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Portland, OR 97217
United States


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Ten Sustainable Packaging Tips

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We’ve seen an increase in client requests for sustainable packaging over the past year.

What is sustainable packaging?

These are a few of the attributes of sustainable packaging, according to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a membership-based collaborative:

  • Is beneficial, safe, and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle
  • Meets market criteria for both performance and cost
  • Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
  • Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials

Visit the Sustainable Packaging Coalition website to see the full list of green packaging attributes.

Sustainable packaging approaches

Looking at the sustainable packaging work we’ve done for our clients, most can be grouped into one of these categories:

  • Use materials that are curbside recyclable
  • Use materials that the receiver can re-use
  • Create or use fewer materials
  • Eliminate or minimize production process waste

Here’s a list of 10 ways you can practice sustainable packaging.

1. Box within a box? Eliminate the outer box.

Recently, Premier Press created new student welcome kits for the University of Oregon. The kits contained a number of branded items, which were personalized with the student’s name:

University of Oregon Welcome Box Swag

If the box holding the welcome kit materials is not sturdy enough, brands will often place it inside another box. Being more sturdy, the function of the outer box is to ensure safe transport.

In this project, Premier Press made the welcome kit sturdy enough to ship without the risk of damage. No need for an outer box! And less packaging material used:

UO Duck Welcome to the Flock! Box

2. Use void fill paper instead of peanuts

Looking to secure fragile items inside the box? “Peanuts” are a material commonly used for this purpose. The problem is that some plastic peanuts (and worse, styrofoam peanuts) are not curbside recyclable, which means that they must be disposed of via landfill.

crinkle paper sustainable packaging
Photo credit: Uline

Try using void fill crinkle paper, which is curbside recyclable. Premier Press has used crinkle paper from Uline for some projects to make environmentally friendly packaging.

3. Avoid “sample waste” in influencer marketing campaigns

Many influencer marketing campaigns involve sending influencers an array of product samples for them to test and try out. If influencers try only 10% of the samples, that means that 90% of the influencer package was wasted.

This happens a lot with “beauty influencers,” where samples of eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara may never be used due to preference, skin color match or other factors. One solution to this challenge is to send customized packages that incent the influencer to try a higher percentage of the samples. Another idea is to provide options for the influencer to return or donate the unused samples.

In some of the influencer campaigns they manage for clients, Premier Press asks influencers to select colors of beauty products they’d like to sample. They are then sent the selected colors, with a few additional selections the company wants to highlight.

4. Avoid acrylic for securing items

Acrylic is a transparent plastic that is frequently used to secure items within the packaging because it’s easy to fabricate. Acrylic is not recycled easily, however, and often cannot be curbside recycled.

Instead, use corrugated cardboard or other recyclable materials to secure items inside the packaging. Here are examples created by Premier Press where the packaging elements are 100% curbside recyclable:

sustainable packaging murad beauty sleep
sustainable packaging milk do your skin

5. Select green packaging elements that the consumer can re-use

Let’s think outside the box, shall we?

What if we were to use packaging elements that consumers can use in their everyday lives? On one Premier Press project, the client placed shipped items inside a branded tote bag. The bag became a reusable item that consumers then used for shopping or for transporting items from place to place!

6. Use laminates that are curbside recyclable

In general, the laminate film that adheres to paper is not curbside recyclable. The paper must be separated from the laminate in order for the paper to be recyclable. With most laminate, however, this is hard to do.

Check with your provider of laminating films and equipment. According to one Premier Press partner, 1.5 mil laminate is curbside recyclable. In addition, a company called NoW Technology has created laminated papers that it claims are recyclable and sustainable.

7. If you must use plastic, ensure it’s curbside recyclable

China has created ripple effects throughout the world of recycling as it is no longer accepting the world’s plastic.

Premier Press’ recycling partners now only accept clear and transparent plastics for recycling. All other types of plastic are not accepted. If you must use plastic in your packaging, do research to determine which types of plastics have a higher likelihood of acceptance by curbside recycling companies.

8. Use printing equipment that creates less waste

According to Premier Press’ Feryn, conventional offset printers can produce a lot of waste. For example, offset printing presses typically require printing up to 400 sheets in order to get up to the correct color. If a customer’s order is for 400 sheets, the result is 50% paper waste.

Newer technologies, such as digital offset and inkjet printers and wide-format printers, do not require set-up sheets. These digital technologies provide offset quality printing with zero set-up waste. With a digital press, a 400-sheet order requires zero set-up sheets.

9. Choose partners and providers who practice sustainability

Shipping a package comprises an entire supply chain, so there’s more to sustainability than the packaging itself. Find partners in the supply chain with comprehensive sustainability practices.

For instance, Premier Press is documented and audited as a sustainable printing company and operates as a 100% wind-powered business. Premier Press was certified as the West Coast’s first Full-Service Printer by the Sustainable Green Partnership (SGP) and uses low environmental impact materials for maximum recycling and recovery.

According to Chris Feryn, President, Premier Press, “As an avid hiker and backpacker, I’m passionate about protecting the environment. At Premier Press, our goal is to be a forerunner in the battle for true sustainability. We look for partners who share the same commitment to the environment. I’m happy to see the growing interest from our customers in sustainable packaging.”

10. Create a sustainable packaging initiative in your industry

Spearhead sustainability initiatives by leading the way in your industry.

SPICE is an initiative that aims to shape the future of sustainable packaging in the cosmetics industry. SPICE stands for Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics and was co-founded in 2018 by L’Oreal and Quantis, an environmental sustainability consulting firm.

According to the press release announcing its creation, “The initiative now counts 11 current members, including cosmetics companies such as L’Oréal, Clarins Group, Coty Inc., LVMH or Shiseido, who will work together to develop and publish business-oriented methodologies and data to improve the environmental performance of the entire packaging value chain.”

Learn more at the SPICE website.

A TEDx collaboration that put Portland on the map.

The offspring of the world-famous TED talks, TEDx events are independently organized local events all over the globe. This is the story of a Portland-grown partnership that has made our town’s TEDx different from all the others.

In 2013, its third year in existence, TEDxPortland was already a success. They’d doubled the attendance over the first two years, sold out in a week, and had moved to a larger space.

But when cofounder/curator/host David Rae was leaving the venue, he was disappointed to see that people had left their event programs behind. In the trash.

As he was mulling over the problem, he happened upon a beautiful hardbound Nike year-in-review product book, and asked what world-class company had produced it. The answer was Premier Press. A family-owned business right here in Portland, Oregon.

David arranged to meet with us and see our facility. When he described his grand, pull-out-all-the-stops ambition for the upcoming event book, we realized what our partnership could mean. As sponsors, we had the opportunity not only to support, but to be a tangible part of an event we loved. So we said, “Let’s do it.”  

And we did. TEDx and Premier Press, together with design firm Enjoy the Weather, created a 160-page book so extraordinary that it won the prestigious 2014 Benny Award.

Since then, we’ve tried to outdo ourselves every year, using all our best materials, techniques, and technologies. But it’s not only a thing of beauty to cherish; it’s a way to keep the TEDx inspiration alive. The book has ample space for note-taking so people can go back and reflect on the impressions they had at the time.

One year there was an indented section in the book – and A-to-Z guide to Portland with a perforated checklist on heavy stock. Attendees have taken up the habit of collecting autographs from the speakers on their respective bio pages. And this year’s book includes a blank postcard, on which attendees can write a letter to their future selves, drop it off as they leave the event, and receive it in the mail next year.

David says, “This book is a treasure. When you receive it at the beginning of the event, it sets the tone for a first-class, one-of-a-kind experience. Each year, you can add a new volume to your library. And afterwards, for years to come, it’s something you can pick up, touch, feel, reread, and be transported back to an experience in your own personal history. That’s something you’re not going to do on Instagram.”

“This book is a treasure. When you receive it at the beginning of the event, it sets the tone for a first-class, one-of-a-kind experience.”

David Rae

Now in the 7th year of our partnership, David says:

“We’re so lucky to have the whole team at Premier. Their level of professionalism is incredible. My production manager, Andy Gordon, answers my emails at 1am, and is my operational magician. I call him ‘Commissioner Gordon.’

“Account director Eric Farrara is my caped crusader. And none of it could happen without the support of the ownership team, Juli Cordill and Joni Feryn. Over the years, we’ve become like family. I can say with supreme confidence that there’s no other TEDx event in the world that does what we do here in Portland with Premier Press. Not New York, not Tokyo, not Milan. Not even the original ‘Big TED’ organization in Vancouver, B.C.”

That said, any city that wants to copy us is more than welcome to do so.

After all, that’s what TED is all about: ideas worth spreading.

Premier Press Highlights Influencer Marketing Packaging at LUXEPACK, Los Angeles

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We are excited to announce that Premier Press is exhibiting our Influencer Marketing and product launch seeding kit capabilities at LUXEPACK’s Los Angeles trade show.

LUXEPACK is the premier business to business tradeshow dedicated to luxury packaging and is returning to LA for it’s 2nd edition February 27-28.

Premier will be among 75 packaging providers with expertise in glass, sustainable packaging, influencer packaging, displays, promotional items etc. We are eager to showcase our innovative packaging solutions.

Premier will be showing a variety of influencer marketing and product launch seeding kits for premium brands like SmashBox, Red Bull, Nike, adidas, and Clif Bar.

Creative packaging that is as innovative and exciting as the product itself.
See more images of this project.
PUMA Golf’s NXT Gen Footwear Seeding Kit
See more images of this project.

During 45 years in business Premier Press has evolved into a powerhouse creative production company. We work with clients to create custom packaging, branded environments, and retail graphics to make their brands stand out.

If you’re in the area come see us at Booth E01!

Learn more about LUXEPACK Los Angeles or register for the show.

Take a look at at more of our Custom Packaging Projects.

Digimarc Digital Codes as Signal Rich Art

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Digimarc works with retailers and consumer packaged goods companies—including New Seasons Market—to transform product packaging and print pieces into connected media that can be scanned by phones and retail barcode scanners.

Yet Digimarc wanted to share a new vision and inspire the design community with future possibilities. The design concept is Signal Rich™ art and they turned to Premier Press to help make a splash at the biggest design gathering on the planet, Adobe MAX in Los Angeles, and hold the first-ever exhibition of Signal Rich art.

With Signal Rich art (not yet commercially available), the code is inherent in the design. The artwork contains a number of codes repeated throughout the artwork. In essence, the code is the art.

Digimarc Signal Rich Art Code

Digimarc needed the art to cover eight large booth panels. Premier used its HP Latex 3000 large-format printer to print eight separate versions of the artwork. The 10 ft. x 8 ft. artwork was printed and shipped to Los Angeles where professional installers applied it to the panels at Adobe MAX.

Digimarc’s event marketing team was busy preparing for the show, and appreciated how Premier Press was able to complete the project in just a week and a half from start-to-finish (including proofing time).

Digimarc Barcode

digimarc rich art StippleSRA

Along with pioneering Signal Rich art, Digimarc offers Digimarc Barcode, an imperceptible barcode for commercial print and product packaging. Consumers can scan a poster or a box of cereal to get coupons, prizes or additional product information. Unlike a QR code or UPC barcode, Digimarc Barcode is a part of the art file. Companies like Campbell’s, Barilla and Golf Magazine use Digimarc technology to link consumers from print to digital experiences.

We see Digimarc Barcode offering cutting-edge technology at a great value. For example, we can add the code to virtually any marketing asset, and integrate with our online portal to easily initiate a reorder by scanning the asset using a phone or other mobile device. Retail customers could reorder in-store graphics; field sales reps could reorder sales collateral. Talk to your Premier sales rep for more ideas.

To find out more about Digimarc’s technology, and get your first Digimarc Barcode for free, contact Digimarc’s Paul Vorvick at Paul.Vorvick@digimarc.com.

Premier Press Grows Services and Capacity with JTW Acquisition

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Expanded capacity and capabilities allow customers to rely on us for more services, without needing to manage as many outside vendors. We’ll be able to produce more work, faster, and handle more kinds of projects in-house.

We’re excited to announce that Premier Press and JTW Partners, previously known as Ivey Performance Marketing, are combining forces in an acquisition that capitalizes on the strengths of both companies.

During our 44-plus years in business, our industry has seen transformative changes — and so has Premier Press — as we’ve evolved from a traditional commercial printer into a powerhouse creative production company. We’ve always fostered a culture of continuous improvement, allowing us to adapt and thrive in the face of change and looking for ways to improve the services we provide. Folding in JTW’s expert team and capabilities into our services is the latest step to providing the best creative production anywhere.

Growing Stronger, Together

Like Premier, JTW’s roots go back more than four decades and has a solid reputation for providing exceptional, customer-focused marketing services. There are many synergies in our customer base and services, so together, we see a great opportunity to grow while providing clients of both companies with a broader range of services. All under one roof.

Expanding our Capacity and Capabilities

In addition to new equipment that expands production capacity, JTW brings new design and production capabilities to Premier Press, including:

  • State-of-the-art photography studio
  • Commercial photographers, stylists and production artists with prototyping and post-production retouching expertise
  • Expanded wide format capabilities, including dye sublimation printing for premium printing on fabrics
  • Expanded creative, concepting and project management teams

Our new expertise, expanded capacity, and increased capabilities mean allows Premier Press customers to rely on us for more services, without having to manage as many outside vendors. We’ll be able to produce more work, faster, and handle more kinds of projects in-house.

We will also be bringing many of JTW’s employees on board, including client services representatives and other key resources. The acquisition went into effect as of November 1. We expect to have all employees and operations under one roof at our Portland facility before the end of 2018.

Looking for an innovative approach to your creative production challenges? Get in touch!

Unique Converse Promotion Drives Influencer Marketing Video

The way any idea is presented can make all the difference between success and failure. We are excited to have helped Nike’s Converse brand create this very unique package that generated tons of excitement when sent out to influencers. View the video to see what happens when you wrap four shoe coupons into a memorable package.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E98FatdqyQw (video no longer available)

Putting four coupons in an envelope may have helped nurture customer loyalty but it would not have generated the excitement that leads to this type of evangelism.

If you have a product launch or other initiative coming up, contact us to talk to our creative team to see what we can do to make your product stand out.

Sustaining Print Excellence

It’s not the Rolling Stone, but we’re excited to be the cover store for the November edition of Printing Impressions magazine, the most widely read resource for the printing industry.

They covered almost every aspect of Premier Press, including:

  • Our customer focused approach that includes brainstorming during the creative process, R&D, and cradle-through-delivery service
  • Leadership in sustainable printing and manufacturing
  • Our new 350,000-square-foot manufacturing facility
  • The wide variety of offset, digital, and wide format printing and finishing processes that allow us to quickly turn around complex customer projects.
  • G7 Master Printer processes that allow consistent color and quality across the range of our printing technologies.
  • Being a family owned business

Read the entire article (PDF).

Premier Press Named Oregon Manufacturer of the Year

We’re honored and excited to be selected as the Oregon Manufacturer of the Year in the 100-500 employee category by the Portland Business Journal. The continuous improvement program we initiated two years ago, with the help of the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Program, has transformed our culture. All of our employees feel enabled, and expected, to find ways to continuously improve our processes.

The move into our new home on Swan Island hasn’t hurt either. With all of our equipment, warehousing, and employees under the same roof we’ve enjoyed a tremendous increase in internal communications, and we’ve reconstructed our workflows to allow more efficient production. Stop by if you haven’t seen our world class manufacturing facility yet.

Read more about us and all the reward winners in the Portland Business Journal article, or jump straight to this photo and caption about Premier Press.

High-Tech Printing Still In Demand

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Joseph Gallivan from the Portland Tribune recently paid us a visit in our Pearl District headquarters. While he came to talk about our upcoming move to Swan Island, what he ended up enthralled with was the the wide range of services we do for our clients. He touched on everything from wide format retail graphics, custom boxes for high end promotions, custom books, to our impressive equipment like large format printers, Zund router, and six color offset presses.

Read the entire article here

Appetizers, Drinks, and Awareness

Wieden and Kennedy opened up their doors to the Pearl for August’s First Thursday to display Portland Design Museum’s exhibit of Green Patriot Posters.  Graphic and striking visual reminders of the precarious position global warming presents, the Green Patriot Posters were commissioned to bring environmental awareness, educate and invoke response from the public. The creative work from 50 designers is displayed in the W&K gallery. Each poster is a thought provoking and creatively designed message shedding light on a dirty situation.

The Green Patriot Posters were printed sustainably at Premier Press using VOC-free UV ink, 100% wind powered and carbon free footprint. The art is directly printed onto Eco board, a substrate which is 98-100% post-consumer recycled material. No plastic laminate was used. It is 100% recyclable. Equipment and process along with materials is critical in the #sustainableprint equation. Premier Press is certified green by SGP, Sustainable Green Printing Partnership. This certification requires ongoing third party audits and continuous improvement in sustainability through manufacturing best practices, social responsibility and public education to reduce environmental impact.

The evening was entertaining as well as enlightening. Drinks were served alongside amazing appetizers provided by Devil’s Food Catering. It was an evening of meeting and talking to people who care about the environment, enjoy great graphic design and were affected by the ecological messages communicated through art, and were in good Portland form, fun to hang with.  The exhibit is running now until September 26th.  Stop by. Check it out.  Share what you see. Make the difference.