8-Bit Lit: Packaging October 10 2013

Packaging is a very important consideration for consumer products. In the best case, you want to give your customers a great experience when they first open the box (think most apple products). As we're working on a tight budget, our primary goals are to deliver the first run of lamps safely to the customers, but was we move forward as a business, we'll be designing packaging that will make the lamps look great on store shelves.

We had the pleasure of working with Charlie, who's a bright up-and-comer at a big packaging supplier. Charlie was ready to help us design our packaging, but first he gave us a tour of their facilities. 

Some of the biggest and most impressive machines there were Heisenberg Offset printers. These lay down each ink individually (anywhere from 2-6 separate colors), and their fastest machines can print upwards of 18,000 sheets per hour. These machines are commonly used for any printing on the outside of packaging.

One of the next processes is the addition of a varnish, or reflective coating. This technique is used to attract the eye of the customer when the product sits on store shelves. You can see as I walk down the line that the sunlight reflects off the sheet after the varnish has been applied. The bright light is an array of UV lights that cures the coating very quickly.

In order to turn stock cardboard into boxes, a die cutter is used to crease and cut a design our of a rectangular sheet. This is an example of one of their largest die cutting machines that has to be run manually.

The auto die cutters are really impressive, and can work about as quickly as the Heisenberg Printers. The machines themselves are very complicated, so sorry if I wasn't able to capture all the mechanisms.

After the tour, we sat down with Charlie to discuss our packaging. Our two key concerns are the safety of the products, as well as the weight of the boxes, because this will determine shipping cost. Charlie helped create some innovative solutions that were both safe and lightweight.

As the day came to a close, we took Charlie out to a nearby Hakka restaurant. Top left: Crispy duck in soy sauce. Top right: Egg pancake with scallions. Bottom left: fried fish. Bottom right: Tofu with ground pork. 

Thanks for reading y'all!