Although my blog posts transfer here to tumblr pretty well, the full view is at packagingchic.com!
Sometimes it’s just not right to cover up your product with its box. And sometimes you still need that box for protection, ease of packing and fulfilment.
Windows on your folding cartons can solve that situation for you! When specifying a window, you can choose to have an open window, a patch window or a rigid window.
Die cut, open windows provide visibility to the product inside.Â However, remember without any material protecting the product you also have provided access to the product. Keeping your product on the shelf instead of in a shoplifter’s hands is a priority here. There are ways to secure the product inside and you can design the opening of the window so that the product can’t be pulled out. This is the least expensive way to show your product inside the box. In this case, the product inside is in a plastic bag, so there isn’t a need for a plastic window material.
Patch windows use a thin, flexible plastic material glued inside the die cut window. This way you can show the entire product, keep dust out of the package and keep the product more secure.Â Since the material is thin, most patch windows are on one panel of the folding carton or on a sleeve.
Occasionally, you’ll see a patch window that wraps around the sides of a carton but the plastic material tends to buckle a bit.
Rigid windowsare a great solution for full product visibility. The window material is thick and rigid and acts as a structural piece.This type of window allows you to view the product from several angles on shelf.
You’ve got your grandmother’s recipe or a great idea for a new product and now you’ve got to put it into a some kind of packaging. I have lots of people call me with their ideas and I love the entrepreneurial spirit, the courage, the new ideas, the promise of success. There’s a lot to think about and sometimes, the details of packaging are a whole new world to startups.
Are you wondering about the process and timeline? Here’s a very basic flow chart showing you how the process worksÂ with me. It all starts when you send us your product so that we can size a sample box.
From that sample, we can give you pricing and you can test the box.
One thing that’s missing on here isÂ the finance side … if you are a startup with no business credit, be prepared to pay in full up front. From us, everything is custom so you pay in full up front. We understand the excitement, the sacrifice, the scariness of starting out and we do our best to make you happy with your new packaging.
Depending on how far along you are in your decisions on branding and design, this process can take months. If you already have your design, your quantity, your money all figured out, it can take as little as 3 or 4 weeks depending on the complexity of your project.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lucy, Charlie, the staff and all the pet dogs at Â The Honest KitchenÂ for several years. Â When we first got together, they were no longer just a startup, Â so they knew what they wanted in packaging but just didn’t have it finessed quite yet.
Working with their team and their designer, Jen Cadam, we evolved fromÂ printing 4 color process on SBS board just simulating a kraft background, to printing directly onÂ kraftpak. We printÂ using one hit of white ink, 4 color process and custom spot colors for each diet. All vegetable based inks are used, which is important to The Honest Kitchen. Kraftpak is a virgin fiber board and the corrugated is recycled. Once assembled, the entire box is easilyÂ recyclable.
We did press proofs to determine which screen values of the spot colors would work for the desired look. The designer also had the four color food imagery specifically refined for printing on kraftpak. Once the top sheet of kraftpak is printed, we laminate it to single face E Flute for a beautiful litho lam product.
Finally after several years of working together as partners, The Honest Kitchen has the kraft boxes they’ve dreamed of and we’ve gained expertise in printing on kraftpak.
So you’ve designed the folding cartons for your retail product. Now you’ve got to design the corrugated shipper! You’ve got a new set of rules when printing on corrugated.
Designing for print on this substrate is a a bit different compared to designing for print on SBS or other paperboard. The fibers and formation of corrugated are much less refined than SBS. The print surface is mottled as well as warped occasionally! But the beauty of corrugated is that it’s strong and it protects your product. You just have to design around these parameters for success.
Direct printing on corrugated is typically achieved usingÂ flexography. The printing plates are made of rubber - basically it’s a giant rubber stamp! Direct printing on corrugated is traditionally not a place for fine lines and detail. Plan for “bounce” when printing multiple colors. Here’s an example where the designer used multiple colors but allowed for bounce by giving plenty of overlap between colors.
How about getting a lunch box full of your favorite Bare Escentuals cosmetics?! One of the sets is available at Nordstrom now! The material makeup of this box is actually a litho lam box: it’s printed on 12 point SBS first and then laminated to single face corrugate. This type of folding carton gives you extra strength but allows you to print and foil on the higher quality SBS board. Totally chic and re-usable!
A while back, I wrote about the redesign of Uinta Brewing’s 12 pack litho lam boxes. Here are some of their case shippers.
You’ll notice the typography and graphics are related, but with corrugated print parameters in mind.
I wanted to highlight these boxes for the production steps they use. First, these are printed 4 color plus one pantone (luminous beige) and one color on the inside - all in one pass on press. The finishing techniques are what set this carton apart from the rest in their segment. These have a textured emboss on 3 sides, top and bottom, a regular flat emboss and foil stamping. The textured emboss is part of the rich patterned background you see here. The charbronze line and the banner area are the regular flat emboss. The foil stamping around the banner registers so well to the printing and the two embossing areas are in register every time. These cartons use almost every machine at UPB! On repeat orders, we turn these around in about 4 weeks during normal schedule times.
Loving this company Dress my Cupcake. I met them at the Fancy Food Show last month. Standard designs are available but you can also do custom! Regular, Mini and even Jumbo sizes too. They even have reusable and metallics. Need to start baking cupcakes just to be able to use these!
Sometimes - ok most of the time - when I’m out shopping, I am drawn to the packaging. The Art of Shaving store at the Mandalay Bay shops in Las Vegas has all their products on display. They do a good job of color coding the different lines. Unfortunately, seeing the packaging up close I thought the quality was not as high as I had thought from a distance … Paul is a “retired” designer and loved chatting about their packaging. He was only humoring me trying to get a sale but in the end, we didn’t buy anything.