I'd like to have a run (100+) custom SNES game boxes printed
April 13, 2014 8:55 PM   Subscribe

This is one of the weirder questions I've hopped on here to ask, but I figured if anyone would have the answer, it'd be the MeFi Hivemind. I'm working with a team on a game that was happily funded some time ago. Because its a retro nostalgia-thon, we'd love to offer a limited run of SNES boxes customized to our game. Finding the template was no problem, finding a printer is quite another. We'd prefer to ship them flat, but cut and scored so that when people got them at home, they could just fold and glue and blammo. We're having trouble finding a printer who could meet those needs- All of our previous print experience is in screen/offset/apparel, not in a weird custom job like this. Suggestions or thoughts on how to bring our SNES box to life?
posted by GilloD to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe took a look at who Brotherwise Games worked with for their Boss Monster package? Also for SNES, specifically their expansion box design.
posted by elephantsvanish at 9:00 PM on April 13, 2014

In the same vein as elephantsvanish, so ask the guy making A.N.N.E., Mo Broots. His physical rewards are exactly what you are looking for. I can attest to the quality and likeness to the original thing, at least the packaging.
posted by zabuni at 10:16 PM on April 13, 2014

Look for a printer with full finishing capabilities. They'll need to build a die and cut your piece to spec. This really isn't an oddball job, other than the small quantity.
posted by bucko at 11:06 PM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

As bucko said, this is pretty straightforward and your screen or offset place should be able to point you in the right direction. They'll either offer the finishing service themself, or outsource to another company who specialises in finishing. If your current printing contacts can't help you, they should really reconsider their line of business and the keywords you should use on Google or somesuch are die cutting. The die will be the major expense here and the cost per unit will likely be pretty high due to the short run; get a few quotes to make sure you aren't being given 'go away' prices. Of course, you could keep the die for future projects and amoritise some of the cost that way.
posted by peteyjlawson at 5:09 AM on April 14, 2014

This isn't an odd request. As bucko says, you merely need to find a full-service commercial print shop. I will warn you, though, at a mere 100 boxes, your per-piece final cost is going to be pretty high. You aren't adding any custom print processes, are you? Like foil stamping or metallic ink?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:42 AM on April 14, 2014

Adding in, not oddball at all. But be flexible on your quantity. Honestly, running the press for 1000 will cost nearly the exact same as 100. Yes, you will have lots of leftovers, but this is an industrial process you're asking about, not a handi-craft.

Glue and fold is a hand-time process, so make sure it's known that you're asking for flat. That should keep your quotes accurate. Also consider your shipping costs for flat might be more than for folded.

If your designer doesn't have packaging experience, pay for the printing house's production specialist have a go at the linework for the die. Lots of little details like interior corners need special work, not just a straight line. Expect the cost for casting your die to be $300+. You will own the die, so you can use it in the future/rent it back. It will be good for several tens of thousands of cuts. Your alternative is to find a similar size die that your printing house has in stock. It won't be the exact same dimensions but no one will know and it could save you a good amount of money.

Your alternative is to cut and score them yourself. 100 is not too much for 5-10 people to do in an afternoon. You'll need some exacto blades, folding bones, metal rules (with finger guards), and about 20% overages on your prints. More if you rope some programmers into it. :)
posted by fontophilic at 7:17 AM on April 14, 2014

Could using a laser cutter to the printed sheets be a possibly cheaper option to making a die? No idea about costs, but perhaps if there's a hacker space in your area they might be helpful given the content of your project.
posted by homesickness at 10:33 PM on April 14, 2014

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