Creative Packaging: Cult Car Colors

In the world of classic sports cars, those with air-cooled engines are prized by many because they’re lighter and have fewer parts than more traditional, water-cooled, ones. That “less is more” philosophy is celebrated intriguingly in this clever gift packaging for Cult Car Colors, a line of nail polishes that come in the colors of iconic sports cars.

As classic sports car fans themselves, you can imagine the fun that designers Ulrike and Marc Clormann of Clormann Design had crafting the boxes for their passion project. But with their first offering being comprised of 20 shades, sold in sets of 3, packaging costs could easily have gotten out of hand. The solution they came up with is both smart and elegant.


Rather than go the rigid box route, the designers began with an impressively chunky 400 gsm (270 lb.) duplex-laminated, uncoated Black card box. Then the printer, Egger Druck + Medien, applied shiny, eye-catching Silver hot foil to it in various places, including a large “Cult Car Colors” logotype on the lid, and related phrases in smaller text along the sides of the box.

Beautiful though this packaging is, how do you customize it for a set of 3 (out of a possible 20) nail polish shades inside without significantly boosting your costs? If you said “digital printing,” you’re way ahead of me 🙂

Taking advantage of digital’s short print run and variable data printing capabilities, they printed different bellybands on White C1S stock showing off the same classic Porsche 911, each “painted” in the 3 colors of nail polish contained in that particular box. This format allows for an almost infinite number of color combinations, enabling the company to create sets on the fly in response to customer ordering behavior and seasonal fashion trends.

On the back of the bellyband (which closes using a tuck tab), each of the 3 nail polish bottles are shown, along with boilerplate info that applies to all of the products, regardless of color. This includes the fact that they’re made from 80% vegetable or mineral ingredients, and are free of micro-plastics and harmful ingredients typically found in such beauty aids.

Held shut with a simple tab-and-slot closure, the box lid lifts open to reveal another print of the multi-colored Porsche, again customized to match the nail polish shades inside that particular box, held in place by a diagonal pair of die-cut notches. Removing it reveals the Cult Car Colors logo in Silver foil on the inside of the lid.

The 3 nail polish bottles sit snuggly in the cut-out areas of a snazzy insert tray that boasts a pattern reminiscent of the Porsche Pepita houndstooth seat fabric. (Did I mention the designers know their classic cars?) Inside those cut-out niches are little messages such as “The road is your catwalk” and “Go out and drive colorful.”

“Back in the 1960s, my father bought a Paprika Red [Volkswagen] Karmann Ghia,” Ulrike recalls. “This car was his pride and joy… Even today, at the age of 86, my father raves about this vehicle. He might not remember all of his female passengers, but the color of this car and the associated zest of life will never be forgotten.”

Not only is the finished packaging a fun, creative tribute to this kind of joyful car nostalgia, but it’s also a little master class in how to get the most out of your budget by creating a single, snazzy main piece that can be easily customized through the use of digital printing.

Traditional hot foil stamping added an extra luxurious touch to this packaging to be sure. But suppose you’d like to produce just a few boxes at a time? Did you know you can add foil to your short print runs, too, using digital foil? It’s true! Discover all your foiling options by downloading our exclusive Foil Cheat Sheet right now.

Project Details

Title Cult Car Colors Packaging Client Self Date October 2021 Design Clormann Design
Print Egger Druck + Medien Paper Outer box: Uncoated Black Cover;
Bellyband and insert: C1S

Production Details

Dimensions 215 mm (8.5”) x 150 (5.9”) x 35 mm (1.4”) Print Quantity 1,000 Production Time 4 weeks Printing Method Digital Number of Colors CMYK Euroscale Finishing and Binding Hot foil, die cutting, hand assembly
  1. Kirsten Goede 1 year ago

    This is a very cool project. Great production ideas. Thanks for sharing!

    • Author
      Aaron 1 year ago

      So glad you enjoyed this one, Kirsten!

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