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Making Packaging

Packaging is a big part of any product, and is directly related to sales. We needed to convey a lot of information to our users because it’s a new product that has technical aspects that require training. We wanted to make sure people could understand what it was, how it worked, and what features it had that differentiated the product and justified the price. We started with a list of the things we needed on the packaging.

Essential Elements

  • VERY clear what the product is. You have to understand it at a glance without ever having heard about it before.
  • product name
  • brand name
  • bar code
  • URL
  • instructions for use
  • how to install the app
  • important features
    • battery life
    • range
    • brightness
    • compatibility with tip-ups
    • compatibility with receivers (phones)

We also had to make sure our legal ducks were in a row, putting on a patent pending label and FCC ID.

Sizing up other packaging

Then we did market research (we went to some sporting goods stores and took lots of photos of products and their packaging). We looked at what each one had and did well, or how they cut corners.



Packaging Type

We had to choose a packaging solution. Everybody hates blister packs. They’re awful for the environment and they cut people all the time and they ruin the user experience. BUT, from the perspective of the store and manufacturer, they aren’t susceptible to water or humidity damage, they significantly reduce theft and vandalism, and they’re great for protecting the product. For small consumer electronics, it’s especially important to prevent shoplifters from removing the item from the packaging quickly and easily.

We decided to go with something called Opti-Paq, which is a cardboard front and back that folds in half. A small blister is trapped in the fold, holding the product. The blister is made of recycled plastic, and the cardboard is recycled and recyclable. Printing happens on one side only (but because it is folded there is stuff on both the front and back. This is what our design looked like in prototype form.


Then we needed to get size information from some retailers. They budget space on their shelves, so we needed to know how much space we could budget for our packaging. For the 1 pack and 2 pack, we ended up with the same height, but slightly different widths.


We originally did all the design work in The Gimp, which is a free equivalent to Photoshop, but when it came time to work with the printers, they said “Upload your AI files to our site” and we coughed and sputtered and had nothing. We had to have them recreate it themselves, which meant sending them all the text, all the graphics, and all the colors we would be using. It cost as much as buying Adobe Illustrator, but we didn’t want to end up doing it all ourselves again and still giving them something wrong, and we were in a hurry, so we just ate the cost. Here’s the design of the 1-pack:


So many details to figure out

See the QR codes? We had to go to press before the apps were even uploaded. So how did we know the link in advance? We didn’t, and it turned out to be perfectly fine. We set up a system on so that we could make a link and have a qr code to THAT link, and then we would just redirect to whatever link we wanted. So the links to the android app, the iOS app, and the video all point to, then redirect to the appropriate link.

Going to press soon…

Designing something for a printing press is challenging. There are some terms that we had to look up, and some processes that we weren’t used to. First is the cut line. This is where the die is supposed to cut the printed cardboard. But there is some variation when mass producing, so we have to build in some safety margins on both the outside and the inside of the cut line so that if it’s off a little bit, nothing important gets cut. Here’s an image of the packaging with the layout layer on top:


The black line is the trim line. The green is the outer bleed, and the red is a safety margin. We had to make sure that everything important was inside the red.

The Final Product

After all that, what does the final product look like? This:


That’s it! The packaging is often a forgotten part of product development, but it’s critical to the success. We spent a good week on the packaging design, prototyping, and proofing until we were happy with it, and even then we felt rushed.

The feeling we get seeing this is incredible. This is something WE MADE. We did this. It’s going to be in stores, and we designed, tested, and built this product, and inside the packaging it finally looks real.