Posted on August 12, 2015 by Michael Boik

Prototypes, samples and short runs for custom printed packaging

Rigid box with outer shipper prototypesWe are often asked if we can produce a few boxes, samples, prototypes, mock-ups, etc., for a wide variety of reasons. The answer with some fairly rigid limitations is definitely yes. However this is a process that is not for everyone.

As a grandfather of four beautiful little girls between the ages of five and eight, this new box immediately caught my attention. Imagine a program designed to stimulate and empower young girls at their most impressionable age? The founder of this unique program did just that and we believe it has great and far reaching potential for a new generation of young ladies. Check out the Tia Girl Club web site to learn more about the TIA movement!

As their web site and program is being developed they realized they needed sample boxes for a variety of reasons including a photo and video shoot. Yet, the final “look” and graphic design was not fully developed so investing in cutting dies, and print plates, really did not make sense, yet. So after a lengthy discussion on what they were trying to accomplish, we agreed to create a very limited number of internal (rigid) boxes and the outer corrugated shipper as well.

Open shipper with inside print and rigid box enclosedWhat our sample/prototype program is NOT

It is not an inexpensive way to avoid the standard 1,000 minimum or the related plate and cutting die charges. Digital printing and cutting samples one at a time on a CAD table is a very expensive process. For example, if you are looking for a few hundred boxes to test market, this is probably not a cost justifiable option. If you only need a dozen or so samples for a photo shoot, it MIGHT make sense but think in terms of hundreds of dollars, not tens, twenties or thousands.

Also, keep in mind that what we can produce with a digital printing process differs greatly from what can be produced in actual production, utilizing a flexographic print process. So the samples are going to look different and not every design that is possible to print digitally will lend itself to a one color/one plate process like flexo.

Cost versus benefit of prototyping    

Our friends at TIA Girl were fully aware of what their total prototyping cost would be and in their particular case it saved them money compared to other options and alternatives. I would go a step further and say that producing full color samples is rarely a good idea but in some limited cases it might.

Is it right for you? Contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 to discuss your specific needs.

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