I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – packaging design is all about the details. It has to be, especially when it’s geared towards the B2C market. The whole point is to get noticed enough that the consumer actually picks up the product. It’s not enough to merely have an attractive color palette and a standout logo mark – while those are critical elements of branding, they’re table-stakes in the world of packaging design. If you really want a product to get noticed, one needs to create an experience filled with excitement and the promise of delight for the buyer/recipient. And that’s exactly how I felt from the moment I first laid eyes on the Wondermade packaging.
THE WONDER OF WONDERMADE PACKAGING
To be honest, I never really thought too much about marshmallows. To me they were nothing more than something sweet to toss into a cup of cocoa or toast over a campfire. All that changed when I discovered Wondermade. And while I am a big fan of their brand, it’s the Wondermade packaging I’m totally in love with. I’ve thought about buying them over the years, but it was one of those things – out of sight out of mind. Then I saw the packaging for their Valentine’s Set pop up on Instagram earlier this month. I had to have them. Afterall, if the packaging looked this amazing, what were their marshmallows like?
So I hopped online and ordered a set. At $34 for a set of four they’re not cheap, but Valentine’s Day seemed like a good excuse to try them out. They’re the perfect Valentine’s treat for my sweetheart, plus I get some sweet packaging samples. That’s a win-win in my book. But once I got my hands on that wonder-filled packaging – the foil stamp, the feel of the letterpress impression, the die-cut label detail – I wondered why I didn’t buy all their marshmallows!
The attention to detail on this packaging is crazy. The set I ordered featured 4 boxes – all letterpress printed on wonderfully tactile papers. Two of the boxes feature a sizzling red hot foil stamp paired against a fiery iridescent paper; the perfect accent to convey the special-ness of the product. The other two boxes had a natural feel to them, complimenting their flavor profile, rose and raspberry rose.
I suspected the papers in question were French Paper Speckletone in Madeiro Beach and Neenah Starwhite in Flash White. Being the total paper nerd I am, I pulled out the swatch books to check. They are dead on matches – but I’m still waiting for official confirmation by Wondermade on that.
USING BEAUTIFUL PAPERS DOESN’T MEAN BLOWING THE BUDGET
The spec rep in me needed to know more. I happened to find an earlier feature on The Dieline. To my delight, the folks at Wondermade shared some details about the design and production in the comments section of the post:
“Best part about the boxes: The per unit cost wasn’t that much higher for duplexed French paper letter pressed by the Studio on Fire team than a digital run on a generic 100 lb card stock. It’s crazy that we could get all that superior attention and quality for such a reasonable cost.”
Their comments echoed what I know to be true – that designers can specify and actually use fab papers and print techniques without blowing their budget. The key is knowing what resources are readily available and the right application for them. That means an understanding of paper specification and print production to best achieve the results you envision. And the best way to do this is by forging relationships with your paper and print reps – the same way a client does with the design studio or agency.
And here’s what the folks at Wondermade said on the clever use of a cloud shaped, die-cut label to reinforce their brand messaging:
“As for the cloud die cut, it’s another great feature without significant extra costs. Full credit to the Heads of State for coming up with the idea. We’d have to get our stickers cut down anyways, so using the custom die doesn’t cost us much more than just trimming the paper would… and it gives us a far more consistent cut.”
THE SECRET TO SUCCESS LIES IN THE EXECUTION OF THE DETAILS
Wondermade marshmallows are a far cry from the high fructose corn-syrup ones in the supermaket. They craft their mallows from the finest natural ingredients and use only cane sugar. “It is easier to make marshmallows with corn syrups. But we’re in the business of superior marshmallows, not easier-for-us marshmallows. So we’re more than willing to take extra steps to deliver extra good mallows.”
With flavors like gold champagne, rosé and cherry chocolate chip, each Wondermade marshmallow is an artisanal confection, infused with cloud-like wisps of decadence. These are definitely not the kind of marshmallows I burned over a campfire as a kid. Although they would make for some pretty awesome ‘smores.
Wondermade is one company who gets the power of paper and print to convey brand messaging. And they use it masterfully to make a real connection with the consumer. I for one will gladly hand over my money for more of these wonder-filled treats of “sweet, magic air.”