Packlane Serves Creative Entrepreneurs Who Want Custom Packaging

If you sell your own branded products online, consider custom packaging. It can set you apart from competitors and make a big impression on your customers.

According to a 2016 eCommerce Packaging Study by Dotcom Distribution, the quality of your packaging can play a role in fostering customer loyalty. In their survey, 40 percent of the respondents said they would be more likely to purchase from an online retailer again if the product they ordered came in gift-like or premium package.

Thanks to companies such as Packlane, you no longer have to be a high-volume seller of products to afford great-looking packaging.

Packlane custom boxes

Whether you need a few small cartons or large printed shipping boxes, Packlane can help you create full-color, customized packaging that will get your customers excited about what’s inside.

In addition to ordering as few as 10 boxes, you can choose the graphics, the size and type of box, and the type of materials used.

When it’s time to re-order new boxes, you can adjust the design to include seasonal messaging or update your branding. You won’t risk being stuck with hundreds of boxes with outdated graphics.

Types of Boxes

Packlane offers three main styles of boxes: a classic carton, a mailer box, a shipping box. Each type can be sized to snugly fit your products. You won’t have to stuff a box that is too big with extra material to keep the contents from shifting around.

Types of Materials

When you place your order, you can choose to print the graphics printed on stocks ranging from thin, flat paperboard to thick corrugated graphics. You can specify whether you want your graphics printed on brown Kraft paper or a crisp white paper. The brown paper is fine for simple graphics with muted colors. The white paper is ideal for bright colors and designs that include images.


Design Tools

The website includes tools that make it easy for you to create and preview your design in 3 dimensions.

Or, you can request a 2D dieline for the box style and size you choose. A dieline is flattened outline of the box design that shows where the folds and cutlines will go. Just follow the Artwork Guidelines, and Packlane will take care of the rest.

For quantities from 10 to 2,000, you can get an instant quote. (If you need larger quantities, you can request a quote.)

Design Training

To help creative entrepreneurs get the best results from their packaging, Packlane has developed a free 36-minute Skillshare course: Packaging Design for Creatives and Entrepreneurs.

The video series discusses  box styles, design considerations, production and finishing techniques, dielines, RGB vs. CMYK color, how to use Illustrator, and tips for creating or uploading your design on the Packlane website.

Additional Insights

On the Packlane blog, you’ll find interviews with some of the entrepreneurs who have ordered boxes from Packlane. Michael Kushner, of Stefans Head explains why he is using custom-designed boxes to ship his company’s limited-edition T-shirts.

Another Packlane customer is a start-up that sends a curated selection of Paleo-friendly snacks to subscribers every month. He says, “A professional image is extremely important to start-ups. Custom packaging sets us up for success from the very beginning.”

The Packlane blog also contains tips such as How to Choose the Right Packaging for Your Product.


2017 Salary Guide Lists Ranges for 120 Creative and Marketing Jobs

According to The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide, starting compensation for creative professionals is expected to increase 3.6 percent in 2017. In-demand positions such as user experience and mobile designers are likely to see even bigger gains.

The 9 creative and marketing professionals listed below will be in the greatest demand and shortest supply in 2017. Compared to 2016 salary ranges, their starting compensation is expected to be higher than the 3.6 percent average received by all 120 positions covered in the Salary Guide.

  • Front-End Web Developer (1-3 years’ experience): 7.2%
  • Mobile Designer: 6.8%
  • User Experience (UX) Designer (3-5 years’ experience): 6.1%
  • Content Strategist: 5.4%
  • Visual Designer: 5.3%
  • Project Manager: 4.6%
  • Digital Strategist: 4.5%
  • Interactive/Web Copywriter (1-5 years’ experience): 4.4%
  • Marcom Manager (5+ years’ experience): 4.2%

Setting the Right Salary Matters

“Hiring creative talent is getting increasingly harder as demand remains strong and unemployment rates in the industry continue to trend below the average,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Since it’s a candidate’s market, employers must step up their recruitment efforts to secure the talent they seek.”

When The Creative Group surveyed 400 marketing and advertising executives about their biggest recruiting challenges, compensation ranked high on the list. When the executives were asked to name the most common reason candidates turn down job offers, 27 percent said it’s because the compensation and benefits were lower than the candidate expected.

“Salary may not be the only consideration for job seekers, but companies that aren’t paying competitively stand little chance of attracting and landing highly skilled candidates,” said Domeyer.

Top 4 Hiring Trends

The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide highlighted four key trends that hiring managers should consider.

Timing is everything. Because top candidates often receive multiple offers, organizations should move quickly. When faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39% of candidates lose interest or pursue other opportunities.

Skilled talent is in short supply. The unemployment rates for specialized positions are typically lower than the national rate.

Education is essential. More than 95 percent of jobs created during the recovery have gone to individuals with some college education.

Temporary is becoming permanent. Firms are bringing in freelancers instead of letting jobs sit vacant. This gives employers more time to recruit or determine if the temporary project professional is the right fit for a full-time role.

“Creatives with skills outside their specialty are highly marketable. In addition, digital proficiency is becoming a prerequisite for many traditional roles. For example, graphic designers need to be familiar with web layouts or social media and copywriters must have knowledge of search engine optimization.”

About the Guide

Whether you are a job-seeker or employer, The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide can be a useful tool. It features starting salary ranges for more than 120 positions in the creative field. Positions are grouped in five categories.

Design and Production positions include creative director, creative services manager, art director, production manager, studio manager, traffic manager, illustrator, graphic designer, package designer, 3D animator, multimedia designers, presentation specialist, and production artist.
Interactive Design and Production jobs include interactive creative director, interaction designer, visual designer, user experience director, user experience specialist, user experience researcher, web designer, email designer, HTML developer, front-end web developer, interactive producer, web production artist, motion designer, video producer, video editor, mobile designer, and mobile developer.

Content Development and Management jobs include copywriter, proposal writer, curriculum developer/writer, instructional systems designer, interactive/web copywriter, blogger, copy editor, proofreader, content manager, content marketing manager, and content strategist.

Advertising and Marketing positions include chief marketing officer, marketing director, marketing communications manager, business development manager, creative director, account director, account executive, account coordinator, account planner/strategist, digital strategist, event/trade-show coordinator, social media manager, SEO specialist, email marketing specialist, marketing analytics specialist, and market researchers.

Public Relations jobs include account manager/supervisor, senior account executive, account coordinator, public relations director, and public relations specialist.

The salary data included in the guide comes primarily from The Creative Group’s North American staffing and recruiting professionals. They make thousands of full-time, temporary, and project placements each year.

The ranges published in the guide represent national averages but can be adjusted for local markets by using local variance numbers included in the guide. For example, a starting salary in Los Angeles might be 130 percent of the national average whereas a starting salary in Sioux City, Iowa might be 85 percent of the national average.

The Creative Group is a division of Robert Half, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm. The Creative Group connects companies with highly skilled interactive design, marketing, advertising, and public relations talent. The Creative Group provides flexible staffing solutions by placing candidates on a project, contract-to-hire, or full-time basis.


Design Interactive Uses Canon MREAL System for Mixed Reality Training

Canon U.S.A. has selected Design Interactive in Orlando, Florida as the first value-added reseller of Canon MREAL system for Mixed Reality in the United States. The MREAL System for Mixed Reality is a visualization tool that seamlessly combines the real and virtual worlds for a powerful immersive experience.

Design Interactive is a leading provider of training system development and experts in human-machine interaction. Design Interactive will sell the MREAL system as part of the specialized training they develop for government and industry clients who have employees in high-risk situations.

Canon MREAL Headset
Head-mounted display for Canon MREAL System for Mixed Reality

“We are pleased to welcome Design Interactive as a Canon MREAL reseller,” said Toyotsugu Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, BISG, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “Through Canon’s MREAL System for Mixed Reality and integrated Training Management System, users in high-risk industries will be able to visualize a potentially dangerous scenario before they have to encounter it in the real world.”

Preparing for Dangerous Situations

High risk training is a specialized form of training for tasks that involve a high degree of risks related to safety or costs. High risk training is provided to professionals who are asked to work in environments that are normally dangerous or inaccessible.

The MREAL system is uniquely suited for high risk training because it can immerse users in virtual scenarios while allowing them to still see the real world – including their hands, tools, colleagues, and instructors.

Eileen Smith, Director, E2i Creative Studio at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training, said “High risk environments are multi-layered, and involve understanding how events put in motion will resolve themselves. Context is key in training, and the MREAL system allows the context to be altered easily and frequently to challenge a trainee throughout their journey toward excellence.”

Dr. Kay Stanney, CEO at Design Interactive said “The MREAL system provides a truly seamless and compelling blend between the virtual and real worlds. We are confident that it will help us deliver effective, engaging and value-added training solutions to government and industry clients.”

The integrated solution that Design Interactive will provide to its clients includes three key parts:

MREAL Display MD-10: Released in the U.S. in July 2016, the MREAL Display MD-10 features an expanded field of view and higher resolution than earlier models. The MD-10 enables trainees to immerse themselves in the virtual training scenario while still seeing real objects clearly and precisely.

MREAL Training Management System (MREAL TMS): The MREAL TMS acts as a central dashboard to collect and measure key performance metrics.  Instructors can review key data points and benchmarks to assess the trainee’s overall performance and retention. The MREAL TMS also integrates with select Learning Management Systems so instructors can incorporate the data into a broader curriculum.

MREAL Plug-In for Unity 3D: This tool enables instructors to leverage existing 3D content for training scenarios. The 3D content can easily be launched as part of an immersive experience within the MREAL system.

With these combined solutions, Canon and Design Interactive will bring next-generation capabilities enabling clients to reach mastery on complex tasks that can later be used in life-threatening situations in the field.

Mountainside Rescuers under Fire

In a post on the Design Interactive blog, Design Interactive experts discuss a mixed reality experience they developed to demonstrate the power of Canon’s Mixed Reality platform at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) Conference.

Design Interactive Canon MREAL
In a Design Interactive demonstration of the type of training that’s possible with Canon’s MREAL mixed-reality system I/ITSEC attendees could handle physical objects while visualizing the high-risk environment.

With Design Interactive’s mixed-reality experience, conference attendees visualized what it would be like to stand at the precipice of a bottomless void in the snow and be required to harness themselves to an icy rock wall so they could repel to help an injured warfighter. In the middle of the experience, the trainee takes fire. Another warfighter takes a bullet and the attendee must spring into action, applying a tourniquet under fire.

The Design Interactive blog post clarifies the differences between augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality systems. Unlike virtual reality systems like the Oculus Rift, MREAL provides the flexibility to couple virtual and physical elements. For example, your hands disappear from view if you lift your hands to your eyes while wearing an Oculus product. With MREAL, trainees can always see their hands, instructors, and the tools they need to accomplish the task.

Like augmented reality, the MREAL allows trainers to provide visualizations of instructions that can help trainees navigate or perform the task.

Designers of MREAL training exercises can choose to make the experience fully virtual or customize the amount of virtual content that is required for the job.

In addition to high-risk training, Canon is promoting the MREAL system for use in education, research, and manufacturing.


Epson Designer Edition Printers Simplify Color Accurate Proofing

If use an inkjet printer to make color-accurate proofs of designs for print ads, large-format graphics, marketing collateral, magazine pages, or other print projects, you will be interested in this news from Epson.  Epson has expanded its SureColor® P-Series of large format printers to include three new Designer Edition configurations: the 17-inch SureColor P800; 24-inch SureColor P6000; and 44-inch SureColor P8000.

epsonexceedyourvisionTo ensure an easy-to-use workflow for creative output, the SureColor P-Series Designer Edition printers incorporate the latest Epson printer technologies with updated EFI™ Fiery® eXpress RIP software, built on Adobe® PostScript® 3.

“The SureColor P-Series Designer Edition printers enable graphic designers to print the way they want with accurate results,” said Larry Kaufman, product manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, Inc. “With true Adobe PostScript, seamless RGB and CMYK color management and nesting of files to optimize media usage, the new SureColor Designer Edition Printers offer advanced capabilities for producing unparalleled output from a broad range of applications.”

Developed for graphic designers and some advanced photographers, the Designer Edition printers offer accurate color matching for process color (CMYK), spot colors, and RGB files.

The advanced job processing includes both the Adobe CPSI and PDF print engines along with support of the PANTONE® Plus Spot Color library, ensuring compatibility printing directly from all industry standard design programs.

The powerful EFI Fiery eXPress software RIP delivers all this in an easy-to-use software package with five easy ways to print. This means creative professionals can concentrate on what they do best – design.

Five Easy Ways to Print

Utilizing the updated EFI Fiery eXpress RIP software, the new Designer Edition printers produce accurate, repeatable output either as standalone printers or in networked configurations with Apple and Windows PCs.

The five methods to print are:

  • Hot Folder: Drag and drop, copy, or save a copy of a compatible file directly to the hot folder and the RIP will process the job using the current printer preferences
  • Virtual Printer: The simplest way to send a job to the RIP using the current printer settings, this works directly from an application and is selected from the printer list
  • Unidriver: Prints directly from the application with added controls for changing media, color and layout settings
  • eXpress RIP: Print locally using the eXpress RIP software. The software opens a wide range of file formats, including EPS, PDF, PSD, TIFF, and JPEG.
  • Drag and Drop: Drag files directly to the job list for on-demand printing

SureColor P800 Designer Edition

The SC-P800 Designer Edition offers full 17-inch wide borderless printing with unique Epson MicroPiezo® AMC™ printhead technology, 8-color UltraChrome® HD inks and advanced media handling, including a sheet feeder, front-in and front-out paper path, and an optional roll holder.

Choose your media and path to print full two-page spreads with bleed and crop marks, or borderless photos with exceptional clarity and sharpness up to 17 x 22 inches on a wide variety of comping, proofing, glossy, matte, and fine art papers.

An ideal printing solution for professional use in a studio or home office, the SureColor P800 Designer Edition uses individual 80 ml high-capacity ink cartridges, and offers exceptional connectivity options, making it easy to print via USB, Wireless n2 or Ethernet.

SureColor P6000 and P8000 Designer Editions

The 24-inch SC-P6000 and 44-inch SC-P8000 Designer Editions feature the latest 8-color imaging technologies, including Epson’s PrecisionCore® TFP® printhead and UltraChrome HD inks.

These printers deliver the extraordinary performance and unparalleled color-matching capabilities required for professional printing jobs.

For comping, proofing, or photographic output, the SC-P6000 and SC-P8000 Designer Editions have advanced media-handling capabilities for a huge variety of roll or cut-sheet inkjet media. The printers can even output graphics on posterboard up to 1.5 mm thick.

If a current design size or workflow requires tiling and splicing individual pages or outsourcing large jobs, the wider 24- or 44-inch devices can output a time-saving single page.

The SC-P800 ($1,495), SC-P6000 ($3,495), and SC-P8000 ($5,495) Designer Editions are currently available through Authorized Epson Professional Imaging resellers.

For more information, visit

About Epson

Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables, and robotics.

Survey on Creative Work Environments Shows Differing Opinions

According to research by The Creative Group staffing firm, managers and employees don’t see eye to eye about the type of office setting that provides the most creative work environment. Creative workers gravitated toward private offices, while managers preferred open-concept offices and cubicles.

In a recent survey, more than 400 advertising and marketing executives responded to this question: “Which of the following workspace arrangements do you think is most conducive to encouraging creativity?”

The executives’ responses were as follows:

  • Open-concept office (unenclosed spaces for multiple people): 36%
  • Cubicle (semi-enclosed workspace for one person): 21%
  • Shared office (enclosed workspace for 2-3 people): 19%
  • Private office (enclosed workspace for 1 person): 18%
  • Remote office (home, coffee shop, etc.): 4%
  • Don’t know: 1%

When 1,000 U.S. workers were asked the same question, their views were different. Many creative workers favored private offices. Here are the responses from the workers:

  • Private office: 36%
  • Open-concept office: 26%
  • Cubicle: 19%
  • Shared office: 14%
  • Remote office: 4%
  • Don’t know: 2%

Creating a Better Space

The Creative Group offers four ideas for creating a more stimulating work environment.

Construct creativity zones. Designate a few areas on the office for brainstorming and impromptu meetings. Stock each space with industry publications and an easel pad to jot down ideas.

Offer private sanctuaries. Provide stations where individuals can work in solitude without distraction. While open floor plans can increase collaboration among employees, some projects require greater focus and concentration.

Build a mood board. Encourage team members to post content they find intriguing to a common wall where others can draw inspiration. Also invite staff to take photos of anything they might want to reference for future projects.

Think outside the office. Hold team meetings in a nearby park, courtyard, or cafe. A change of scenery is sometimes all it takes to spark the imagination.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in connecting interactive, design, marketing, advertising, and public relations talent with companies on a project, contract-to-hire, and full-time basis.

The Creative Group blog features career and management advice such as:

Switching from Graphic Design to UX Design

How Organizational Culture Can Impact Your Career Growth


Research from The Creative Group shows executives and workers differ on ideal work environment for creativity (PRNewsFoto/The Creative Group)
Research from The Creative Group shows executives and workers differ on ideal work environment for creativity (PRNewsFoto/The Creative Group)



Authors on Wattpad Writing Platform Can Earn Cash with In-Story Ads

Wattpad is an online writing platform for the creation and discovery of original stories. The Wattpad community connects more than 45 million people around the world who want to write, read, or comment on serialized stories about the things they love.

Wattpad writers comes from all walks of life. Some are best-selling novelists who want to build their audience. Others are casual writers who share stories for fun.

Every month, more than 2.3 million writers on Wattpad devote countless hours to writing, editing, and engaging with readers around the globe.

You can read Wattpad stories anywhere you go without downloading a PDF. You can also share comments on the story as you read it.
You can read Wattpad stories anywhere you go without downloading a PDF. You can also comment on stories as read.

The founders of Wattpad understand how much effort writers put into their stories every day: “We also recognize that making money from writing can be difficult – especially for online writers.”

So, Wattpad has created another way for writers to increase their earning potential. When ads are strategically placed between chapters of some of the most popular stories on Wattpad, the writer earns money every time a reader views the ad.

“The dynamic Wattpad community is unlike any other social platform. It’s the interconnected community of storytellers and audiences that makes the Wattpad Futures program a viable income source for writers,” said Wattpad’s co-founder and CEO Allen Lau. “Readers have always encouraged their favorite storytellers with messages, comments and votes. Now they can support Wattpad writers in a way that increases the writer’s income without having to pay out of pocket.”

White writers earn money doing what they love, advertisers have the opportunity to connect with millions of engaged, mobile-first Millennials and Generation Z readers.

Wattpad Stars

Writers who succeed in building an audience of readers with stories that go viral can apply for the Wattpad Stars program. Wattpad Stars receive career-building opportunities to see their writing come to life in feature films, publish books, or brand stories.

Wattpad has published tips for writers who want to publish their stories on the platform.


ARt: Augmented Reality to be Featured at Cyberarts Gallery

Although the world is abuzz about Pokémon GO, the first wildly popular game to use augmented reality (AR), artists have been creating AR art for years. To recognize some early adopters of AR technology, the Boston Cyberarts Gallery will present an exhibition entitled “ARt: Augmented Reality.”

The exhibition runs from September 17 through October 30, with an opening reception September 16.

Featured artists include: Joseph Farbrook, John Craig Freeman, Will Pappenheimer, and Zachary Brady.

AR Exhibit - Art-Cyberarts
“Drawing Constellations” by William Pappenheimer with Zachary Brady

Drawing Constellations by Will Pappenheimer, in collaboration with Zachary Brady, is an interactive drawing, installation, and app that uploads drawings to a constantly moving and evolving three-dimensional “constellation” situated outside the Gallery. Upon creating a drawing on a tablet, the user’s 3D drawing is then transferred into 3D augmented reality space, superimposed and sited at the gallery by GPS location.

Defending Virtual by Joseph Farbook is an AR-artwork in which a $100 bill rests on a traditional pedestal, inciting temptation. When viewed through a tablet screen, the bill is defended by a hand holding a gun and making threatening gestures at anyone who gets too close. As money is arbitrarily produced by governments, trade wildly on the stock exchange, and commoditized into debt, what does it currently represent? Both the value of money, and the defense of its value have become entirely virtual. Yet the consequences are often devastatingly real.

Green Street and AR, by John Craig Freeman is a site-specific AR art piece for smartphones and mobile devices. There are particular locations around the world where network activity has become so intense that the virtual world has begun to penetrate into the real world. Objects appear to replicate and float off into the sky. Entire buildings lose their mooring and drift away at the intersection of Green Street and AR.

About Boston Cyberarts

Boston Cyberarts is an umbrella organization for several ventures that focus on new and experimental media. George Fifeld founded it in 1999 with seed funding the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He defines “cyberart” as any artistic endeavor in which computer technology is used to expand artistic possibilities. In cyberart, the computer’s unique capabilities are integral elements of the creative process, in the same way that paint, photographic film, musical instruments, and other materials have always been used to express an artist’s vision.

In 2001, the Boston Cyberarts Festival presented one of the first Augmented Reality artworks in the world. Bruce Campbell from the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Washington showed his BCFlora, a simulator for plant structure created from a virtual plant genome in a Magic Book augmented reality environment.

During the 2011 Cyberarts Festival, Mark Skwarek placed an AR set of invading aliens throughout the Greenway Conservancy, around the Festival headquarters at Atlantic Wharf and across the channel to the Children’s Museum. Plus, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) hosted Manifest AR, an international group of AR artists who placed multiple AR art inside and outside the ICA.

The Boston Cyberarts Gallery supports experimentation in the arts through exhibitions, events, education, and collaboration with like-minded groups. The goal is to foster the development of new practices in contemporary art-making.

Located in the Green Street station on the MBTA’s Orange line in Jamaica Plain, the Boston Cyberarts Gallery is the only art space in the country located in a train station.

The ARt: Augmented Reality exhibition is free and open to the public.


2011: See New Forms of Art at Cyberarts Festival