Union & Scale Workplace Furnishings Packaging System
by Jessica Deseo on 01/15/2021 | 5 Minute Read
The Union & Scale brand competes head-to-head with leading global office furniture and decor companies by offering an on-trend premium product at an accessible price for businesses and direct-to-consumer transactions.
The Union & Scale product design language advances the goal of harmony in the lived experience of a well-conceived office space. Design themes are expressed through collections that balance the brand’s work-life solutions with the needs of the businesses we support, the culture our customers are building, and the growth stage of the company.
The brand considers its packaging system, which supports its integrated supply chain and choreographs its customers’ receipt, unboxing, and first use experience, to be a critical first of the value proposition of the Union & Scale products themselves.
The project began with a rigorous process to capture functional specifications for the packaging across the supply chain. Working closely with warehousing colleagues in our Distribution Centers and shipping colleagues in our Fulfillment Centers we defined the design criteria for packages of all sizes and configurations.
This project involved the development of a packaging guide that could scale to support the entirety of the Union & Scale line. The team’s approach was to apply the same holistic process and design rigor that underpins the development of Union & Scale furnishings to its packaging — the first expression of the product experience to follow.
The requirements capture also included deep dives with our cross-functional product development and marketing partners to understand prevailing best practices for furniture sold at a similar price point. We also sought out opportunities to prioritize package experience upgrades that would make the Union & Scale offer comparable to those of competitive products sold at up to 10X the Union & Scale price.
Our packaging strategy ultimately pursued four goals: ensure structural integrity, optimize exterior labeling for fulfillment and distribution center needs, project bold and clear Union & Scale branding throughout the journey, and deliver an unboxing experience unmatched at this price point.
Our research confirms that furnishings are seen as a foundational business investment. And that packaging is a critical indicator of value. So whether purchased at a retail store, shipped directly to a customer’s office via a commercial purchase carrier, or delivered directly to a customer’s business or home following an online purchase, we agreed the first encounter with a Union & Scale package should create a moment.
The box exterior, which serves as both shipping container and secondary customer packaging, is constructed from rugged kraft corrugate. The material is a response to the project criteria to leverage eco-friendly materials. Thoughtful interior folds (“corrugami” as it were) create 3D structures that position and secure parts in transit and also stage unboxing steps.
A full-color adhesive labeling system that wraps to two sides provides essential information for managing in-transit tracking and confirmations. Directional arrows confirm the orientation for touchpoints from warehouse to delivery.
Exterior panels all feature the iconic ampersand from the Union & Scale brand identity. Large, bold, and white, the mark is visible from across a room, showroom, or warehouse. When multiple boxes are stacked or aligned, packages can be configured to create full ampersands from partial ones printed in wraparound configurations on the boxes.
To become a market leader across its retail, e-commerce, and commercial channel businesses, the Union & Scale design team understood it would need to define and execute a packaging design language that instilled trust with customers and built equity in the brand. Capturing mindshare is particularly challenging in the office furnishings category, where contract and designer suppliers command significant price premiums.
The box interior features a flood of color across all surfaces, a vibrant packaging gesture rarely seen at this price point. The colors are aligned with each collection in the portfolio and matched to the assembly guide and other in-box messaging. All tools and parts are clearly labeled and aligned with callouts in the set-up guide for easy assembly.
Because Union & Scale took the time to think about how the new furniture delivery day experience could and should unfold, its packaging system creates an event that is less like opening a box and more like rejuvenating the day-to-day work experience.
Die-cuts reveal edges on the hinged panels that consumers are directed to open. This cue stages the presentation of the first panel inside that features the collection name of the product inside, confirming receipt of the item ordered.
The solution also responds to the work-from-home realities created by the initial months of the pandemic and the emerging realities of the post-pandemic period. The friendly and accessible purchase experience that Union & Scale developed to support its contract office customers is equally welcoming to consumers building out their home offices for the work ahead.
The graphics system scales seamlessly across packaging formats and can grow as the line expands to support new products and collections.
This packaging system reflects the Union & Scale belief that even growing businesses, who may be shopping price-value for their growing organization, deserve the same thoughtful customer experience as any furniture buyer in the category. New furniture and décor purchases for an office are a tangible sign that the business is healthy, and you are a valued member of the team.
- Designed By: Staples Inc.
- Credits: Dan Reilly, Ryan Crowley, Kris Lonergan, Brian Cusack, Logan Steinfeld, Jessica Hedge, Evan Hutker
Annie International Inc.