Barnes & Noble HD+ Tablet
"The package Uneka developed for the Barnes & Noble NOOK HD+ does more than simply protect and transport - it showcases. This groundbreaking design literally elevates the NOOK HD+ as the consumer opens the box to create a real-world HD experience and an immediate “wow” feeling even before they use the product. This is done via an elegantly simple split-hinged, rigid box and molded pulp that also provides outstanding, yet unobtrusive protection for the tablet. The all-paper solution is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective, while complementing the high-end nature of the device. The sensible, simple, sleek, and unexpected presentation helps set this product apart in a crowded marketplace.
Stand out, fit in, interact, and protect, all in one cost-effective package. For its breakthrough NOOK HD+, Barnes & Noble envisioned interactive packaging that showed the in-your-face, HD experience the tablet offered, before it was even turned on.
After months of design exploration, inspiration struck and a pencil sketch of the concept of a package that lifted the device towards the user when the package opened started the real work. This kind of mechanism had never been done before, the timing was incredibly tight, and the Barnes & Noble green initiative added materials constraints onto the effort.
The Uneka design team had to figure out how to literally lift a one-pound product out of the box, hands-free, and protect it during transport, all using the most eco-friendly materials possible (e.g., no plastic or metal reinforcement). Beyond the concept itself, the tooling and production were challenges due to the novelty of the design and short timeframe before product launch.
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD+ tablet packaging is innovative, effective, and highly impactful. The package lets consumers look at the NOOK HD+ product from a different perspective. Traditionally, exterior packaging visually attracts the buyer, while interior packaging is strictly for protection. Customers have to dig in to a box, just to see what waits inside. Uneka’s solution for the NOOK HD+ tablet lifts the product out of the box and towards the consumer’s hands as soon as the lid is opened. It showcases the HD+ innovation before the device is even turned on.
To accomplish this, our team undertook a full exploration of various engineered lift mechanisms. From fulcrums and pivots to ratchets and battery-operated triggers, we looked at every possibility for elevating this one-pound product. As it turns out, the answer was elegantly simple – a single piece, molded pulp design with three well-placed hinges. Building upon our extensive experience with molded pulp, we were able to eliminate the need for plastic in the design and use environmentally friendly materials that could be produced in mass quantities quickly and on a tight budget.
The final design is a molded-pulp box that doesn’t act like paper. When the lid is lifted, each of the hinge points moves in concert to seamlessly raise the product out of the packaging as if it were on a hydraulic. When closed, the sensitive product is gently returned to place and protected by both the top and bottom of the box. Safeguarding the product without complicating the dramatic visual impact was accomplished by placing the protective tray for the product in the lid. This cushioned the screen and electronics without interfering with the presentation.
The beauty of this package is that it is complex, yet simple, featuring high-tech design, with low-impact materials. It’s like nothing that’s ever been seen before—we created motion without mechanics and made what seemed an impossible ask both possible and beautiful.
Creative Director: Chris Palmer
Designer: Steven Shainwald
Sr. Program Manager: James Balog
Program Manager: Adam Richardson
Creative Director B&N: Peter Farago
Photography: Mark Serr