“Mind blowing.” There really are no other words to describe the first time I saw the “X Box.” No, not the gaming console but rather the ingenious “X Box Packaging X-Perience” kit which is, quite simply, a packaging creator’s dream. Not only does it substantially help designers and clients develop the perfect packaging experience for their projects, it’s also a jaw-dropping example of super-smart design all on its own.
What Makes This a Unique Packaging Experience?
The “X Box” is a portable lesson in the power and importance of “user experience” when it comes to packaging – every detail has clearly been thought through for this collaborative effort between printer Eberl & Koesel and designer Marc Clormann.
My “experience” begins with the gorgeous, super-sturdy bellyband that wraps around the box, secured by an interlocking technique that also provides a super-strong handle. Made from 310 gm (200 lb.) Gmund Gold Oro and duplex laminated on black cardboard, the bellyband gives off just the right amount of golden shimmer. I haven’t even opened the box yet and I’m already stunned! But open it I must.
Off comes the bellyband to reveal a handsome lid featuring the name of the kit in Gold ink over a rich tone-on-tone pattern on James Cropper Real Black. While at first glance this might look like your average telescopic lid with an exposed Gold neck, the packaging is actually set up in the reverse way we usually see, which hints at the unique nature of the treasures inside.
Removing the lid reveals two document pockets attached to the underside, each with a die cut “X” backed with Gold Gmund Oro paper that matches the lid’s neck and interior. In Pocket No. 1: a visual guide to the featured boxes inside. The brochure itself is a combination of a trifold and stepped-accordion fold. In Pocket No. 2: carefully selected and embellished paper samples to help clients decide which substrate would work best for the packaging they envision. And this is just the lid, people.
Like a Candy Sampler of Creative Packaging
As this is a reversed telescopic packaging, the 14 different boxes inside are presented like precious jewels on a tray. Some square, some rectangular, they sit nestled in a Black foamcore grid. While all are printed in the same basic style – the box’s name centered on the top against a patterned background – their subtle individual characteristics are immediately apparent.
They run the gamut from simple folding carton (“X-Pert”) to turned-edge boxes (“X-Factor”) in which you’d expect to find fine jewelry. How sophisticated do the samples get? Try the “X-Perience” box, which is held together with magnetic closures, folding out like a puzzle box – you really have to see it to believe it. And then there’s the “X-Centric” and the…. Honestly, I could make a whole series of videos just about these brilliant pieces.
Seeing them all presented in this way, displayed like a candy sampler, takes my breath away as the true power of the X Box dawns on me. For a number of reasons, this collection is the perfect Rosetta Stone for bringing designers, clients and printers together so that everyone can be on the same page when it comes to creating the perfect packaging:
- Limiting the number of colors used to just two prevents a client from liking (or disliking) a piece purely on the basis of color. Most are printed on White stock, a few on Gold Gmund Oro.
- Not only can clients see a wide range of packaging possibilities at once, they can also get a sense of how robust a box they need for the product they’re placing inside it.
- Giving each box a name makes it that much easier for everybody to know which style is desired. And like a candy sampler, each box’s specs, including paper used, are detailed at the bottom of the niche in which it rests, as well as on the bottom of each box itself.
- Including paper samples and different embellishment options helps the client imagine even more possibilities.
At a time when it seems harder than ever to get people on the same page about anything, the X Box Packaging X-Perience kit comes as an inspiring and thought-provoking…experience 😉
(The X Box Packaging X-Perience Kit is only available for purchase from Eberl & Koesel in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Those interested should email Markus Erhart.)