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 (https://cultcarcolors.de/) 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 (https://www.clormanndesign.de/) 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 Black card box. Then the printer, Egger Druck + Medien (https://www.eggerdruck.de/), 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.
PS: You can order Cult Car Colors here:
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.