wrap rage for their marketing plan. A cursory examination of one wrapragecure.com will eventually reveal itself as an advertisement for a product called the Open It™, a fancy-schmancy scissors for opening blister packaging. However, the irony is not lost on me that the Open It™ itself is encased in one of the tightest thermoformed plastic bubbles I’ve ever seen. A chicken-or-the-egg scenario if I ever saw one.

Open It_the wrap rage cure

Image: Bed Bath and Beyond

But even Borgman, sausage sufferer extraordinaire, admits that blister packaging is a necessary evil. Why? Because it’s still one of the top theft deterrents on the market. Or rather, in it. Blister packs and retail go together like peanut butter and jelly. Gold standard. As much as we may dread the eternal struggle that comes from purchasing a blister-packed product, we know that the reason the product was even there to purchase is because that plastic bubble protected it.

Products in stores aren’t supposed to be easy to open! Hello! It’s a sad fact that folks will steal anything not nailed down. I knew someone back in high school that stole display frames from eyeglass stores. For Display Only printed on the plastic lenses and all! But much the way animals know to avoid electrified fences, we humans know not to bother with stealing blister packaged items. The battle too exhausting, the sound too loud, and the risk too great. Therein lay the beauty of custom blister packaging.

Not too mention the reasonably low cost of thermoformed plastic packages means that virtually any product can enjoy the protection. Because people steal low ticket items too, let’s be honest.

So even though wrap rage is a thing, we all accept it. And there are options to making even hard-to-open packaging into easy-open. (Clear instructions being a biggie.) So next time you nick your thumb trying to open that pair of headphones, replace that expletive with a hearty Thanks, Blister Packaging! You’re just doing your job! I get it!

Premium Packaging Just as Important for E-Retailers

customized magnetic boxes with turned edges and soft touch lamination,

We’ve made a case or two (or three, or five) for how important presentation packaging is to the retail market. Custom retail boxes adorned with the trappings of luxury packaging are the eye-catchers and head-turners of brick and mortar stores. Think about it–how many times have you been drawn to some creative or colorful packaging only to find out it’s something you’re not in the market for. But maybe you became in the market for it.

That’s how it works. At Sunrise, we consider premium retail packaging is the first line of offense in a good marketing strategy. (It’s also the first line of defense in theft-protection, if you want to get technical.) Wow your audience at the very first site.

This is great for physical locations, but what about the Web? E-retailers (think Amazon) have stuck mainly to simple corrugated cardboard packaging. After all, a box for shipping just needs to be functional, right? Not according to a new article from Independent Retailer urging eTailers to “ditch the brown box.”

Dotcom Distribution’s Maria Haggerty’s stance on internet retailer packaging is fueled by points similar to the case for standard retail packaging. The main point seems to be that no matter the source, packaging for e-retailers needs to fulfill the same goals. Turn heads and catch eyes. Add value to the product within. Make you as a consumer feel good about your purchase. Even when you know what’s inside, there is something sort of empty about tearing into a plain cardboard box.

Haggerty goes on to mention how important premium packaging is to social media. From unboxing videos to packaging damaged in shipment, retail packaging makes its way into social forums. When a box is beat up in transit, most of the time folks will take to social media, telling their story and even posting pics to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Haggerty believes this tradition of only posting the bad can be combatted by high-quality and highly creative packaging. Something that’s worth posting just because it’s beautiful or cool. It’s true that people generally find it easier to complain than to boast about products and their packaging, but high-end luxury packaging could be a turning point for that sentiment.

“Forty percent of consumers said branded packaging makes them more likely to share a product image or video on social media, and consumers are 1.5 times more likely to share pictures of gift-like boxes than traditional brown boxes on social platforms.” – Maria Haggerty, Dotcom Distribution

It’s tough to take a side on this one. On one hand, we couldn’t agree more that custom boxes and presentation packaging are a crucial element to sales and marketing a product. On the flip side, it’s hard to deny how perfect corrugated cardboard packaging (aka the old reliable brown box) is for shipping. Ships in flat-packed bulk to start, cushioned along the way, and ends up being recycled thanks to its naturally eco-friendly nature.

Of course, there are middle of the roads to this issue. Our instant rigid boxes, for example, ship flat, but have all the adornments of luxury packaging. E-flute is a corrugated product that can be nearly as flashy as chipboard. And if you’re looking to keep packaging green (a selling point in of itself) there are options such as soy-based inks and aqueous coatings.

Instant Rigid Box_premium packaging trendsElf3

What it comes down to is that packaging can make a product appear to be a gift–even if it’s a gift to yourself–and there’s a certain pride and joy that comes from opening a gift. The retail arena knows this, and it’s time the e-retail business catches up.

Box or Not: The Next Big Thing in Hybrid Packaging

Magnetic Flap BoxGate Fold Box

When you think of a box, what do you picture?

A perfect cardboard cube? A hinged cigar box that opens from the top? Maybe you’re picturing a pizza box?

If you’re picturing that last one, you might just be hungry. But the others? Well, you make a fair point. What is a box exactly? How does one define a box. With so many styles, varieties, textures, and purposes, there’s probably only one working definition of a box–something that you can put something else into. Something that holds something.

This question is always on our mind. As we’ve often said, we prefer to think less in terms of custom boxes and more in terms of packaging solutions. The question shouldn’t be how do we shoehorn a product into a four-cornered cavity, it should be what can we create? What can we design? What’s the “box” nobody has seen yet?

Operating in this “gray area” of presentation packaging design has allowed us to create some unique products. Display kits with handles and magnetic closures. Rigid boxes with unique openings. Trays and inserts that secure products some considered unsecurable.

Of all these hybrid boxes, none stands out more than our custom pad packaging.

They’re built like a box, but open like books. Most popular of these is our FlashPad™. Designed to hold a personalized flash drive, the FlashPad has the same rigid walls, turned edges, and foam inserts as a lot of our custom packaging products, but…is it a box?

Custom Pad Foam for hybrid packagingAudio-Machine

If you go by the working definition listed above, then yes. It holds any number of objects and includes several of the elements of a typical box design, right down to the chipboard! It opens, displays, organizes and does so all with style. Presentation packaging at its finest!

What people don’t realize is that this pad isn’t just for flash drives. This box hybrid can be made to any dimensions for holding a variety of products. Makeup, iPads, pens, books–you name it! If a large, handled display kit isn’t your thing, then perhaps a custom pad can be a mini display kit. It’ll have the same rigid heft, stunning visuals, and high quality custom inserts but at a smaller size (and a distinctive opening). Substitute the flyers and pamphlets for a USB drive loaded with images and videos. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, imagine what a flash drive-full is worth! Load it up with software demos, links, or mp3s. All the while rewarding your potential with a memorable gift.

That’s just one of the big ideas coming out of Sunrise Packaging. Whether you’re looking for custom boxes, presentation pieces, or hybrid packaging–we’ll have the solution for you.

#WhatDidYouPlayMondays Tension Mounts with Zombie Thriller Dead of Winter

As Halloween closes in (and even scarier: snow!) it might have been the perfect weekend to play Dead of Winter, a Crossroads zombie game by Plaid Hat Games. And what a thrill it was.

Dead of Winter_custom game board setup

Image: Plaid Hat Games

What is Dead of Winter?

Dead of Winter is a (semi) cooperative game of survival set during a nasty winter in a zombie apocalypse. Players must work to defend a colony of survivors from an ever-increasing zombie hoard. That’s about as surface an explanation as it gets. A board game for 2-5 players, the box says it plays in 60-90 minutes, although our sessions have always been longer.

Is it fun?

Yes and no. Yes, in that Dead of Winter is a total blast that will leave you wanting to play again immediately, no matter how late at night it is by then. No, in the same way that the SAW movies aren’t ‘fun.’

This game is intense. And I don’t throw that word around casually. This game will get your heart racing and the gears turning. Like I said earlier, on the surface this is a game of survival during a zombie outbreak, but peel back the layers and you have a full-fledged mystery-thriller-whodunnit on your hands.

For starters, this game has a traitor element. Every objective card has a secret win scenario, which means how YOU win the game is not the same as the other players. There can be multiple winners and, more likely, multiple losers. Some objective cards are marked with blood red letters that spell out BETRAYAL! Which means that if you get that card, your win objective is to hurt the colony. There may be a traitor in the game. There may not be a traitor in the game. But every round, you have the option of voting someone out of the game (aka ‘exiling’ them). This action gives that person a new objective–meaning you may have created a traitor in a game that didn’t have one. Or worse, you may have created a second traitor. In any case, you’re staring down your friends with suspicious eyes as they take their turns around the table.

Wait, I thought this was a cooperative game?

Like many aspects of Dead of Winter, this one is a gray area. While each player does have their own objectives necessary to win, you must also protect the colony. The colony itself acts as a sophisticated timer. Each round ticks away at a countdown meter, and each character death, waste buildup, and starvation outcome chips away at your morale meter. If either of these hit zero, the game ends. At the end of the game, if you haven’t completed your win scenario, you lose. Thus, it’s in your best interest to keep the colony functioning–for the time being, at least. This means contributing food to the cache, barricading doors, searching for supplies, and slaughtering zombies faster than a Walking Dead episode.

On Top of That…

There’s a Crisis event that gets revealed every round that all players must contribute to. Failure to combat this crisis usually ends in a zombie mob or a catastrophic depletion of resources. Of course, if you’re the traitor, maybe that’s right up your alley.

And On Top of That…

There are also Crossroads cards that are drawn by a neighbor on a player’s turn. If at any time the scenario plays out like on the Crossroads card–BAM!–the event triggers and you get saddled with another mini-scenario that must be resolved.

And On Top of ALL That…

Oh yeah, every time you go somewhere–even if it’s to empty the trash–you have to roll a beautifully crafted Exposure die, which can end in a fatal zombie bite, a semi-fatal wound, debilitating frostbite. Of course, you could roll no effect at all…but where’s the fun in that?

Yes, Dead of Winter is a game that truly keeps the tension ratcheting up. It exudes theme like my brow exudes perspiration when I’m playing it. Never have I played a board game that is so indepth. Every situation, every choice, feels so real…and yet, it’s still zombies at the end of the world day.

Custom Game Board and Packaging

I find one of the most interesting features of this game is its pieces. As if to mirror the game’s complexity in a distorted way, the board and its pieces are very simple. Minimalistic. The artwork is top notch, don’t get me wrong. And the soft-touch turned edge game board that represents the colony has cool industrial-blueprint-inspired graphics. But the pieces themselves–of which there are many–representing players and zombies alike are all punchboard. Chipboard standees with plastic holders and punch-out food tokens and wound markers. And yet, it seems to fit with the feel of the game. Not once did I find myself wishing I had injection molded miniatures. Any chance for more of that vivid artwork, the better!

Perhaps the only feature of the custom packaging that I didn’t care for was the insert. The simple paperboard trays did their job of separating, but with the majority of the game’s story told on separate decks of cards, it would have been nice to have more organization. There are not enough slots for all the cards, nor did the game come with enough plastic bags to keep everything separate.

Of course, this is a very small complaint, and doesn’t diminish gameplay in the least. It does however make cleanup/teardown a little bit more of a pain.

Rating: 5 Ninja Throwing Stars out of 5

Did I mention there’s a ninja in the game? Either way, I definitely will play Dead of Winter again. (In fact, I’m playing it tonight!)


WDYPM

 

 

Don’t forget to keep up with other gamers using the #WhatDidYouPlayMondays hashtag and remember to use Sunrise Packaging for your custom board game design and packaging needs!

Kitting: When a Box is More Than a Box

What is Kitting?

Kitting means making a kit out of something. Whether it’s a custom sales kit or product launch kit, it’s the act of assembling a variety of materials to supplement a product, or to flesh out a promotion for an organization. This could include collector coins, plastic whistles, compact discs, water bottles–any number of items that can be personalized to promote a cause.

kitting custom product launch kits_promotional

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

SWAG = Stuff We All Get

The kitting marketing model is a trusted one. Everybody likes SWAG. This is especially effective for new products that might not have a history. Packaging that product with other items will automatically increase value, not to mention awareness. Same for an organization, something that has an idea rather than a tangible product but still needs to stand out equally at trade shows and conventions. Kitting a display-worthy box is vital in that situation.

But a lot of people forget that sometimes products they think are standalone are really a sort of kit. Maybe it’s not true kitting by definition, but often times a product is more than the sum of its part, and a custom box is more than just a box.

Here are a few products that benefit from a form of kitting.

Board Games

0913152015We talk about board games like they are a singular item. Even in your head, when you picture a board game you’re probably picturing unfolding the Monopoly board. But a board game is a kit of sorts. Think about it. All those game pieces, cards, timers, pegs, even the board itself. Those are all loose pieces that require thermoformed trays. Without an instruction booklet, a game isn’t even game. More expensive board games with elaborate miniatures should have die cut foam to protect them. As part of a board game group, I often see people frustrated that they have to make their own homemade inserts for games. Or worst of all: they don’t buy the game because they know it will be a pain to maintain.

Chocolates

What do we know about a box of chocolates? It’s fun to get one. Life is like one, according to Forrest Gump. But there’s more to a box of cherry cordials or delectable caramel turtles than just a box. First of all, if you want to hold water in the candy business, the gold standard is a rigid two-piece setup box. But inside, you can just leave those chocolates loose. A thermoformed tray is best, but at the very least an SBS paperboard insert should be used to separate the truffles from the mints. And my very favorite thing is when the bottom of the box has a description of what the chocolate is. That makes me feel like a rockstar.

Software

FulfillmentSoftware comes in a variety of packaging. From flash drives stored in custom pads to compact discs in sealed plastic pockets to a sort of binder. But packaging software is the ultimate form of kitting. Software itself is intangible. It’s just data! It’s tricky enough to sell data at retail, but how do you add value to a thin piece of metal? Or a code for an MMORPG? That’s where a custom kit can come in handy. Preload a custom flash drive with data, plant it in closed cell foam, and you’re in business.

Whatever your definition of kitting is, it’s hard to deny that there’s more elements going on with boxes than “just a box.” That’s why we like to think of projects as packaging solutions. Because often times it’s more than just four walls, a base, and a lid. Presentation packaging should always be about what’s inside.

What’s especially cool about Sunrise Packaging is that all those elements of kitting, we can do under one roof? Not every box company deals in plastics, and not every 3-ring binder manufacturer can preload your flash drive.

Making a high quality custom box? That’s the least we can do!

Packaging Trends Appear at Biggest Pack Expo Yet

Instant Rigid Box_packaging trends Flatfoldup-Box

Reports are calling Pack Expo Las Vegas a ‘record breaker.’

Modern Materials Handling breaks down the numbers from Pack Expo Las Vegas, showing an increase in just about every statistic from 2013’s show. The expo brought nearly 29,000 custom packaging fans to Nevada the final weekend in September. Showrunner PMMI, the Association of Packaging and Processing Technologies, says that’s a 6% increase from 2013.

This might have been due in part to the joint effort with the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering, which allowed Pharma Con to take place within the same convention area. Either way, more sets of eyes were on current packaging trends than any year prior.

These trends ranged in topic across quite a spectrum. While advancements in robotic packaging devices stole the show, the biggest topics were (of course) medical packaging, environmentally friendly packaging, and food packaging.

More than the usual presentation packaging side, the medical packaging trends were aimed at sterility and proper dosage. Additionally, according to Packaging World, packaging design seemed to be answering the call by the public to be more environmental. The most interesting element may have been the push from rigid packaging to flexible packaging, or rather packaging designs that could be converted from one to the other. Some kind of of hybrid of corrugated and rigid packaging? In a way, we already have a product like that, but it will be curious to see what comes next.

But whatever comes next in popular packaging, the same high quality of standards and design will have to be present. No matter what trends or inventions come along in the world of presentation packaging, retail packaging, and luxury packaging, we know that packaging in general is still a necessity. Without custom boxes for security, thermoformed trays and foam inserts for storage, and the visual marketing provided by custom printing, products will have a very unfortunate presence on shelves and in meetings.

Whatever trends are coming down the pipe, you can guarantee we’ll stay on top of it.

Adventures in Cardboard

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Remember the good ol’ days of local kids getting together? Having an adventure? Using their imaginations instead of plugging into the nearest tablet or computer? Being outside for a change?

It seems like an eternity between the days when kids were begging to go outside and play, gathering up props and materials that would become swords and costumes. And it’s not just on the kids’ end–parents find it harder and harder to be able to facilitate these adventures what with work schedules.

Fortunately, there’s a group that’s doing something about it. And they’re doing it with cardboard.

lillianworkingIt’s called Adventures in Cardboard, an organization that aims to end “nature deficit disorder” by hosting workshops and events for youth from around the Twin Cities area. A large part of these workshops consist of activities like Arms & Armor and Giant Castle in which corrugated cardboard plays a big part. Boxes are turned into swords and armor. Spires and helmets. Local playgrounds are decorated with OCC (old corrugated cardboard) to create giant castles. The kids don cardboard armor and play out adventures, flexing both their imaginations and art skills.

Corrugated packaging like cardboard boxes is ideal for things like this. Pinterest is filled with ideas for cardboard box art, crafts, even furniture. What makes it so great is the low cost and the fact that it’s eco-friendly. It’s 100% recyclable nature makes it the perfect material for an organization like Adventures in Cardboard to use. On top of these features, history shows us that there’s just something about cardboard that unlocks the imagination. It’s something everyone seems to have access to and is great for so many versatile uses.

These same reasons make it great for custom boxes as well.

Currently, Adventures in Cardboard is running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a sort of scholarship which would allow even more children to attend. Children that normally could not. Visit the link above for more info, and check out Sunrise Packaging’s blog for more ideas on what to do with corrugated cardboard.

Images: Julian McFaul/Adventures in Cardboard

Games Without Board-ers #WhatDidYouPlayMondays

What games did I play this weekend?

This weekend was a gamefest for me. Not only did I get to play several board games, I got to try out another grail game. But what did all these board games have in common?

No boards.

That’s right. Every game I played this weekend didn’t have the traditional board that comprises a board game. Maybe a tabletop game would be a better name. Whatever you call them, these games each had their own mechanics and systems and custom packaging.

Saturday’s board game was called Betrayal at House on the Hill. If you think the name’s a mouthful, you might not be surprised by the two manuals the game comes with outlining several scenarios. The premise is a group of people brought to a haunted house in the dead of night. Forced to explore this mysterious manor, the visitors eventually discover a traitor among them and the game takes a turn.

But how does a game of property exploration exist without a game board?

Tiles. Chipboard tiles representing various rooms, stairways, and foyers are laid out as the players explore the house, giving the impression of searching the dark with a flashlight. As the game progresses, a game board is actually  built, but never completely, and rarely the same as a previous playthrough. Definitely a twist on the classic game board. Of course, the game box needs to have different elements. Deeper to hold the extra pieces, with a unique cavity for holding the tiles. An ordinary die cut gameboard usually just sits on top, like an extra lid.

Sunday, I followed up my board-less theme with a dice game. Firefly: Shiny Dice capitalizes on the cult hit Firefly–one of my favorites. Much like the show, the plot of the game revolves around forming a crew of outlaws to fight even more underhanded villains–all aboard a spaceship.

firefly_shiny_dice_gamegames_firefly shiny dice contents

This would be a pretty standard affair for a board game, but Shiny Dice does it with–shocker–dice. Dice, cards, and a playmat that is basically just a screen-printed mousepad make up the contents. While the rules seemed overly complex, it finally hit its stride. I can see it being difficult to make a press-your-luck dice game that plays longer and with depth, but there’s a lot to remember.

For a game that is mostly just small components, I would have appreciated nicer packaging (especially for the price point). Even forgiving the plain cardboard interior, it’s sad to open up a game and see three sets of cards combined and in disarray, with dice all akimbo. SBS dividers would have been appreciated.

Finally, my gaming group and I finished up with another fairly new title: Diamonsters. From the makers of Machi Koro comes a game of gem-munching monsters and a bidding system that is simple to learn. The game doesn’t have a ton of depth and, as one of my pals noted, plays a lot like the classic card game War. But it is nice to play a quick, fun game once in awhile as a palate cleanser. My only complaint about this game is the box. Don’t get me wrong, the artwork  is beautiful and the box is a masterpiece. A sturdy two piece setup box with soft-touch lamination.

diamonsters custom game box telescope_box_diamonsters diamonster_two_piece_rigid_setup_box

However, it’s a real pain to get open. It’s like hermetically-sealed or something. As I struggled to separate the top from the bottom, the packaging expert in me was screaming Would it kill you to put some thumb notches in this thing?!

The point of all this: I kind of missed the game board. Betrayal was a blast and very unique, but it still built a game board. There’s just something about that turned edge chipboard that makes a game a game in my opinion. Game designers are tasked with reinventing the wheel in a lot of ways, but sometimes you can’t beat a classic.

Keep Sunrise Packaging in mind for all your custom board game needs and don’t forget to keep up with your fellow gamers with the hashtag #WhatDidYouPlayMondays!

WDYPM

New Craft Beer Means New Brew Kit Packaging

voyageur brewing_grand marais_craft beer

Craft beer is the way. It’s the truth. It’s the future.

 

I might consider myself a craft beer aficionado (read: snob) but I think at least one of those descriptors is true for everybody: Craft beer really is the future. Stats from 2014 show a lot of growth in the craft brewing industry, and not just on the sales side. But if you’re not a numbers person, just look at the tap selection of any restaurant. Chances are good that you’ll see more than just your usual Lites. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t see any of those–but that’s probably just my snobbery talking.

The craft beer movement has added a certain class to beer-drinking. It’s made beer something to sip, something to enjoy. Something to talk about. Beer isn’t just a thing to chug at a frat party anymore. It’s got tasting notes, unique ABV’s, aromas, colors, and ingredients. Talking points. Which have become selling points.

Craft breweries are opening left and right. Two opened nearly across the street from each other in the last town I lived in. A town with a population of only about 1300. Minnesota has a huge craft brew community, both in commercial- and home-brewing. You could spend a week touring the breweries just between Duluth and the Canadian border.

The growth of the craft brew industry suggests that everyone wants a seat on this train. As the demand for new, unique beers grows greater, more beer lovers are turning to brewing their own. If you thought choosing a wine was a tiring process, try picking out a craft beer. The graphics are top notch. The logos are epic. The names are hilariously punny. And with new breweries, comes new merch.

Yes, the retail world of craft beer is getting to be dog-eat-dog. Every man/woman for their shelf, as it were. Distributors are always trying to pick the next big brew. If you’re a distributor trying to get a beer into the wild that is pubs and restaurants–or maybe a brewer yourself–you might want to consider a high-end presentation piece. Let the stunning quality of a custom launch kit highlight your craft beers with crisp organization.

Imagine a custom box, sturdy as treasure chest, embossed with your brewery’s name.

A foil stamped logo shining on turned edge presentation packaging. A clasped handle box, complete with tuck tabs and a turned edge, hardwood-pattern custom print enticing you to open it. Inside is a precise-fitting die cut foam filling, cradling a sampling of your craft beers like the gems they are. In between, a custom cavity housing a personalized bottle opener, or perhaps a fancy tasting glass with your brewery’s name front and center. Or how about a t-shirt?  A pint glass? A flash drive? A thermoformed blister pack with a sample of hops?

All of this is possible with a custom marketing kit. Use it as promotional packaging for your distributor, a holiday gift pack, a Kickstarter incentive, or even a drawing for a raffle. Upscale presentation packaging adds big value to any item–even craft beer.

Or maybe you’re selling home brewing kits. Clean, organized packaging with instructions and tasting notes, and room for booklets and tools, goes a long way with to helping a first-time brewer choose a kit at a homebrew store.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of how launch kit boxes can work towards getting a new brew noticed.

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Breaking News for the Future of Corrugated

custom corrugated boxesThe Corrugated Forecast is Looking Bright

According to a press release earlier this morning, the corrugated packaging market is projected to increase by 5% from now until 2020. 5% may not seem like much, but when the industry was already valued at 150.1 billion in 2014…well, the technical term is a “boom.”

But why? Why would the oldest, most basic form of packaging be forecasting such big numbers in a world of smart packaging and luxury customizations?

Maybe because cardboard is timeless. Almost literally. A classic packaging product, corrugated cardboard is still the most functional. Thanks to its fluted walls, cardboard boxes provide lightweight-but-durable cushion for a variety of products big and small. It can be printed upon for clarity of product. It ships flat, which is a huge space (and money) saver. Thankfully, it’s also eco-friendly, being recycled itself and recyclable in turn. Yes, corrugated cardboard really is a miracle material when it comes to custom packaging.

But, seriously, why the boom?

It’s hard to believe in a world of smart packaging–interactive, trackable retail boxes–the cardboard box could even compete. After all, in their basic form, corrugated cardboard boxes are sort of the ugly duckling of packaging. However, it’s hard to compete with its shippibility. For starters, it ships flat and in bulk which is nearly priceless to business owners. Once assembled and filled, that same lightness that makes it cheap to ship incoming keeps shipping rates low on the outgoing.

Tuck TabOne Piece Folder

And, if you hadn’t noticed, e-commerce is booming like never before. There’s your answer: corrugated packaging is riding the wave of internet sales. Think Amazon. Think Loot Crate. Think any of those ______-of-the-Month clubs. Everything from craft beer to razor blades have a monthly shipment service these days, and corrugated cardboard packaging is keeping the bulk of these products safe in their travels.

While many online subscription clubs have embraced the eco-friendly look of cardboard, they are not without personalization. Many of these companies rely on YouTube unboxings for their advertising. Often times, companies like Loot Crate and Nerd Block will send out sample products to be opened live in YouTube clips–a hybrid of testimonials and demonstration videos. That on-the-spot Christmas Morning feel of seeing the products opened for the first time really makes the packaging the star of the show–or at the very least, the opening act. Now more than ever, custom cardboard boxes for retail need to be unique and visually appealing. Will presentation packaging see the same boom?