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THE MAKING OF
THE RADIUS BOX

JUNE 24, 2016
AUTHOR: SWR DESIGN

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“Creating a custom dieline for a made-up box was no easy feat”

SWR swears by technology and innovation. That’s why, for the Radius™ release, we couldn’t settle for typical packaging of any type. We took SWR packaging to a new level, using the triangular and hexagonal patterning that appears throughout the branding.

After searching through endless box types, we realized there just wasn’t a box that existed to satisfy our requirements. That’s when we decided to invent our own box. This meant creating a dieline: the flat template cutout that ensures proper layout for a printed product. Dielines often include small, inconspicuous tabs, tiny notches, and other small design details. Creating a custom dieline for a made-up box was no easy feat.

Round after round, we re-created, re-molded, and re-shaped the dieline, sending back to the printer for a new sample. With each new sample, there were new problems; problems we hadn’t dealt with before. Did the design look good on the outside? Did the cost stay below an astronomical dollar amount? Did it protect the Radius during shipping? No. Dammit. Start again.

After many, many late nights, cups of coffee, and swear words, we finally developed a box just as technologically advanced as the rangefinder inside. It protected the Radius during shipping, and reinforced brand integrity.

“With each new sample, there were new problems”

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Why make your own dieline?

It seems like such a pain in the ass; what are the advantages of going through all the trouble to make your own dieline?

Standard box dielines are often corrugated flap boxes, like moving boxes, or slight variations of. Some have slide-tops, like filing boxes. Some have tops attached at a hinge, similar to pizza box construction. They’re superfluous for practical reasons: they’re strong, cheap, and reliable. Dielines already exist for those boxes and have been used for years on end.

With SWR, we wanted the first run of our first product to show initiative. Creating our own dieline was a team challenge that was exciting to solve. As a team, it pushed us in new creative ways, and the end result only treated us, as designers, and SWR, as a company, well.

We have since altered Radius’ packaging to a more standard dieline, since the hexagonal design required assembling by hand at the tune of 1 hour per box, rendering it impractical. While the designers are sad, it makes the first (now rare) run of Radius boxes even better.