Category Archives: Basics & 101

What are common types of boxes you ask?

Regular Slotted Cartons (RSC)

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These cartons are primarily shipping and storage boxes, and always require glue, tape, or staples to close. They’re more economical than die cuts (custom boxes), and combine functionality with protection in a single package. To add flare to your rsc boxes, printing can be added: your company name and logo in a few colors, or your own artwork in full 4 color lithographic brilliance.  FYI- ALL BOXES CAN BE CUSTOM PRINTED IF YOU WANT THEM.

Corrugated Mailers

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Mailers are a one-piecebox with an attached, self-locking lid. Often used for CD, DVD and VHS shipping, they are ideal for promotional products for your company. Mailers lend a far more attractive and functional aspect to your product as they can be opened and re-closed without any damage to the box itself.

Folding Cartons

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This style of box is perfect for boxes that are intricate yet need to be able to fold into a size suitable for storage. These are great for the retail level and can be print with detailed 4 color printing and high gloss UV coatings. Some assembly is required before the box is put into use, but don’t worry, it isn’t origami!

Bin & Storage Containers

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These open tray -type boxes are ideal for maximizing your shelf space by organizing supplies, parts, magazines and newsletters.

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How To: Measure a Box & Box Basics

Measuring boxes is as easy as 1-2-3. Box measurements always correspond to the inner dimensions of the box. This is done to ensure a snug and protective fit around your product.

 
Simply measure the length, width, and depth (or height) of what you would like to pack and express the measurements in milimetres. Make sure to give the dimensions in this order:

1. length
2. width
3. depth

Corrugated Carton

This probably is the most common style of box with fold over flaps to seal at the top and bottom. It is also one of the most economical styles of box in that it produces very little waste and requires no origination for manufacturing unless it is to be printed.

Die-Cuts

A very common style of box that is manufactured with the use of a shaped die-cutting tools. This style of box ensure higher degrees of accuaracy in size and consistancy and allows for almost any shape or style of box to be manufactured. When a special size or style is required a tooling charge will be incurred as a one-off charge.

Fittings and Internal Packaging

Internal fittings often form an important part of a packs overall design. The fittings can be simply seperator pads to complex multipart Die-cut divisions. They perform a key role in the seperation and cushioning of products and are fundamental to the overall performance of a packs design. Common types of fittings are pads, divisions and scored seperation and void filling fittings. The use and design of fittings is always driven by the product and distribution requirement.

Avoiding a mistake in packaging… How to…?

You invest so much time and money in product development, why not invest a little more and protect yourself from making a bad packaging mistake?

It is easy to make a packaging error that comes back to haunt you after you have packaged the product and sent it on its way to the retailer’s shelf.

We think about bad packaging when they hit the news. For example “Ecoli Outbreak Attributed to Packaging.” Packaging that on the surface seems like a good idea but then backfires due to some unforeseen circumstance that takes place. Why wait until it becomes an issue?

Wolfgang Puck found out about “bad” packaging the hard way when his new self heating latte cans hit the retailer shelf and started exploding. Was it his fault? Probably not, but the words “Product Recall” were shouted from the isles.

“Fabuloso” experienced a similar problem when it designed the packaging for its cleaning products to look like soda or beverage bottles. Children confused the “fabulous” colors with the real thing. A few poisonings later they realized they had made a huge mistake.

All packaging problems certainly don’t rise to the level of these two examples. A problem can be something of minor significance. Nonetheless, it is a problem and in many cases can be avoided or at the very least modified or anticipated. You would be surprised at how many people contact me knowing in advance that their packaging may have a problem yet they never do anything about it. Perhaps they will be the next big news story.

In any case, there are ways to foresee potentially “bad” packaging situations. A little forward thinking may alleviate impending problems. Here are some common questions that could pave the way to avoiding potential packaging problems:

Should I put my product in a plastic clamshell? The number one contested “packaging” issue revolves around the plastic clamshell and how difficult it is to open or penetrate without causing bodily harm. Can you anticipate this problem? You bet. Weigh your options when considering this type of packaging. Even with your best effort to make the clamshell easy to open, you may end up as an “Oyster Award” candidate and be labeled as one of the most difficult packages to open.

What is “green” packaging and how can I incorporate it into my packaging design? Whether to use green packaging or not should not be the question. What you should be asking is does utilizing environmentally friendly packaging materials make sense for my product?
Am I going green legitimately or just jumping on the “green” bandwagon to make a buck? Will I be mandated to use “green” packaging materials by retailers? What other options can I consider that aren’t “green?” You really need to take some time to analyze these and other questions before you advance your packaging development in the wrong direction.

My packaging is working now should I change it to new and improved or give it a packaging makeover? Remember my negative packaging trend for 07. Don’t fix it, if it ain’t broken. Consumers hate change. When they go to look for their trusted brand on the retailer’s shelf, you want to ensure they recognize your product easily. If they don’t, they may be forced to buy from the competition. Keep packaging consistency and continuity to make it easy for consumers to buy from you.

Who regulates what needs to be on my product packaging? The answer is just about everyone. Outside of the various regulatory agencies that tell you what can and must be placed on your product packaging you could be mandated by a plethora out outside influences. Here are a few examples.

Going Green? Better listen to what Wal-Mart has to say with their “Packaging Scorecard.”

Trading in the organic space? Better understand what the work organic means to your product and who is watching out looking for a mislabeled package or a claim that can’t be validated.

Making weight loss claims or dietary claims on your product packaging? Just about every one will be on your case. These claims are heavily scrutinized, not just by regulatory agencies but by consumers too. They are taking charge of their own well being. They “can” and will read them.

Pay attention to these common packaging questions to which many companies don’t find adequate answers before they embark on their product packaging. By doing so, you may anticipate potential packaging problems that could result in packaging problems. Do your homework. Use a little common sense and think about packaging issues relative to your product. Consider what you can do to avoid potential pitfalls before it’s too late.

USE YOUR BRAIN! When making big packaging and marketing decisions.

Feeling overwhelmed while trying to develop a package for your product? I’m not surprised. Packaging is the third largest industry in the country.

In fact, there are more than 10,000 packaging manufactures in the US alone. The proliferation of material choices and vendors is extensive. To begin you will have to narrow the resource and material universe before you package anything. That is your first step because you can’t have a product without a package.

Which vendor is right for you? What is your packaging material of choice? Do you understand the differences between each material and what value each will bring to marketing your product? How do you sift through the mounds of information and resources to set started packaging your product?

Here are 5 easy rules to get you started.

1. Do Your Homework—Before you decide how you want to package your product you need to see and understand what is already available in the marketplace. Even if your product is the greatest new invention out there, you will still have competition of some sort. Start by checking that out first. Visit outlets that carry similar products or products in the same category. For example, if you have a houseware product you should check out places that market housewares. Don’t just pick one outlet. Go to a variety of stores. You don’t want to develop a great new packaging concept only to find someone else is already doing the same thing. The more you look the better informed you will become. Be careful not to go into information overload by visiting every retailer outlet out there. This will only serve to confuse your decision making process.

2. Pick Your Packaging Material—This isn’t as simple as it sounds because there are many external factors influencing why products are packaged in certain types of materials. Certain products lend themselves special merchandising. Some products can only be merchandised in certain materials. How the product is merchandised may dictate what type of package material you use. For example, if you need clarity to see the entire product then you are probably going to want plastic. The choice of material may also be dictated by availability.

Packaging materials are classified by their primary raw material. Two simple examples are paper and plastic. Within in each material type are numerous sub categories of different types of packaging. If you chose paper packaging it might be a box, a bag, a drum, a tube, a canister and so on. See the variety of choices? It’s easy to become inundated with options and hard to figure out what is the best choice. As products lend themselves to several different packaging materials, it’s best to start with what you know is working with similar products. Even if you choose the same material as a competitive product the package doesn’t necessarily need to look the same.

3. Optimize Your Package Profile—This is what is called the retail footprint, i.e., how much space will your product take up on the shelf. Your goal is to have the smallest size or amount of packaging you can while optimizing the shape and design of the package. It’s important to understand the concept of the retail footprint. Retail space is at a premium so the smaller amount of space you use the happier the retailer will be. They may even specify that your product only be allowed so much shelf space. In any case, you need to understand the concept and incorporate that in your sales pitch to retailers.

Many times you can package your product in variety of different ways. This is where creativity comes into play. Your product doesn’t just have to sit on a shelf in a box. It could sit upright; it could hang or be displayed in a floor stand or similar merchandiser. There are many unique ways to merchandise any product. You just have to think outside of traditional ways of doing things. Look at other products from different industries. See if you can’t incorporate design ideas into your own product packaging.

4. Be Prepared To Take Advice—I know you are in love with your product and you are sure you have ALL the answers, but you can’t be an expert at everything. Listen to what other people have to say about your product packaging. Don’t get so caught up in your own ideas that you make design mistakes or mistakes in merchandising. Get a reality check from someone who knows nothing about your product. See if your packaging concept is compelling to an outsider. By that I mean that they are interested enough to pick your product up off the shelf.

There are many resources available to you at little or no cost. Many vendors provide design expertise as part of the order. There is an unlimited amount of resource materials that can give you basic information that can save you many hours and costly mistakes. Be sure and spend time checking them out.

5. Think Big, But Be Prepared To Compromise—I know your product is fantastic, but you may need to start out on a smaller scale than you envision. One of the largest obstacles might be finding a vendor. In general, custom packaging is relegated to large volume orders and you are probably not there yet. But don’t despair.

Look for stock items that can be customized. The stock container market has improved dramatically with innovation and new designs. In fact there are many companies now that provide only stock containers. You can customize stock on a smaller scale. With a simple label change, your package may there. Also ordering in a limited quantity allows you to change and modify your packaging as your sales increase. You don’t want to have 10,000 old packages on hand when you have a design change or need to change what’s on the package due to some regulatory issue.

The important fact is to understand that packaging is not static it evolves and changes with consumer needs and demands. It can even change because you have more business and can order in larger quantities. What worked in the past may not work tomorrow. You need to be innovative and creative in your thinking. Look for guidance and expertise in outside resources. Keep up with packaging changes and materials. Don’t get caught ordering too much stock that you can never use. Think big and start small.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make packaging your first thought, not your last.