10 Items for Your Pre-Design Packaging Checklist

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Whether you are sitting down to design your first folding carton package or your hundredth, it helps to have a pre-design checklist. This ensures that your packaging looks and performs its best. Here are ten considerations you don’t want to overlook.

  1. Target audience: Who is the target market for your product? Your packaging has the same target audience! What design elements are most likely to catch their eye?
  2. Branding: You are marketing a product, but you want to maintain your brand identity, too. Ensure you consistently use your logo, brand colors, and themes to maintain a cohesive brand experience.
  3. Structural considerations: Understand the many folding styles, closure mechanisms, and assembly processes available. Consider the functionality, durability, and ease of use for the end consumer and the supply chain.
  4. Packaging materials: Consider material strength, sustainability, printing compatibility, and cost-effectiveness.
  5. Printing and finishing techniques: How will the package be finished? What types of coatings, embellishments, and special effects (e.g., embossing, spot varnish) will give you the desired visual impact?
  6. Legal and regulatory requirements: Familiarize yourself with any legal and regulatory requirements that apply. This may include adherence to safety regulations, labeling requirements, nutritional requirements, country-of-origin markings, etc.
  7. Sustainability: Opt for recyclable, biodegradable, and renewable materials wherever possible. Ensure that the packaging design allows for the efficient use of materials, reduces waste, and considers the entire product lifecycle, from production to disposal.
  8. Usability and consumer experience: Design user-friendly packaging that enhances the consumer experience. Consider factors such as ease of opening, resealing options, clear instructions, and any additional features that could improve convenience or functionality for the end user.
  9. Production and cost considerations: Work closely with a reliable partner from the outset to find the most cost-effective ways to bring your design to life. Make sure you explore cost-saving alternatives when available.
  10. Testing and prototyping: How will you test and prototype your design? Before you go into full production, it’s always recommended that you test the design’s functionality, structural integrity, and visual appeal. This way, you can identify and address potential issues before finalizing the packaging design.

    Just like a beautiful diamond, product packaging has many facets. Use this Top 10 list to ensure every facet of your packaging shines.

    Avoid the USPS’s Top Mailing Mistake

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    In the world of direct mail, creativity is everything. You want to design pieces that stand out and catch the customer’s eye. But be careful! Sometimes this leads to designing mail pieces in nonstandard sizes that, in some cases, can make the mailpiece undeliverable. Failure to meet minimum mailing dimensions is the number one mailing mistake cited by the United States Postal Service.

    The USPS minimum dimensional standards for mail pieces are as follows:

    • Minimum height: 3.5”
    • Minimum length: 5”
    • Minimum thickness: .007”

    It’s critical to keep these minimums in mind when creating your designs. Even if you know the dimensional standards, making assumptions about meeting them is easy, which can have very bad outcomes.

    Real Life “Oops!”

    For example, when one postal customer wanted to create a unique piece, it designed a 4” x 4” card that it intended to send using Marketing Mail (Presorted Standard) non-automation letter pricing. The customer expected to pay more because the design did not meet the required aspect ratio but did not realize that the piece fell below the minimum sizing and could not be mailed.

    In another example, a customer used lightweight paper to create a letter-size, bi-fold self-mailer to obtain commercial letter pricing. The customer figured the mail would be considered non-machinable because of the thickness of the paper. Still, they thought minimum thickness would be fine with the folded design. In reality, the thickness did fail to meet the USPS minimum mailing standards, and, again, the piece could not be mailed.

    Ask Before You Mail

    Any time you create a new mail piece design, run it by our experts before you mail it. Unique, creative pieces grab attention and can get terrific results, but they must arrive in the customer’s mailbox first!

    Converting Leads to Clients with Referral Kits

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    In today’s world of business and sales, companies are constantly seeking impactful ways to attract new leads and convert them into clients. While digital marketing strategies have their place, there is a power in traditional, hands-on promotion. That is where referral kits come into play. Referral kits are internally curated packages containing promotional items that offer potential clients a glimpse into what a company can do. In this article, we will explore why referral kits are a strong tool for attracting new leads and why businesses should consider investing.

    What are Referral Kits?

    A sales or referral kit is a comprehensive kit designed to introduce potential clients to a company’s products, services, and expertise. It includes items such as branded brochures that highlight the company’s core offerings, product samples displaying their solutions, promotional merchandise, and clear contact information with a compelling call-to-action. Referral kits provide a tangible and immersive experience that effectively communicates the company’s value proposition, establishes credibility, and engages potential clients.

    Key Elements of an Effective Referral Kit:

    • Branded Brochure: A professionally designed brochure that highlights the company’s core services, success stories, and unique value proposition. The brochure provides an overview of the company’s expertise, establishing credibility and trust.
    • Product Samples: The referral kit includes product samples that represent the company’s offerings. For example, if the company specializes in printing services, the kit may include a piece such as a sign printed on a certain material that is desirable in the market. This will build credibility and give a small sample of a bigger picture project.
    •  Promotional Merchandise: Branded promotional items such as pens, keychains, or notepads are included to reinforce brand awareness and leave an impression. These items can be used in daily activities, keeping the brand top of mind.

    Referral Kit Best Practices:

    • Contact Information and Call-to-Action: The referral kit should include a prominent section displaying the company’s contact information, website, and social media handles. A clear call-to-action prompts potential clients to take the next step, such as scheduling a consultation, requesting a quote, or exploring more resources on the company’s website.    
    • Targeting Your Audience: To optimize the results of a referral kit, it is essential to focus on tailoring the kits to specific target audiences, ensuring that the design is a true reflection of the company’s brand identity. By following these best practices, a well-optimized referral kit can significantly enhance its impact, effectively attracting new leads and converting them into loyal clients for the business.

    Referral Kits from ImageMark

    Referral kits are innovative tools used to gain new leads, establish interest and credibility, and convert leads into clients. Their physical and interactive nature creates a memorable first impression, demonstrates expertise, boosts engagement, and separates your company from competitors. Investing in sales kits yields impressive returns, gaining brand advocacy, expanding your customer base, and driving long-term business growth.

    For more details on how ImageMark can help your business create referral kits, you can learn more by visiting our kitting services page, or you can contact our experts today.