Category: Luxury & Specialty Packaging

Structural Graphics Video Mail Piece Grand Champion of 2017 US Postal Service Irresistible Mail Award

Some mail pieces are effective, some are engaging, some are beautiful. But very few can be called Irresistible Mail™” – the US Postal Service.

At the National Postal Forum in Baltimore, MD on May 23, 2017, The Lincoln Motor Company’s high-end video mailer, “See it First,” was selected as the Grand Champion Award winner of the “Irresistible Mail” trophy.  The Irresistible Mail Award is a USPS program that highlights mail pieces that increase engagement through innovative design, print or digital technologies.

Sharing creative credits on the winning mailer are Structural Graphics who printed and hand-assembled the piece, Lincoln Motor Company, Ford’s ad agency GTB (formerly Team Detroit), Hudson Rouge.

Used to give customers a sneak peek before the vehicle hit showrooms, this mailer presents a video screen embedded on the inside of a display folder.  Activating upon opening, the video delivers a story about Continental’s heritage and features, along with a tri-fold brochure describing the ownership experience, all delivered in a custom box. This piece was one of four finalists recognized at this year’s Forum, having been the winner of the 2nd quarter Irresistible Mail Award.

Additionally, you can find Structural Graphics on the 2017 USPS Irresistible site. Several of our pieces, created in partnership with MRM/ McCann and Sandy Alexander, are featured, including SleekPeeks VR Viewers, and OE, a slider design our paper engineers developed that features Near Field Communication and a “Twister” exploding page.

Be sure to check out Structural Graphics VPA Gallery.

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: History Channel Sox Box

How many of you watch the History Channel?

We created this History Socks Box for A&E so they could showcase, in their words, “some of their best footage ever” with their ad sales clients. Each quarter, A&E chooses two of their hottest shows to highlight. In this case, it’s Join or Die with Craig Ferguson and Vikings.

This box is the first of its kind for the network and was designed to hold three pairs of socks – two inspired by that quarter’s featured shows and a third made up of spares. The box also includes an insert with show descriptions and scheduled airings.  

Interested in learning more about what went into creating this box? Head on over to our website or email us.

SG Takes Home Top Honors At The Dieline Awards 2016

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Who designed the most innovative packaging of 2015? The Dieline, the premier website on packaging design, answered that question at their annual conference held May 19-22. This year, The Dieline Package Design Awards received more than 1,200 entries from countries all over the world. Out of those entrants, Structural Graphics took home First Place in Technology, Media, Office and Self-Promotion for the Google Box.

 

The Box will be on display all week at HOW Design Live’s Exhibit Hall at The Dieline Awards’ exhibit booth.

 

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“I could not be more proud of the entire team here at SG as well as at Blanks for their tireless efforts in bringing this project to life,” said Alex Bates, VP of Paper Engineering and Design. (For more from Alex, watch our acceptance speech video here.)

 

The Story of the Google Box:
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Last year, during the development of the Google Photos app pop-up book, we were asked through a string of emails whether or not we do boxes.

 

Psht. We practically invented them.

 

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So on September 16, 2015, we kicked off the project with a call to discuss concepts. Google wanted a packaging piece that could hold products that would promote its new store. Collaboratively, what we came up with was a box that fit together like a puzzle. Each of the “puzzle pieces” contained a different product Google was seeking to promote. The entire box was later sent to major influencers who then vlogged and posted videos of the box on YouTube.

Check out this video and this blog post we created for the full story.

 

The Dieline Awards are an international design competition recognizing the world’s best consumer product packaging design. Now in its 7th year, The Dieline Awards 2016 has gathered a highly esteemed jury of structural packaging, design, branding and consumer product experts. The Dieline Awards names its winners based on three vital design components: Creativity, Marketability and Innovation.

Packaging Unboxed: How to Make Your Product Stand Out (In A Good Way)

Hani Douaji / Via behance.net
The old adage goes something like this: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Except when it comes to packaging, that is.
Though packaging been around for generations, in today’s digital-savvy, uber competitive retail environment, first impressions are almost as important as the product itself, with innovative, fun, or even weird packaging helping a product to stand out from its competitors. At times, the way an item looks can actually make or break a sale.
Let me tell you a personal story…
Lots of you have probably heard about or even seen those small, egg-shaped EOS lip balms (yup, those ones). Well, I was recently talking with a girlfriend of mine who pulled one out of her purse and started using it despite the fact that she liked some other brands of lip balms better. So, why did she buy this one? Because it looked cute.
Maybe you’ve experienced this, too? Bueller…? Bueller…?
Isabella de Felice / Via lushlee.com
Isabella de Felice / Via lushlee.com

Whether it’s an edgy typeface that gets your customers, some cool pops of color or the versatility of an eco-friendly container, we’ve probably all had a moment like my friend here where we’ve purchased something simply because of the way it looks and, more importantly, for our perceptions of how a product will make us feel. (Here’s an example of how the psychology of packaging applies in the alcohol industry).

That’s the whole point.
Packaging, when done correctly, is ultimately what sells your product in the end. It draws attention, sends a powerful message and elicits a specific response from your customers.
Here’s an example of a packaging design we created for Nokia:
Nokia Mural Launch Kit

Packaging Infographic Marketers
So, what’s a marketer to do to stand out from the crowd?
Well, if you’re a devout believer in creating a branded experience for your customers, making your product relevant and increasing your sales, follow these five Packaging Commandments and you just might create product packaging that will outlive us all.
  1. Thou shalt embrace all manners of colors, patterns, textures and sizes.
  2. Thou shalt never forget to think about the customer’s experience.
  3. Thou shalt utilize all available space to the best of thou’s ability.
  4. Thou shalt be playful, be bold, be simplistic – Thou shalt stay true to him/ herself.
  5. Thou shalt always tell a good, compelling and powerful story.
Feeling insanely creative? Give us a call at 860-767-2661 or shoot us an email. Together we can make your packaging really pop.

Drink Me: Marketing in the Alcohol Industry

A few tips (on the house).

“Marketing” is a broad term that embodies a wide range of activities and disciplines that promote and sell a product. It casts a wide net that is open to interpretation; and when you throw alcohol into the equation, well things can get a little crazy.

(Wait, what happened last night?)

Cheers!

First thing’s first. When you are marketing in the alcoholic beverage industry, the same basic marketing rules still apply.

Your 4 P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion

So, how exactly do these relate to alcohol beverage marketing? Let’s break it down.

Product

At the risk of stereotyping, there are certain alcohols that appeal to a younger crowd that do not appeal to older folk, and vice versa. My dad loves his tried and true Tito’s (really, Tito’s, my dad is your biggest fan – going on 10 years strong which is some serious brand loyalty).  I, on the other hand, the millennial in all of my glory, am more likely to try something different simply because the packaging catches my eye.

It’s no secret that our generations shop differently: my dad has been going to the same mechanic for years, whereas I go wherever the deepest discount is, or wherever the most convenient location is.

A study in Australia determined that adolescents were more likely to gravitate towards ‘alcopops’, a.k.a. booze-y drinks that have very little actual booze in them – malt beverages, wine coolers, etc. – because the packaging is designed to look like a soft drink.

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Price

Everyone loves a good discount. It is common knowledge that if we will get a discount on buying more, we will buy more (see Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.) whether we really need it or not. And not to much surprise, when we buy more, we consume more. Shots, shots, shots shots, shots, shots, shots shots…

Price discounts and promotions can have a huge impact on volume of alcohol purchases. They can be a key marketing tool for producers and retailers.

A study conducted by Alcohol Focus Scotland found that supermarket promotions and discounts on alcohol increased sales by 20 – 25%. 

Place

Location, location, location. Anyone who has ever been in a liquor store knows that those places can get pretty crowded. So many brands are trying to promote their products on the shelves or even at the register, so it can be hard to stand out and get the consumer to pay attention and make them want to buy. Did you know that companies pay top dollar for prime shelf space in the stores?

But once you have that spot, how do you stand out among the rest of the bottles of the shelves surrounding it?

Diageo was wondering the same thing, so their agency came to us looking for new ideas of how they could boost sales in stores. This was the first time they have ever done anything like this – and viola, they were so successful, that they have already placed their second order!

Ciroc Case Tucker
Diageo/Marketing Agency & Structural Graphics // Ciroc Case Tucker

How exactly do they work? These case tuckers were tucked in between the shelves in between the bottles, promoting and drawing attention to their products.

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Diageo/Marketing Agency & Structural Graphics // Ciroc Case Tucker

Case tuckers are a unique way to sell your customer directly while they are shopping, begging for customers attention. These most certainly trump the Sharpie and neon signs you see on every shelf promoting cheap liquor and practically screaming, “DON’T DRINK ME.”

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Diageo/Marketing Agency & Structural Graphics // Captain Morgan Case Tucker

 

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Diageo/Marketing Agency & Structural Graphics // Captain Morgan Case Tucker

Promotion

Alcohol promotions are everywhere. Sponsorships, advertisements,  commercials, events, the list goes on. Increasingly, alcohol is being promoted more and more via social media.

Do you need to promote your liquor brand, or unveil a new one? A truly exciting and creative way to do so is to host a PR event. And that’s exactly what Bacardi Brands did with when they came to Structural Graphics to create their Dewar’s Influencer Kit!

See below.

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The Marketing Arm came to us to develop and design this beautiful Dewar’s influencer kit. The kit was for a PR event unveiling two new brands, Craigellechie and Aberfeldy, and showcases each in a storybook format appropriately titled “The Tale of Two Whiskies”.

To read more about this super cool launch, click here!


It’s no secret that no matter what you’re promoting, you need a way to stand out amongst the crowd. Need to reach your audience? Give yourself some height by adding a little dimension to your brand.

The Story of the Google Unboxing Launch

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The holiday season is in full swing, and hand-in-hand with that comes gift-giving fever. That fever has spread from our holiday hearts all the way to YouTube, with the increasingly popular unboxing videos. According to ThinkWithGoogle.com, 

Unboxing video views have grown 57% over the past year, and uploads have grown more than 50%. But it’s not just the growth in the unboxing genre that’s impressive—it’s the sheer volume, too. It would take more than seven years to watch all the videos on YouTube with “unboxing” in the title that have been uploaded so far just this year. And those videos have more than a billion views in this year alone.

Thank you, ThinkWithGoogle. That’s just what we did – we “thunk with Google”, to design and produce their Unboxing box. This was sent to hand-selected YouTube celebrities to promote the Google Store, and designed to have an element of surprise when unveiling each featured technology product. And the response was simply outstanding:

4 million views, with 11 million projected by Christmas.

 

And also, some sweet comments straight from the Unboxing YouTube celebrities themselves:

 “That’s the best part, the packaging. ‘Gavin came in, and he’s like “This packaging is legit.’ And you know when Gavin thinks your packaging is legit, you’ve got a great product.”

Thanks, Gavin & Shay fam! And from Captain Sparklez…

“What?! This is the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I don’t even want to disassemble this.”

We’re blushing! That’s the highlight, but let’s backtrack (spoiler alert: here’s where we start to talk about ourselves, boxes, and Google, a lot)…

A few months back, during the development of the pop-up book with the agency Toaster for their Google Photos app, we were on a string of emails with Google brand. (NBD.)

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Fast forward to September, when it came time to develop the box for their Google Store Unboxing Launch, they asked us whether or not we do boxes. (Answer: look here, or even here for a bit more luxury.) I mean this is Google, and we’re Structural Graphics, so naturally, we said yes. We practically invented boxes.*

Open Gift Box - Top View

(That may or may not be true.)*

On September 16th was the initial kickoff call to discuss concepts. At first, the sole and simple goal we had to accomplish was, “we need a box to hold products”.

Originally, we started with a white box with clouds. All of these 7 technology products, which can be seen in the Google Store, could have easily been thrown into any old, standard, 8-sided-vanilla-box. But that’s not really our style.

We then started with what any sensible person does in this day and age: we Googled it. We googled the Google products to get grasp on what it would need to hold, specifically the size, and how we could package that up.

As time went on, the inspiration developed. We were given a few more things to chew on:

1. Google presented us with a ‘Mood Board’, basically a brain dump of what it needed to include, and 2. What not to do: not a traditional printing press or corrugate. I mean, let’s be honest here, creative freedom + super cool client = any designer’s dream. Our brainstorm session produced a list that looked like this: Rubik’s cubes, puzzle, with the idea to create more of an ‘experience’ than anything.

Mission: possible. Erik, one of our paper engineers, came up with the puzzle box concept, and that’s when things with the entire team really took off.

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As you can see clearly, it was all hands on deck! From a design and materials standpoint, this box was pretty far out of the comfort zone for our group. The materials and scale of this project was foreign. Typically, we deal with folding cartons, but every single person had hands on this project in order to turn around 2 sets of comps and “push the limits of design & engineering”.

On November 6th, upon assembly of the puzzle box, this was their reaction:

“Hubba, hubba!”

“Sweeeeeet, it’s really coming along nicely!”

“Woohoo!”

 

Of course, we echoed that.

So, the design was complete, but the job wasn’t over. Once these people receive it, what was the user experience going to be like?

There were a few small, yet critical details. First, was a card insert from the Google brand team, personalized & hand done with black Sharpie. Second, there was a little issue with the puzzle pieces, they didn’t quite stay together during shipment. Okay, thought our design team: how can we fix this? Why don’t we put it in gift-wrapping paper? Develop custom Google wrapping paper, which was actually functional. Genius.

Timing was a huge component for this project, considering it needed to drop by Black Friday. The second comp turn-around time was 3 days, and because of timing, we sent a template without sending a second comp. They never received a final produced prototype (only the press proof) before shipping to the influencers.

The night before delivery was crunch time. Gustavo, Vice President, Operations, and Teresa, Director of Business Development, left Mexico at 1:45am for delivery. They had 2 hours and 15 minutes to make it. From there, it was Fed Ex same day shipped, with critical care, and a contract with independent TSA couriers. Anddddddd, *sigh* just in time.

You might notice, if you’ve been paying attention to the timeline, that one of the most impressive parts of this story was the timing it took from concept to influencer delivery: 7 weeks.

“Amazing work under a brutal timeline.”

And just like that, that was it. 7 weeks. 7 products. 24 pounds without products, 35 pounds with products. Lots of hard work, and of course, a little bit of play…

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Watch the Unboxing for yourself below, or via these links: ShaySparklezAndrea and Maya.

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Shay @ 7:33 – “That’s the best part, the packaging.”

Captain Sparklez

Captain Sparklez @ 1:55 – “What?! This is the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I don’t even want to disassemble this.”

Andrea

Maya

 

The Finer Things: The Leading Hotels of the World

Most of us have hobbies or activities that we love that drive us to get out of bed every morning (other than a steamy cup of coffee). For some of us, it’s reading, others, it’s skiing… exercise, playing an instrument, cars… the list goes on.  For others, it’s travel, and for those of us that appreciate that finer things in life, a membership to a luxury hotel collection with travel perks is just the ticket.

Comprised of more than 400 hotels in 80 countries, The Leading Hotels is one of the largest luxury hotel collections in the world.

We weekly prepare and distribute nearly 2,000 member kits for new or renewing The Leading Hotels of the World members.

Woah.

The new and renewing members have an taste for elegance, which is why we work hard to make sure that each member receives white-glove service in the form of a hand-crafted welcome kit. Let us show you…

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Structural Graphics prints in volume and stores in inventory all common components, seen above:

• Brochures
• Comp cards
• Envelopes
• Corrugate shipper
• Catalogs

The images speak for themselves. The details – each component, accompanied by variable data and images – are truly what make this kit so special.


“Structural Graphics has been a vital partner to the operations of our Loyalty Program in the wake of extreme membership growth. The onboarding process was thorough and we felt a strong commitment from the team to making the transition seamless and undisrupted from the get go. The team went above and beyond to satisfy our highly-personalized requirements with innovative ideas that saved us time and money in the end. One of which consisted of recreating an entire image library, assigning a unique image to each of our 400 hotels, which was formerly managed in-house. Because of their unique approach, we were able to start phasing operations earlier than scheduled. Over the last year we’ve experienced nothing but unwavering dedication to our partnership. The team I work with is highly-engaged and responsive; they even hosted me on a site visit to their fulfillment facility in Mexico and at their office in Essex, CT. Bringing on Structural Graphics as our fulfillment partner has been a fruitful business decision, I do not fear that they will not be equipped with the skills and knowledge to accommodate our changing business needs. I look forward to many rewarding years of partnership.”
– Julie Oleskiewicz, Senior Manager, Loyalty Marketing at The Leading Hotels of the World

We’re blushing! Hey Julie, we really like you, too.

Haptic Brain / Haptic Brand

Most of us are lucky enough to know the rush of excitement we get from opening a package.  First, there’s the element of surprise.  But then there’s also that smell of new packaging (you know what I’m talking about), and the *swoosh* sound the box makes when you lift off the lid.  Ahhh.

A light blue box wrapped with a pink ribbon.
A light blue box wrapped with a pink ribbon.

This is not a coincidence. Paper quality has been proven to have a significant effect on consumer response. Companies, such as Apple, put as much effort into their packaging as they do into their products.  More than 50% of the human brain is devoted to processing sensory experiences.  Touch, in particular, impacts how we make sense of the world. Therefore, how things feel influences our thoughts and behaviors, our comprehension and retention of information, and our emotional connections.

collection of hand holding paper isolated on white background
collection of hand holding paper isolated on white background

We were lucky enough to attend this year’s UCDA Conference in Orlando, Florida.  There were some extraordinary speakers, including Daniel Dejan, a widely respected, award-winning graphic designer, art/creative director, production manager and print buyer. His topic was “Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand”, which focused on communications through the lens of neuroscience.

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Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand

‘Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand looks at communications through the lens of neuroscience, exploring how media shapes the brain and consequently the way a brand is perceived. This book examines haptics — the study of how what we touch shapes what we feel — and explores the science behind why our haptic brains respond so well to haptic brands. Case studies from three of the world’s best-known brands (Apple, BMW and World Wildlife Fund) highlight the communicative power of touch in action.

“Paper matters for brands that matter. The collective power of this research, along with Dr. Eagleman’s expert insights, show why marketing professionals and the publishers of high-end magazines and books continue to rely on paper as a key ingredient of the brand experience. They recognize, as we do, that consumers are wired to interact with paper like no other medium.”
–Jennifer Miller, EVP of Coated Business and Chief Sustainability Officer, Sappi Fine Paper North America.’

 

[Source – where you can also request a copy for yourself!]

Here are some main points from each of the three case studies presented in ‘Haptic Brain/Haptic Brand”:

Case Study #1 – Apple

 

Apple’s entire brand has a serene simplicity and elegance about it.  As mentioned in ‘The Communicator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch”, “Critics say Apple’s iPhone seems more like a stone you might find in a stream than a device, similarly, the package it comes in defies traditional notions of what a box can be”.

They also pull a quote from The Gaurdian that makes so much sense, “Apple pays as much attention to its packaging as it does to its products… getting it just right as [an] obsession.”

It’s clear that a brand such as Apple has to be doing something right, and we have a hunch that creating that beautiful experience has something to do with it.

Case Study #2 – BMW

 

BMW wanted something special for fans if its M6 Coupe, so they had a professional driver take an aggressive, 560 horsepower car and do donuts on paper taped to the road, spraying ink onto the cars rear tires.  They used that paper with the tire marks for their upcoming direct mail campaign.

Manuel Sattig, Manager, Brand Strategy & Communication, said “We said, ‘there’s no way to capture the M performance on paper.’ And then we did it.”

Case Study #3 – World Wildlife Fund

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In order to make world’s species and places more tangible, World Wildlife Fund created World Wildlife. This magazine includes thoughtful design, first-class printing, and fine paper to bring images to life. This provides a physical touch point to inspire readers to preserve the planet.


 

Needless to say, the best communicators incorporate touch into their brand experience.  How are you adding that extra special touch to your brand? To get some ideas, take a look at our packaging options here.

And the winner is…

It’s no secret that when it comes to design and style with some extra POP, Structural Graphics takes the cake (or, in this case, the pizza).  Some extra validation never hurt anyone, which is why we are so thankful to have been named winners of the Fibermark’s 21st Annual Specifier Best of Show Gold Award for our Bacardi Limited Dewar’s Influencer Kit.

Fibermark Specifier Award

The awards didn’t stop there, either! We were also recognized for excellent for our Samsung GS3 Mini Small Book Launch Kit, Samsung GS5 Gold VIP Launch Kit, Samsung Gear Fit VIP Launch Kit (see these at TheBoxSmiths.com). A special shout out goes to TracyLocke, the agency who we collaborated with on all of the Samsung projects.

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Samsung GS3 Mini Small Book Launch Kit
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Samsung Gear Fit VIP Launch Kit
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Samsung GS5 Gold VIP Launch Kit

And… also, we are very thankful for the pizza party brought to us by the Fibermark team themselves, yum!

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Pizza party!

This is the second award that our Dewar’s Influencer Kit has won this year, also winning a GDUSA American Package Design Award earlier this year.

Design Team
Structural Graphics design team with awards

So often, the response to Structural Graphics is “Oh, the people who do all the pop-up stuff?”

We live and breathe “pop-up stuff”, we practically invented it! Many people are surprised to hear that we are doing way more than that, and getting recognition for it, too.

So, whether you need some pop-up stuff or packaging, you can call on Structural Graphics – anything paper is possible!

Looking for packaging that’s a little more luxurious? Visit The BoxSmiths for luxury packaging that performs.