The “What did you get in the mail today?” thread got me thinking - how much importance do you generally place on product presentation when it comes to legitimizing keyboard purchases?
- Important - “Beautiful, well thought-out packaging makes me think more highly of the product”
- Not Important - “I would rather have the product at a lower cost in a plain cardboard box”
- Indifferent - “It is what it is and doesn’t matter to me”
It is well documented, for example, that Apple (in the interest of maintaining their brand image) thoroughly designs the sensory experience of the unboxing to be as delightful as possible. Off the top of my head, RAMA, Keycult, and Norbauer are examples of keyboard manufacturers who also make notable efforts to take product presentation to the next level.
Seeing as how the unboxing experience is your first impression of a keyboard after waiting weeks or months for it to ship, this makes a lot of sense to me.
That said, I’d also like to play devil’s advocate and present a couple of alternate scenarios in which a fancy unboxing isn’t necessarily indicative of a good experience afterwards - 1) a "cash grab” product using slick marketing to mask its shortcomings and come off as more premium, 2) small-scale designer who wants to make a good product with low margins and may not have the resources to dedicate to nice packaging design.
What do you all think?
I could care less what the unboxing is like, as long as what is inside is not damaged, unless the packaging is not recyclable, at which point I get annoyed.
I agree completely. The packaging doesn’t matter at all except as for it’s functionality in delivering the product to me in its undamaged condition. Any extra money spent on packaging is money that could be better used to make the product better.
Oh some people like gaudy packaging, if they want to do that power to them, I just don’t care, as long as it’s recyclable
I can see where you’re coming from! Do you guys ever keep your boxes when you buy gadgets or do you generally toss them the second they arrive?
My personal vote is yes because it’s meaningful to me when a designer/company goes to great lengths to design as much of the experience as possible.
This spans all the way from my discovering the product via their marketing to identifying with it on a conceptual level, purchasing it, taking it out of the box, living with it, and even selling it when I’m ready to move on to the next thing.
(I say this while often buying things secondhand and sometimes without the original box )
I appreciate good package design, and quite a few products deserve a thoughtful presentation.
That said, if my new [product] comes in a nondescript brown recycled paperboard box I won’t be disappointed as long as the contents are un-damaged and as-expected.
Gateron Caps packaging isn’t thoughtfully designed on the level of Apple or Norbauer’s, but it is an almost silly level of overkill. On the opposite end, the last keyset I got from Signature Plastics was scuffed because they shipped the keys loose in plastic bags with minimal protection.
Somewhere in-between is my happy medium - bonus points if you can make it look nice and complimentary to the product without a significant increase to the environmental impact of your package’s production. Looking at you, Apple.
On the point of eco-friendliness, do you think great packaging (durable and aesthetically pleasing) would make you more inclined to hold onto it rather than throw it away? For example, if the packaging made it convenient to both store and retrieve the keyboard when not in use.
I will keep the box if it serves a purpose. For instance I kept the box from my MT3 susuwatari because it holds the 3 keycap trays for my exta keys not in use even though it is about as basic as boxes get, but did not keep the box for my nk65 entry because it serves no purpose after the original unboxing.
That’s a good way to go about it. The NK65 is actually an interesting example because that nice carrying case they include is inevitably a part of the unboxing experience. It made me think, “Oh wow, this is a nice value add!”
Very true. I was not aware that the 99$ included a carrying case and was very happy when I opened the package to find it. It even fits my durgod hades and Dorp alt, (not at the same time of course) making it a decent all around carrying case.
I guess it depends mainly on how expensive the board is. Even the “fancy” packaging (if not completely over the top, like custom materials and folding which requires re-tooling from the manufacturer or something along those crazy lines) is only a small fraction of the price of an expensive board, while it’s more significant when coupled with the cheap board.
So while I don’t care even if the expensive board comes packaged plainly and cheaply, I do agree with the point that any extra money spend on the packaging could serve purpose better when we talk of, let’s say, <$200 boards and parts (like cases, etc…).
And if I throw it away or not mostly depends on the fact if I have at the moment better reusable method of storing what was in the packaging, not on how fancy the box was. I keep some cheap blank PBT keycaps in their original perfectly plain and cheap packaging, while I tend to throw away or reuse for sending what I’ve sold over r/mm boxes which are more “fancy” and serve the purpose well of protecting the goods in transport (KBDFans boxes for D65 are a good example of that, and I guess for anything they sell which is not base Tofu things these days).
I haven’t been the first owner of any of my boards so I can’t really say. But I appreciate sturdy cardboard boxes that are snug so if I ever have to move on from the board that solves part of my packaging and protection concerns.
For keycaps I also prefer them boxed (epbt abs wob had the worst trays). Aliexpress clone caps seem to have pretty decent packaging so I kept that.
I would rather have the keeb came in a carrying case and the most simplest of boxes then any apple/rama/keycult box.
That said, I usually keep the box if it’s something I would resell.
The stuff I buy a lot, meaning the waste I generate the most, should always be shipped in 100% recyclable and carbon-free biodegradable material. Full stop.
But, the packaging for the $600 keyboard I buy maybe once or twice a year, should be a meaningful demonstration of that vendor’s superior quality, attention to detail, and appreciation for their customer’s continued support. Going above and beyond what’s just “expected” I guess.
This is kind of why we use nice pretty paper to wrap gifts right? Who wants to get their birthday present in a plastic bag?
I don’t think the preferences listed in the poll are mutually exclusive. For example, you can have well thought-out packaging made exclusively out of plain cardboard. You can also have poorly thought-out packaging of premium materials that perhaps serve no function other than an excuse to use premium materials.
Outside of the most important aspect that it must provide sufficient protection during transit, personally, I think the impression that matters most with regards to packaging is - what do I do with this now? I love either highly recyclable packaging, or reusable for another purpose. Recycled? Out of sight and out of mind. Repurposed? Wow - what value! Even the packaging serves a purpose! I hate super premium boxes that serve no additional function because ultimately, I would feel guilty recycling/disposing it and I have to find space to store it or display it.
The absolute worst are DS/3DS/switch cartridges, like that giant piece of plastic is such a giant waste of resources; I always feel bad throwing them away but it’s such a waste of space.
The unboxing experience only happens once…so to me, it’s something I’d forget. I would like it more if most of the packing materials are recyclable.
Still, a cool box doesn’t hurt. I just see it as a bonus.
Unless it’s done really well, I don’t want it.
This resonates with me big time when it comes to buying something I perceive as premium.
I suppose I’m intrigued by attention to detail in design, and the unboxing often happens to be an indicator of that thoughtfulness.