A Better Box: Creating a Unique Box for a Unique Brand
A Small Print Shop: T-Shirt Art Design and Screen Printing.
When a team of artists wants their shipping boxes to be as unique as they are, Few Vendors Can Rise to the Challenge.
Case Study highlights
Reinforcing and Extending a Brand with the Right Packaging.
Client relationship and problem-solving.
02. Packaging Specs
A box like no other.
Learning and adapting as quickly as possible.
When freight costs derail a good thing.
Client Relationship and Problem-Solving
When the End Becomes a New Beginning
They wanted to reflect their bold brand and be as unique as their team of artists
A Small Print Shop is based in Colorado, but they reached out to us through our website form because they were looking for custom-printed, branded shipping boxes and sealing tape. They wanted to reflect their bold brand and be as unique as their team of artists, meaning something completely different from what most in the t-shirt industry were doing.
Brown & Pratt met their needs in exactly the way they wanted, the relationship was strong, everything was proceeding along nicely—until the client became concerned about what it was costing them in freight to get their packaging orders from Indianapolis to Colorado. That simple stumbling block, in spite of efforts to quickly engage the client to address concerns and find solutions, brought the relationship to end. But the loss of the client wasn’t the end of this story, which has a happy ending as will be seen as this case study unfolds.
Brown & Pratt consistently provides great looking custom boxes, which help us market ourselves and stand out from other print shops. We take a lot of pride in seeing our boxes around town at concert venues, breweries, restaurants, outdoor markets, and other local businesses. And if I’m seeing our boxes out in the world, then I know potential customers are seeing them too. Brown & Pratt helps us deliver an elevated experience with every order.
A Box Like No Other
A Team of Artists Requires Packaging as Unique as They are
A Small Print Shop is a team of fun-loving, quirky artists who wanted their t-shirt shipping boxes to be every bit as unique as they are. They knew exactly what they wanted, and what they wanted was completely different from what anyone else in their industry was doing with their shipping boxes.
The first challenge was the mechanics of how they wanted to print these bold designs on the opposite side and end panels of standard brown regular slotted carton (RSC) boxes. Their key requirement was that the printing completely fills the panel. Sounds easy enough, but from the vendors perspective, it’s not. Here’s the challenge:
A box is “scored” in the places where it must fold to turn a flattened box into a container, and custom printing takes place when the box is flat. Those score lines play a key role in defining the available print area for each panel of an assembled box. The vast majority of vendors will immediately tell the client they can’t print right up to the score line. If the printing extends over the score line, it’s not going to look right. Erring on the side of safety means leaving at least a half inch of space around the panel to avoid that possibility. This means with a lot of solid black ink, the printed area looks like it has a frame around it (the unprinted edge around the panel), and that was exactly the look the client did not want. They wanted the ink to go right up to the score line without going over so the entire panel would be filled.
Most vendors would just say it’s not possible, but Brown & Pratt always puts its best foot forward. Scouring our print facilities resulted in finding a machine that could be adapted to meet these needs, which requires a very specific, intricate way of feeding the sheet into the printing machine. The client got the exact results they were looking for and it was a big win for both parties.
The second interesting twist the client put on their packaging was custom-printed carton sealing tape. Most clients would not do what this client wanted to do. If a regular client is using a white shipping box, they’d likely choose a white tape so it would mostly be invisible, or if using a brown box, they’d want clear tape so the tape itself would be invisible. What A Small Print Shop wanted was bold tape. They chose a white tape for their brown box, with branding printed in black ink because they wanted it to stand out—and it did!
Most vendors would just say it’s not possible, but Brown & Pratt always puts its best foot forward. Scouring our print facilities resulted in finding a machine that could be adapted to meet these needs.
Making Needed Performance Adjustments
When the Product is Used, Get Ready for Tweaks
T-shirts, it turns out, when packed well, can end up being much heavier than you might expect.
The only adjustment that needed to be made along the way was the type of box used in terms of the weight. T-shirts, it turns out, when packed well, can end up being much heavier than you might expect. They started out with a standard single-wall RSC box, but it quickly became apparent that what they really needed was a heavy-duty single-wall RSC box. It was a necessary adjustment made early on, which did increase the cost slightly for the client, but there was no question it was a needed change to the box specs. The bump up in board grade did the trick and the client was extremely pleased with the results.
When Freight Costs Derail a Good Thing
Cost Effectiveness Reigns Supreme, But Doesn’t Always Have the Last Word
Other vendors tried running the boxes with the exact same Brown & Pratt plates and nothing turned out right.
At around the two-year mark of this solid client relationship, A Small Print Shop was feeling like the freight costs of getting Brown & Pratt boxes from Indianapolis to their location in Colorado was more expensive than they wanted. This was a legitimate client concern. Shipping anything into Colorado is an expensive proposition—more expensive than most states. Why? As it turns out, lots of things get shipped into Colorado, but very little gets shipped out of Colorado. Those empty trucks leaving Colorado force ingoing freight rates higher from the carriers because going to Colorado is an inefficient use of their transportation resources.
The client felt they needed to bid out the cost and see if they could save money on freight. They requested their printing plates be sent to them, which is what marks the end of the client relationship with the vendor. It wasn’t a bad breakup, the client was just making what they thought would be a better business decision. And this was in spite of having more than one full-time employee at Brown & Pratt whose sole focus is researching freight options with every conceivable broker and carrier to make sure freight costs are minimized as much as possible.
Over the course of the next year, A Small Print Shop had several negative experiences with other vendors. None of them could meet their needs. These other vendors tried running the boxes with the exact same Brown & Pratt plates and nothing turned out right. One of those failed vendors even tossed out the B&P plates and made their own, and still failed. And none of them seemed willing to do any real problem-solving to meet the client’s needs.
It was a happy day when A Small Print Shop got in touch with Brown & Pratt and said they wanted to come back, even in spite of the higher freight charges. If saving money on freight meant settling for shipping boxes they hated, they weren’t going to do that. The client has been completely satisfied after returning to Brown & Pratt, which is the best kind of happy ending any vendor can experience.
Brown & Pratt: Your Custom Printed Packaging Partner
When you need shipping and packaging solutions that extend and reinforce your company’s brand, Brown & Pratt is ready to help with custom printed boxes, bags, and tape.