Media Case Studies
Unforgettable Moments deserve Memorable Packaging
In commemoration of its award-winning 30 for 30 Series’ Fifth Anniversary, ESPN Films aspired to promote the films in packaging as memorable as the stories themselves.
When it came to the packaging for this collector’s edition, they let fans make the call with a coin toss between a ticket box and lay flat book holding 20 Blu-Ray discs or a Groupon exclusive sports locker holding 32 DVD’s, a t-shirt, hat, limited edition book and poster.
Both collectable versions needed iconic packaging. Having established ticket imagery as a brand anchor for the series, ESPN Films chose to transform the ticket silhouette into a true luxury box. MPS designers expertly tackled some unexpected structural challenges, creating seamless corner arcs and smooth sidewalls with inventive scoring, folding, and wrapping techniques.
For its Groupon exclusive, ESPN Films wanted to build upon a sports theme while reflecting the timeless nature of the 30 for 30 brand. The MPS special packaging team assembled their global vendor network to find the right combination of size and colors that fit the ESPN vision.
Teamwork was the key to success in translating ESPN Film’s original vision into realty - from design and development through manufacturing and project management.
For the finished ticket box, MPS design and production teams executed with technical precision, aligning the hinged top, contoured sides, and lay flat book to perfection. Adding to the overall fan experience were an embossed title treatment and overall VelveKoteTM finish.
The metal sports locker took on a custom look with a tip-on title plate and the black and red ESPN colors silk-screened.
The MPS project management team brought everything together, coordinating production, quality control, and logistics across three countries and 16 times zones.
MPS Indianapolis facility produced the printed components for both versions; applying VelveKoteTM to the ticket box and book wraps inline.
MPS worked with their trusted outsource partners in Mexico and China on final production and assembly of the ticket box/book and metal lockers.
Pushing Boundaries in Form and Function
For the Deadwood gift set, HBO was looking to push boundaries with their packaging, just like they pushed boundaries with the show itself. They wanted to replace traditional plastic trays with paperboard pockets, something which had never been done successfully for Blu-Ray discs. They also wanted to give the package a weathered exterior evocative of the Old West and a glossy interior evocative of the Modern Western. Exploring new possibilities for print and packaging technology is something we eagerly embrace, whether it’s new materials, new printing technologies, or a structural design challenge.
Because more data is packed into the Blu-Ray format, the discs are more sensitive to scratching than DVDs or CDs. MPS engineered a groundbreaking pocket design to secure the discs while protecting them from damage. The development effort required 60 hours of design with over 20 prototypes and 240 hours of testing to achieve the right balance of form and function.
In the end, the bookstyle package and slipcase combined our decorative technologies with laminated materials to create the style, function, and durability HBO desired. With special coatings, film laminations, adhesives, and other unique solutions, standard materials became special packaging. Our scratch resistant pockets delivered, perfectly protecting the discs. We used TextureKote to create a distressed fabric and Foil Stamping on the title treatment.
The solution to these packaging challenges often lies as much in the expertise of the team as in the available materials and technologies. We were able to draw on the resources of our team and vendor partners to begin delivering product 60 days after pocket approval. The complexity of the project involved four of our manufacturing facilities, several printing technologies, and considerable project management over 12 weeks of production.
Premium Packaging Has Gamers Stoked
The sequel to a video game as popular as BioShock by 2KGames was bound to generate high expectations among the game’s fan community. Needless to say, the special edition packaging for BioShock 2 had a lot to live up to. 2K Games not only planned to pack the special edition with a variety of collector’s items, they also wanted the box itself to be part of the experience. Gamers scrutinize special edition video game packaging as closely as the games themselves. So if a special edition isn’t perceived as being worth the higher cost, the community makes its disapproval known.
Decorative technologies—including soft touch, transparent inks, and holographic sculpting—played a big role in giving the package a serious “wow” factor. MPS found a way to make the VelveKote™ used on the black outer wrap durable enough to withstand the rigors of shipping. We also perfected the transparent inks used to include secret messages on a set of posters, and produced the holographic sculpting for the intricate cover sheets.
2K Games had a color-by-numbers plan for what they wanted this packaging to become, but they needed a partner who had all the right crayons to make it happen. With 25 components in two languages for three console platforms, managing color consistency across materials was complex. Common GRACOL 7 standards across all of our locations greatly simplified the process, achieving the desired result.
2K Games tapped the engineering and design skills of the MPS team to give the BioShock 2 set box, lid, and tray the precision, uniformity, and weight needed for a super-premium feel. We coordinated the production of all components across multiple facilities to meet the project’s tight deadline. MPS produced the entire project within 30 days, including ordering materials, approvals, sign-offs, and final delivery.
Experience and Collaboration Honor a Legacy
This unique collection represents Bruce Springsteen’s never-before-seen writing, editing and rough ideas for the Darkness on the Edge of Town album. Based on the actual notebook that was used during his original recording sessions, this authentic re-creation has excited fans around the world. We find that some projects, like this one, are a journey, requiring craftsmanship, attention to detail and patience. As the finished piece demonstrates, ingenuity, technical finesse and hand assembly make this book truly unforgettable. More about 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' packaging on youtube
This project first appeared to be printing and production of a simple notebook. It quickly became a unique structural and aesthetic challenge. From the onset, we worked closely with the customer on every detail to ensure everything looked absolutely authentic. Everything about this iconic package was completely custom designed - a total of nine components in ten materials. Over 30 months in the making, with 1,200 hours of design and sample building invested, the final result exceeded all expectations.
Translating the designer’s vision into reality meant selecting the right materials, structure and blend of production technologies. Anticipating production challenges, the MPS team planned ahead to deliver this authentic reproduction of Springsteen’s original notebook. We created custom disc pockets to ensure a layflat profile and combined two coatings with the graphics to create the illusion of the yellowed tape and torn photographs.
MPS managed the project, coordinating production across three facilities, including multiple manufacturing processes, as well as hand assembly. Production was equally complex, spanning 12 weeks, including hand assembly of the custom slipcase and international delivery. Virtually our entire scope of design, production, and project management services helped make this vision a reality.
The Pale Emperor by Marilyn Manson
The Pale Emperor is the latest hit album from iconic shockrocker Marilyn Manson, notorious for his dark lyrics and robust metal sounds.
In contrast to his overly illustrated packaging designs from previous albums, Concord Records wanted to show an intimate side of Marilyn Manson in a classic, black and white limited edition box set.
This mellower yet elegant, high-end packaging concept was fashioned around The Pale Emperor’s sparser, blues rock-influenced sounds and lyrics, and mimics the music genre’s traditional soulful theme.
The MPS creative team inspired Concord Records to take advantage of our decorative technologies to achieve the restrained, yet bold artistic effect. Debuting with this release, our new GritKote™ finish wowed the label with a rough texture that added nuanced dimension to the five black and white lithographs. The collectible download card also featured a GritKote finish for a cohesive aesthetic throughout the collection. The MPS technical team was invaluable in translating the GritKote technology to the customer’s artwork. Applied in-line on our offset presses in Dallas and Chicago, GritKote incorporates sand-like particles into a specialized UV coating to create a distinctive grit texture.
The box set included a hinged rigid box wrapped with NatuurLinnen with a tipped-on metallic high-gloss cover photo, a debossed logotype on the spine, and a black foil stamp title on the back. A set of five lithographs featured a one-of-a-kind, hand applied wax seal monogram. Rounding out the collection were an 8-panel softback, two LP sleeves, and a glossy oversized poster.
Developed by the Creative team in Glendale, managed by the Special Packaging team in Chicago, and produced in multiple MPS locations, MPS achieved an artistic vision, giving alternative rock fans an astonishingly mastered piece of art and music. Close coordination among MPS locations ensured color consistency and concurrent delivery across all components.