00. The briefing
We absolutely had to sell Black Sailors, but it was more complex than that:
· It was Bigchild's first contact with the final customer, so we had to establish the Bigchild brand and also the Black Sailors brand.
· Since the quality of the sculpt is the main selling point, we decided that the figure had to be visible before buying.
· But we had to keep in mind that the figures are unpainted and unassembled, so they wouldn't drag attention by themselves.
· Since the miniature stores were so cluttered with very simmilar looking stock, we had to make something that looked very different from the rest.
01. Market research
So I set off to some stores and looked at what they had around.
The first two things I noticed were that:
· Black was going to make us disappear among the clutter because there was just too much black and dark colors and that
· If we made a blister, nobody would look for us. Blisters were almost exclusively expansion packs, but nobody starts any collection with a blister. Everyone starts a collection with a box.
Now looking for good work, the first, most obvious good job at packaging miniatures, because it was the first thing I saw in every store I walked in, was the X-Wing miniatures box:
This is obviously a wonderful work, but one I could not imitate because of two reasons:
· They can afford to make a disproportionately big box because it says “Star Wars” on it and we’re not there yet, and
· Their miniatures work a lot better as an inmediate lure (instead of a sale closing argument) because they’re preassembled and prepainted and ours aren’t.
Not to worry though, there were other two great designs I could draw inspiration from: The regular 30cm scale figure boxes which let the customer see through and appreciate the figure, and the Hell Dorado boxes, which had a removable cover.
My plan was to combine both. So I set off to it.
02. First idea
This is where I started the conversation with the client. With a clean design that would detach Bigchild from their competitors and feature heavily the great concept art that the figures were based on. It was an inner box with a cardboard wrap around it, so the concept art would drag attention from afar and then the buyer could pick it up and take out the inner box, which would have a plastic layer so you could see the figure inside.
Since we’re here, I’m going over some features:
· (1) Series: I was supposed to feature the series here. Back then I was planning for several games coming soon into the market under the Bigchild brand, so I thought it would be important to signal them. The background with the beige lines was supposed to change with the series, too.
· (2) Collection: The line around the box and the block on the back with the info was supposed to change with each different collection. Again, I was planning for several.
· (3) Label: This was designed to be continued on the inner box but not on the outer box, so it would make people curious to take the inner box out. On the other side it would say who sculpted and painted the miniature and who made the concept art.
· (4) Text about the collection.
· (5) Lore about the miniature.
· (6) This was meant as a joke and to use the size as a sales motive. I’m comparing it to a standart wargame soldier. On later versions we used actual size silhouettes.
· (7) Complete collection: Just to make the buyer curious and have an idea of what other miniatures are in it.
This is what other collections were supposed to look like on a shelf:
The idea was nice but it had two problems:
· The production costs are just too high, we had to make something that we could fold from a single layer of cardboard without pasting extra plastic layers or anything, and
· The stores told us that they would really appreciate it if we made the box hangable because it would make it a lot easier for them to display. This was a nice balance: still a box so it would be visible, but with a hole on it. I could do that.
So I went back to work.
We made many tests on paper and started to nail down the small problems that we found on the way:
I thought the easiest way to do it was to wrap some cardboard around a blister. It had the advantage of looking trapezoidal instead of rectangular, which would make us a lot different than the rest, and the wrap could easily be drilled to make it hangable. It could either be detachable from the blister (but that way many wraps would get lost) or be attached to it with an open window on the front that we’d cover with a sticker (but that would be too complicated).
Unconvinced, I set off to find better solutions.
Now this was a lot more like it.
· By making it all into a single cardboard piece we made it a lot simpler and got the same effect.
· We decided to enclose the top and the bottom so it would be a box and
· We added a vertical fold on the back so the box could get flattened after being assembled (it´s barely visible on the final version).
From here on it was just minor adjustments all around until we got to the final version.
04. Final design
There’s 3 different box sizes, but the basic design is the same.
Black Sailors is not on retail yet but it's selling pretty good online, so do take a look if you like miniatures because I can certify they look stunning.
I really hope you like my case study! If you want to contact me to ask me anything or want me to do any work for you, please do write me at Hey@IAmTheLion.com