All posts by Jim Badger

Our eight tips for designing a great package!

At Midwest Graphics, we have our own design group dedicated to assisting our clients in the development of the perfect packaging for their products. With knowledge accumulated over many years in the printing business, these designers follow tried and true rules to achieve the best packaging to drive business and meet the client’s needs.

Simply put, great packaging design is the result of following certain guidelines.  We offer the following tips:

  1. Know your audience

You HAVE to know who you will be selling to, before any packaging design can take place. If your product is being sold primarily to teenagers, the design will probably be different from a product sold to men who are 55+ do-it-yourselfers.

  1. Zero in on benefits

While features of a product can be mentioned in the packaging design, it is the benefits that resonate with buyers. Highlight these prominently.

  1. Two ideas are better than one

The design options for packaging should include multiple choices. Show them to prospective buyers and get their opinion as to which is most appealing.

  1. Balance package design against the cost of your product

The last thing you want to do is overspend on packaging design relative to cost of the product. You should strive for a design that stands out, but the shape and size has to be easily displayed on shelves.

 5. Pay attention to what the competition is doing

Know what competitive products will be displayed alongside of your product. What is the shape and size of their packaging? You can then design your package to fit in, yet stand out.

  1. Pay attention to your other family of products

If the design is for a product that is part of an additional line of products, maintain a consistency in branding and color schemes and possibly even copy.

  1. Understand the shopper experience you desire

Do you want your customer to be able to touch your product, or is it going to be sealed? If a tactile experience is desired, a die cut window in the package may be appropriate.

  1. Realize your package is your billboard

Regardless of the size of the package, focus on strong selling copy mentioning features and benefits. Photos are also a great way to tell a story, build a brand and create a mood.

At Midwest Graphics, we have lots of ideas for designing that perfect packaging.

Star Wars’ “THE FORCE” and its application to the power of POP displays

I recently visited my local Bed BATH AND BEYOND store. While shopping, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of POP (point of purchase) displays in use.

And, why not?

Retail increasingly is becoming a place where merchandisers have to market creatively for the loyalty of consumers’ pocket books against online competitors. Those companies that adjust to this reality will look for ways to catch shoppers’ attention in the retail environment with effective point-of-purchase (POP) displays.

While consumers surf online for products, they still have a preference in seeing and feeling the product before any purchase is made.  Statistics show buyers overwhelmingly prefer making this tactile process part of their shopping experience before buying. You might say it’s “the force” driving any purchase.

In the Star Wars movie, A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi described “the force” to Luke Skywalker this way: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power.” Applying a similar analogy to POP displays, it’s their ability to catch the consumer’s attention and to allow an opportunity to feel and examine the product that is “the force” behind the display’s effectiveness.

At Midwest Graphics, we know a lot about how to make fantastic POP displays. We offer these tips:

  • Understand your audience’s preferences

Are your consumer young? Are they female or male? Demographics about your target audience are critical to choosing the right colors and fonts when designing POPs. Understanding your audience’s preferences is essential to attracting their attention.

  • Engage and appeal on an emotional level

All graphics and text on a POP should be humanized so shoppers can relate to the brand and understand the critical message of why they should buy your product.

  • It’s show-and-tell time

Any great POP will effectively demonstrate why the product is the right choice for the consumer; how it is solving a need, how it is the best choice the consumer can make. Displays using photos or interactive video screens are popular ways to express these thoughts.

  • Remember the tactile desire!

Make it easy for the buyer to touch and examine your product. And remember, POP’s offer the consumer the chance to grab-and-go.  Display POP’s at end of aisles, if possible, to allow the buyer to avoid having to search the aisles for your product.

  • Design for Durability 

Packaging and displays should be able to withstand lots of hands that will handle it. The best displays are made of durable materials to withstand this and the abuse of store staff members potentially bumping into it.

  • Install it correctly

The best POP display is only good if it’s installed correctly. Display management solutions need to be followed and tracked to ensure the displays are installed right.  Marketing dollars are wasted on POP displays that are not installed correctly or never make it to the sales floor.

Just as Obi-Wan Kenobi knows “the force” is what gives the Jedi his power, businesses know “the force” of POP displays lies in meeting a sensory experience their buyers desire.

At Midwest Graphics, we have years of experience designing attractive POP displays for companies. We can handle everything from prototypes and mock-ups to production, assembly, packing and drop-shipment. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you on your next POP display.

Digital Printing – the BFF of any small business!

Any small business needs to practice a strategic approach to the marketing of its products and services.  After all, the budget may be limited and business owners want to get the most bang for their buck.

But, advertising can be an expensive proposition!

Television and radio ad costs can eat up budget dollars quickly. Then, there’s also the nagging concern whether such ads will be effective in reaching the select audience you want to reach at the right place and time.

 Digital printing has emerged as one of the most effective mediums and can help improve the bottom line of any business. 

 Increasingly, small business owners are making digital printing their advertising medium of choice. You might say, it’s become their marketing budget’s BFF (best friend forever)!

Why is digital printing such a popular choice for advertising,” you ask?

Three reasons stand out:

  1. Digital printing offers a cost-effective solution to squeeze the most out of marketing dollars

We’ve already said that television and radio advertising can cost a fortune.  And, the same is true for billboard advertising. Online advertising is only as effective as the number of people that it reaches (SEO) and takes time to build viewership.

Digital printing, on the other hand, is cost-effective and convenient. You can strategically print only the quantities you need. There isn’t the minimum order requirement often encountered when using the more expensive offset printing process.

At Midwest Graphics, we handle the digital printing needs for your business regardless of the size. From one print job to lots in the hundreds or thousands, no job is too big or too small.

  1. A plethora of choices exists in digital printing

With digital printing, print advertising means a variety of options far beyond just flyers and business cards.

Midwest Graphics can digitally print to multiple substrates (multiple paper types) onto brochures, packaging, letterheads, posters, banners, POP displays, etc.

 Digital printing is high-quality. At Midwest Graphics, our digital printers churn out high-end prints comparable in quality to lithographic printers.

  1. Digital printing is efficient

 You can thank computers for the efficiency available in digital printing!

Contrary to the tooling set-up time associated with traditional printing methods, digital printing is fast and efficient. You can call Midwest Graphics, order your high-quality prints and receive them within hours!

When time is of the essence, Midwest Graphics has the equipment, the quality control, and the expertise to deliver your product the way you want it.

 If you are a small business not currently using digital printing, give us a call. We’re sure it can easily become your marketing department’s BFF!

UV coating – adding that touch of class to any printing!

When it comes to packaging, the old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” has real meaning! That’s because packaging provides the first impression any customer experiences when buying a product. Savvy companies recognize this fact and package their products using the most attractive printing possible in an effort to impress.

Cosmetic companies are the perfect example of an industry that realizes the importance of packaging. You’ll never see their expensive perfumes packaged in plain cardboard!

But, even the most mundane products benefit from the inherent advantages of vibrantly-printed packaging. One cost-effective way to achieve this is through the application of UV coating in the printing process.

What is UV Coating and what is it used for?

UV coating is applied to the paper surface and cured using ultraviolet radiation. Offline, its applied using silkscreen. Inline, UV varnish is applied as a liquid on press, and is usually used to highlight specific areas of a page such as the images, logo or slogan.

UV coating is versatile in its application and can be used for all types of paper products. However, it works best for thicker and heavier weights of paper. Finishes include gloss, matte, pearlescent, and orange peel.

Pros of UV coating

  • It’s striking and bold – it provides a visually-enhancing appeal and adds a perception of value to the packaging or product.
  • It provides a scruff resistant coating – it resists the abrasion commonly found in standard aqueous coating and varnishes.
  • Fast drying – printing lead time is reduced, leading to a more efficient process overall.

Cons of UV coating

  • Chemical Burning – depending on the PMS color used, UV coating can be susceptible to chemical burning.
  • Compromised Quality and Appearance – if the process of printing is not set-up properly, the output of the print may come out a bit defective.

Midwest Graphics can handle any UV coating job you might have!

Midwest Graphics has over a century of experience in the printing business. We offer UV coating on runs up to 60 inches wide. Call our in-house design team for help in designing a premium UV coated package guaranteed to make a noticeable first impression!

 

 

How to make your customers experience a “love affair” with your packaging!

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating…the packaging of a product plays a critical role in the customer being attracted to the product!

Various studies have shown that packaging accounts for about 70% of initial first impressions.  And it’s in those first few seconds that the decision is made to either pull the product from the shelf or pass it by and move on down the aisle.

Packaging can make or break a product’s success in a competitive market where every product is vying for the attention of the buyer. Because of this, companies need to incorporate the following aspects into their packaging strategy:

Think “out of the box” when designing your package!

While square and rectangle-shaped boxes are the norm, maybe YOUR product can be packaged differently?

For example, Nike recently launched their new line of Nike Air shoes, showcasing the shoe simply in a plastic bag of air. Another option is to stay with the regular square or rectangular boxing but opt for unique printing using colors to attract your audience.

Think about the “sensory experience” you want your customer to have.

Design your packaging with the customer in mind.

What sensory experience within the brain do you want your customer to experience while unpacking your product? (for example, use more green for natural and organic products, white and black to create a minimalist and mysterious effect).

Consider special affects

Special die cut, foil stamping, embossing and UV coating all add a more luxurious feel to the product without causing any extra effort and cost.

Packaging Inserts

Surprise customers with a promotional insert such as a personalized thank you note to create a feeling of goodwill. Consider package dividers to help lay out your product neatly and avoid damage.

Service

Use your packaging to provide all necessary product details and support/contact information. Exceptional customer service should be the first and foremost desire of any business.

By ensuring that the customer is provided clear instructions in the packaging about the product, you are setting them up for an exciting and positive experience. You are making it easier for them to love the packaging and the product even more.

At Midwest Graphics, we have lots of ideas to help you design the perfect packaging for your product. Whether it’s unique die cutting, UV coating, or digital printing with a splash of bold colors, our in-house design team is ready to assist you.  

 

 

The Advantages of Digital Printing

Having been in business for almost 30 years, Midwest Graphics has seen the growth in popularity of digital printing. Before the advent of computers, the only printing done on a large scale was called offset printing. Still used extensively, offset printing involves a plate on which the material to be printed is engraved, which is transferred with ink onto a rubber blanket, then to the material on which it is printed.

Digital printing, on the other hand, skips the use of plates entirely, as the printing is done directly onto the material. While offset printing is known to produce higher quality than digital printing, it’s higher initial set-up costs require really large print runs for it to be the most cost-effective option.

That’s where digital printing comes in, and here are its advantages:

  • It’s a “greener” way to print

Since digital printing bypasses the need for the plates, chemicals and extra materials associated with offset printing, it is a more environmentally-friendly way to print.  You are printing directly onto the material.

  • It’s quick and efficient

Not having pre-press procedures or plates means the set-up time is less and you can get your printing done quicker

  • The costs and set-up fees can be less

Because there are no costs associated with creating plates, digital printing can save you money. As stated, this is especially true for small, multiple batch printing. However, with large print runs, offset printing is usually a better option for a lower overall cost per unit.

  • Customization is easy

Offset printing involves printing the plate’s content onto the printing material. As such, the content cannot be changed without changing the plates. Digital printing allows for customization of each print unit without too much hassle. For example, a name or word can be changed for each printing to personalize that piece.

  • Digital printing is accurate

Digital printing allows for easy “tweaking” of colors and their properties to get the exact tone desired.

Midwest Graphics uses the best equipment in the industry for digital printing. This includes three full 4×8 Flatbed printers, two digital control cut tables, roll lamination – both PSA and Thermal, Liquid UV Coating up to 60 inches wide. In short, our equipment allows us to handle nearly any type of project from start to finish.

Give us a call to discuss your next digital printing job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secrets of Successful Packaging Design – it starts with a good Design Team

When it comes to packaging a product, the design is critical.  After all, unless your package stands out with a unique color, size, or copy, it is going to struggle for recognition sitting on a crowded shelf along-side all those competitive products.

The smart businesses know that a great package design can help in selling the product. At Midwest Graphics, our clients appreciate the value our in-house design team brings to the table in assisting them in creating a great package design.

Recently, a national manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom products visited our plant.  They viewed our in-house design team (along with other factors like quick turn around and competitive costs) as a real asset in their decision to use our packaging services.

We know great packaging design is simply following some basic rules. We list some below:

  • Knowing your customer is key!

Who is your customer? All packaging design is geared to first understanding who you are marketing to.

  •  Remember, benefits are more important than features

Focus on the benefits, not the features. Customers want to know “what’s in it for me?” when making their buying decision.

  • Develop a couple prototypes of packaging designs

If you think one design is good, perhaps another idea is better. Set two or more prototypes side-by-side to compare.

  • Price points are important

If the product is priced inexpensive, don’t needlessly escalate costs with an over-priced packaging.

  • Take a look at what your competition is doing

Your packaging needs to stand out while displayed along-side competitive products on the shelf

  • Know your USP?

Identify your product’s unique selling proposition and find a way to communicate that message in your packaging.

  • Remember, brand consistency is important

If you have multiple products, maintain a consistent brand image in the packaging so all your products create similar visual affect.

  •  Decide how you want the customer to interact with your product

Do you want your customer to be able to touch your product? If so, either displaying one of the products outside of the package or a die cut window may be appropriate.

The design team at Midwest Graphics is ready to help you design packaging that will motivate customers to buy. From conceptualization to proofing, they can work with you every step of the way in development of all packaging materials for your company.

 

 

 

 

Creative Packaging Sells: Don’t be afraid to stand out!

You’ve likely heard the expression “first impressions are everything!” Another saying, from the reverse perspective but just as popular, is “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

At Midwest Graphics, we think both sayings apply to any business engaged in selling products through retailers. While the name of the product and the copy are important, the design of the package is crucial to its success.

Avoid the mundane in your product packaging!

 Businesses often resort to standard-shaped packaging for their products. There are two reasons for this. First, it affords a lower die cost and associated design time. Secondly, businesses think that by sticking with a standard design, the product packaging can be run along with other product runs to achieve greater economies of scale.

But these views are shortsighted if you consider consumer buying habits. Think about your own habits when shopping.  When you walk around a store, it’s the odd-shaped packages that stand out and get your attention.

 Packaging should make you product POP!

 Retail shelves are crowded with product. So, make yours stand out from the crowd through unique packaging. If your product is uniquely packaged by size and color it will stand out. The buyer is more likely to pick it up and buy it.

Is it time to get another perspective on your packaging?

It’s hard for some businesses to know whether their packaging is good or not. They may have been packaging a product the same way for years. They may be too close to the product to even know if their packaging is stale or not.

That’s where Midwest Graphics can help.

Our in-house design team is experienced in working with clients to develop eye-catching artistic and structural package designs geared to make products stand out from the pack. And, we can take the guesswork out of the process by providing 3D PDF modeling of your carton to give you an idea of how the design will look as an individual unit and in bulk shipments.

Yes, “first impressions ARE everything” when it comes to packaging.

If you think your packaging approach needs sprucing up, give us a call. Our design team will go to work on creating new packaging focused on making your product get the recognition it deserves!

 

 

The Wizardry of POP displays – The right one can increase sales 60% or more!

If you’re a manufacturer of products sold through retail channels, you know the challenges you face getting your product noticed over the competition. One only has to survey the retail landscape to realize what a daunting task it can be!

Consumers experience sensory overload as they walk the aisles of their favorite store, bombarded with product advertisements seeking to be noticed

And, why not? 

 Seth Godin, best-selling author and marketing guru summed it up this way – Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.

So, what’s a good way to get your product noticed? Midwest Graphics has the perfect answer –  an attractive POP display.  A well-fashioned, strategically-placed POP display can rocket the sales of even the most mundane of products.

 Types of POP displays could include the following:

  •  DUMPS- proving SIZE DOES MATTER!

 Large floor displays, often called dumps, have been shown to increase sales by as much as 64-fold over the same item sold on the shelf. But, the downside is that these large displays may come with a large set-up placement fee and the store may ask for an additional “discount” in pricing. Also, stores usually will only allow such displays to stay up for a short time period.

  • POSTERS- they are ok, but…

Posters can pull in customers to buy, particularly if the product is something they already have knowledge of. However, many retailers will throw they away and not use them.

  • SHELF TALKERS

Shelf talkers are signs that appear alongside a given item on the shelf. They are inexpensive and can grab a consumer’s attention.

  • COUNTER DISPLAYS- they can be the sweet-spot in POP displays for smaller companies!

 Counter displays have advantages over large floor displays. Retailers are more likely to set them up and they will keep them up longer. Design your counter display as a pre-pack to be its own shipper. The product itself is inside the display, and the retailer only has to place the display on the shelf with the product already showing inside.

At Midwest Graphics, our design team will design whatever POP display you desire.

Working in-house, we can create a prototype, production mock-up, and then produce, assemble, pack and drop-ship your displays. With full four-color printing directly to your corrugated material, your POP will be sturdy, colorful and sure to stand out from the pack.

Call us and let’s talk about ways to make YOUR product “win the contest for people’s attention!”

 

 

 

The four critical points to consider when designing your POP displays!

At Midwest Graphics, our in-house graphics design team is experienced in creating eye-catching display and point of purchase (POP) products. Working closely with the customer, we are committed to designing a display that is so attractive it instantly becomes a revenue machine, silently working to move product off the shelf and into the customer’s shopping cart as they head to the check out.

We know how effective a custom point-of-purchase display and signage can be in influencing buyer decisions and increase sales. That’s why we handle every step along the way.

From your first call to our design team, we’ll work quickly to create the perfect display you want, handling everything from prototypes and mock-ups to production, assembly, packing and drop-shipping the displays for you.

An article by Allegra Marketing highlighted four “musts” when considering the use of POP displays:  They are as follows:

  1. Location, location, location

Like any good Realtor knows, location is KING. End-of-aisle, floor stands, cardboard sidekick and power wing displays are effective in making the display stand out and get noticed.

  1. Creative design

Bright colors are needed to contrast against the surroundings. First impressions are everything, as consumers make 90% of their purchasing decisions based on visual appearance alone!

  1. Relevancy

Grab the consumer with a catchy offer, special event or holiday promotion. A relevant message makes the buyer feel the offer is personal and attractive.

  1. The message should be direct and to-the-point

Studies show any display only has .9 seconds to convince the consumer to look at it. The magnet drawing them in will be smart copy that is direct, clear and persuasive enough to create a quick understanding by the buyer.

At Midwest Graphics, we know how to make fantastic POP displays! With our ability to print in full four-color directly to your corrugated material, your next display will be sturdy, colorful and sure to stand out from the pack.

If you need help creating a plan for your custom point-of-purchase displays, give us a call to put our graphics design wizards to work for you!