All posts by Jim Badger

Three rules to follow when designing a SHOW-STOPPING POP DISPLAY

First impressions are powerful. 

Humans are somewhat fickle animals. Most of us have a tendency to quickly judge what we see as being attractive, mundane, or even repulsive.

We can’t help it!

Behavioral scientists tell us that we are subconsciously readily attracted to certain colors over others. And, that our minds process visual information instantly. This means there are subtle, but instant, emotions at play with shoppers as they walk down an aisle and spot a POP display that speaks to them.

For this reason, it’s important that companies design their POP displays with all the bells and whistles necessary to instantly engage, inform, and persuade their target consumer. While that requires some soul searching and creative finesse, our designers at Midwest Graphics can help. With years of experience in designing eye-catching POP displays, we have a pretty good understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s three basic rules to follow when designing a display:

1. The POP should stop them in their tracks!

 Any POP display must have a WOW factor that makes the busy shopper want to stop and look. It simply must have magnetic appeal. This is where the right signage and design will help set the display apart from the surrounding clutter while adding ambiance to the consumer’s shopping experience.

2. The POP can be LOW COST while ENGAGING.

Making your POP display unique doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be expensive. Midwest Graphics offers many material options at different price points for designing attractive displays. There are many ways to design a great POP at a reasonable cost that will result in a show-stopping, captivating display. As a B2B or B2C designer, we can help you develop a display that will catch your customers’ attention and increase sales while staying within your budget.

3. The POP must SHOUT an impactful story.

Any POP display must draw in the customer quickly. Using branding tenants such as your logo and the right color palette, you should display your product in such a way that it propels buyers to pick it up and examine it. While you may not always have control over where the POP display is placed by a retailer, strive for the gold location of aisle end caps. Impactful displays require smart graphics and copy that simply, but effectively, explain how the product will solve a problem or will satisfy a need of the buyer.

Midwest Graphics in-house designers have years of experience designing custom POP displays.  We handle everything from prototypes and mock-ups to production, assembly, packing and drop-shipments.

 

 

 

 

DIGITAL PRINTING – offering a low-cost alternative for attractive and flexible packaging design.

Packaging can play a critical role in establishing a product as a brand differentiator, resulting in something functional, attractive and memorable to the consumer. Such was the experience of Mr. Dog, a purveyor of quality products for dogs. They used digital printing to enhance their packaging and create a comprehensive brand experience in the crowded dog market.

 Mr. Dog wanted consumers to “experience” their brand through distinctive packaging.

The goal of Mr. Dog’s packaging was to give both in-store and online customers a brick-and-mortar experience through unique packaging design. As company founder Matthew Morris explained, “packaging became a primary component of communication – our silent salesmen.

After developing a creative packaging design, Mr. Dog made a regretful decision. In an effort to save on printing costs, they decided to print a single, large run of packages. It was a mistake resulting in 3,000 unused boxes sitting in a warehouse while the business struggled to learn more about its market. The money tied up in the large print run meant less money available for other areas, such as new product research and development.

DIGITAL PRINTING provided the solution needed.

Mr. Dog realized their mistake and turned to digital printing technology for the solution. Instead of pre-purchasing large quantities of packaging to save money, the company began using digital printing for short runs and use the savings to invest in other key areas of product development. This simple change enabled the company to launch new products quicker since the print-production time was shortened.

The company is now using some 20 different made-to-fit packaging systems to accommodate the variety of products offered. There’s been a boost in customer loyalty with a higher percentage of repeat customers than new customers. There’s also been an increase in sales of 60-70% at the retail level.

Midwest Graphics is ready to handle your digital printing needs with no minimum quantities required.

You, too, can enjoy the advantages of using digital printing similar to those encountered by Mr. Dog. Regardless of the size or scope of your project, Midwest Graphics can help bring it to life. From one-off print jobs to lots in the hundreds or thousands, no job is too big or too small.

Whether you have an existing concept or no art at all, our team of designers and computer operators can handle your artistic and structural design requirements. Contact us to start saving on your printing costs today.

 

Who said “you can’t judge a book by its cover?”

Package design CAN affect a customer’s decision whether to buy your product or not

 Did you know that there is real value in your packaging design? It can be the deciding factor that sways a customer to buy your product.  Think about it…if the product isn’t packaged in an eye-catching way, it may never even attract their attention.

 Thoughts on why the design of your package matters

 People are busy and they make their buying choices quickly. In fact, studies show you have only about 7 seconds to make a good first impression with your product. Remarkably, in that span of time they can size up the merits of the product and decide whether to buy it or not.

Your packaging is the advertisement that can make that meaningful connection during those critical seconds. When done correctly, packaging can make your product get noticed and stand out among the competitive clutter on the shelf.

The old adage “the customer is always right” applies to packaging.

 Consumers care about packaging.

Surveys say 74% of them feel packaging labels that communicate transparently and honestly about the product’s ingredients builds trust.

Seventy-seven percent of the same group also said that packaging that uses materials designed to keep them safe builds trust.

And 76% trust brands packaged with labeling stating they use high-quality materials and ingredients.

The take away is simple…if packaging is this important to consumers, then companies should incorporate strategic thought behind their packaging design into their marketing strategy.

 Package design is a good investment

 A well-designed package can promote the brand and voice of your product. Look no further that the design of the Coca-Cola bottle. For over the last 100+ years, its iconic shape has become one of the most recognizable packages in the world.

Like the Coke bottle, packaging for your brand needs to be easy to relate to, easy to identify, and easy to recognize when in a hurry.

How can Midwest Graphics help you design the perfect package?

From conceptualization to proofing, Midwest’s in-house design team can help you create the packaging materials that will make your product stand out and get noticed.

We’re experts at the design and printing of all types of packaging.  Make us part of your strategic marketing team and let us help you arrive at a packaging solution you and your customers will love.

Who doesn’t LOVE digital printing?

Its growth can be attributed to the many benefits it offers customers.

For those of us engaged in the business of printing, 1993 was a pivotal year. That was the year digital printing was launched.

Since its inception, this form of printing has rocketed in popularity and is expected to grow 17% compounded annually through 2020. This growth is largely because digital printing uniquely meets marketers demands for new, efficient ways to communicate with customers.

Benefits associated with digital printing

It’s a GREEN process –

Being “green” and environment-friendly is increasingly important to both companies and consumers. If you have to print, digital is much eco-friendlier than the conventional printing.

There are no pre-press stages between the digital document file and the final print, so there is no need for film plates or photo chemicals.

Speed –

In printing, there is often a rush to get the printing done on-time.

Digital offers quicker response time due to its minimal press setup. This is because traditional plates and film are redundant so the press make-ready process is eliminated. With fewer steps and people involved in the printing process, the printing can be done quicker.

Cost effective –

Companies are always looking to cut marketing costs.  Digital printing offers a budget-friendly printing option. Because of its flexibility, digital printing doesn’t have the quotas or minimum orders associated with conventional printing processes. This translates into the company being able to have only the exact amount printed that they need.

Short runs –

Many companies appreciated the ability to have short-to-medium runs of printing done. Once entered into a computer, digital data is easily stored and updated.  Future runs and any needed changes can be made prior to the next printing.  There is no need to bulk stock and no need to dump out of date stock.

Midwest Graphics understands your digital printing needs

At Midwest, we consider digital printing a way to deliver printing “the way you want it!”.  We have the best equipment, including Xerox, Adobe, Apple and more for any digital printing need.

With the ability to digitally print your design directly onto your chosen packaging substrate on-site, we can quickly and efficiently run any size print job you need.  Our designers are ready to help you with your next printing need.

Think you can’t afford a POP display? Think again!

At Midwest Graphics, our in-house design team talks to companies  daily about the best ways to package and display their products in retail. While the client may be thinking about using POP (point of purchase) displays to showcase and sell the product, they may be reluctant because of budgetary concerns. They just don’t feel the numbers add up to warrant the expense associated with the POP.

From our experience, the question the client should really be asking themselves is whether their avoidance of using POP displays are causing them to lose sales and, if so, how much?

POP’s boost sales

 Marketing statistics show POP’s have been proven to dramatically boost product sales. An average boost is in the range of 20%! And, POP displays don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

 POP costs can be minimal

POP costs can be controlled in a variety of ways. Ordering the displays well in advance and in bulk can help.  Also, the costs of the material used in the POP display varies greatly, offering options for tight budgets. Choose from wood, metal, or cardboard. And, the quantity of POP’s ordered affects overall costs, with the per-unit price dropping as the quantity manufactured rises.

All information should be gathered before deciding on POP displays

At Midwest Graphics, we have many years of experience in designing POPs.  Our design team can accurately estimate your expense and take the guesswork out of the decision-making process.

In the final analysis, it’s all about placing your product within your customer’s view and letting the POP help sell it for you.

 

Any POP is going to be cheaper than placing ads on television! And, POP’s help in selling the product in that critical first 4 seconds of viewing. That’s the time most buyers take in deciding whether to pick up your product or pass it by!

At Midwest Graphics, our design team will help you design a POP display within your budget. Then, watch your product get the attention it deserves and watch your brand grow!

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.