Office Mac 08 packaging: more than meets the eye

Office for Mac 2008 packagingLooks can be deceiving, especially a two-dimensional JPEG image of a three-dimensional object. Sheridan Jones, responsible for group marketing in the Microsoft Mac Business Unit wrote a great comment in response to the Office Mac 2008 packaging image I had blogged about a few days ago. I’m glad she did because she corrected a lot of assumptions I had. It appears the dull brown box is actually an environmentally-friendly metallic silver box. 😉

She writes and I quote,

I think you’ll find the boxes are really beautiful in person, and very Mac-like – for example – the brown color you see is actually metallic silver. The white boxes are actually a deep pearlescent. The blind emboss of the logos adds depth that is hard to show online. The design is very simple, elegant, with more attention to user experience and detail than you can really pick up from the RGB images shown. We’ve tried to take out everything that was superfluous (you won’t find flap after flap of extraneous information on these boxes.) The size will fit perfectly on your bookshelf – the boxes are about the same size as a mid-sized book.

MUCH more important, and what I’m much prouder of, is how much more environmentally friendly these boxes are than our previous boxes, which were thermoformed plastic. Our new boxes are much smaller, and made from recyclable paper rather than the plastic of Office 2004 or Office 2007 for Windows. For every 1000 boxes, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint from Office 2004 substantially. I’ll be talking about this is a future blog posting on

For those who aren’t loving the new boxes yet – check ‘em out when they’re in stores on January 15th – you may change your mind (or not, we’re all entitled to our own sense of design. 🙂 For those who already like them – I think you’ll LOVE the finished product.

I can’t wait to see exactly how much carbon footprint these boxes save compared to the clamshell Vista-generation boxes.

18 insightful thoughts

  1. I think the boxes are generally OK looking.

    Personally, I’ve never seen the point in software boxes (yeah, I know they’re to make your product stand out on the shelves but in this day of e-commerce and what not who needs that?)

    I would be fine with just a CD sleave, or even a download and then I’ll burn my own CD/DVD, and that’d be even more environmentally friendly.

  2. C’mon, RC 🙂

    Seriously, this “carbon footprint” stuff is really important! We have the opportunity to not only make a great looking box that’s easy for customers to use, but make choices (like a smaller box size, paper vs. plastic, less uneccessary “stuff” in/on the package necessitating extra flaps, etc.) so that we use less natural resources. I know carbon footprint sounds like PC buzz-word-of-the-week, but honestly, it’s a real drive here, and a term that encapsulates what we’re striving for – delivering the same great customer experience using less of the world’s precious resources. Smaller box size means we not only use less physical resources like paper, but we use less fuel per package getting it into the channel. I think my initial response the first time I heard “carbon footprint” was also to look around for an eye rolling emoticon, but as I’ve had more of an opportunity to play a role in what “reducing our carbon footprint” really means – I’m honored, excited, and committed to the cause. 🙂

  3. Hmm, Long, your previous post on the Office 2008 box focused on aesthetics instead of being environmentally friendly, strange that you have changed your attitude now that Sheridan responded. Anyway, I have all my Microsoft and Adobe product boxes, I don’t throw away any of them, paid too much money for the product and I am sure the cost of the product is attributed to the box.

    yy, I think Long was referring to the brown swooshing patterns like the Hannah Barbara star at the end of his cartoons. Sheridan, will the Office 2008 disk art be using a holographic surface similar to Office for Windows or the same as before? Again, its just a box, once the software is installed, you will never look on the box unless you need to take out the disk to repair or reinstall the product or reference something on the package or the documentation.

  4. @Andre Da Costa: The environment is far more important than aesthetics, so I’m willing to compromise.

  5. I seem to remember MS making a big deal about how their new Vista packaging was far more eco-conscious than previous editions? Don’t know about the old office packs…

  6. In my opinion, software boxes can be squished down the a small recyclable paper-based CD sleeve. And perhaps a small booklet for all the necessary information, especially with bundled software. Unfortunately companies roll out SUVs of boxes for the sole purpose of strong shelf presence. Along with it, and for the same purpose, more ink is used, dies are made for embossing, multiple layers of gloss finishes – they all add up to a serious strain on environment. Sadly, this is not going to change anytime soon because packaging sells.

  7. How about just offering it as a simple download? Seems much more eco-friendly to me.

    Does the box art really matter anymore. I still do find the Office 07′, and Office 2004 for Macs, are much more appealing though.

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