How Sonos and Veritiv raised the bar on premium, sustainable packaging

Creating a Roam unboxing experience

Photo of Sonos Roam packaging

Developing premium packaging has all too often required making sacrifices with sustainability, but Sonos, the world’s leading sound experience company, is proving the two can go hand in hand. By partnering with Veritiv, Sonos designed and executed a refined, environmentally responsible package for their new Roam speaker that delivers moments of joy for customers, along with accolades and bottom-line results for their business.

The challenge: redefine high-end, recyclable packaging

The launch of Roam presented an opportunity for Sonos to challenge themselves to create a more intimate unboxing experience for this new, smaller speaker and make the packaging curbside recyclable. While Sonos has a team of world-class packaging designers and engineers in house, they knew that meeting these objectives and the deadlines for Roam’s package would require additional capabilities, ideas and capacity.

The process: co-creating from end-to-end

  • Discovery & Ideation
    After meeting with Sonos to thoroughly understand their goals, requirements and constraints, Veritiv’s experts dove deep into development mode, sketching and brainstorming as a cross-disciplinary team. Packaging designers, industrial designers, engineers and sales specialists came together to develop creative yet achievable concepts that would align with Sonos’ customer experience, sustainability goals, budget and manufacturing capabilities.
  • Packaging Design
    As Veritiv and Sonos worked through the material selection and design process, their teams co-created every step of the way. “We’re not only building the packaging journey—we’re on the journey with them,” says Ai Hayata, Design Project Manager at Veritiv. Each team developed a few designs independently, came together to share ideas, then mixed and matched features to evolve certain concepts even further.
  • Prototyping and Materials
    Next, the designers took the strongest designs into CAD, cut samples and met regularly (often daily) with each other and Veritiv’s Asia-based team to compare designs and confirm manufacturability. Veritiv’s experts also leveraged their material-neutral approach to identify innovative substrates, including alternatives to plastic and foam, that would reduce environmental impact while maintaining protection and delivering a premium experience.
  • Engineering & Testing
    As Roam’s product design and the most promising packaging concept were refined, the teams moved into full development. The chosen concept went through a trial production run with Sonos’ manufacturer in China at the same time as the Roam product. After each trial, Sonos’ team fully tested and reviewed the product and packaging, shared the results with Veritiv and iterated on improvements together until the package fully met the desired goals and standards. 

Photo of an unboxed Sonos Roam

The solution: a packaging experience that delivers delight in every detail

As Roam hit the market, remarkable reviews started pouring in — not only about the speaker, but also about its packaging. People noticed how every aspect, from the individual materials to the entire unboxing experience, was carefully crafted for joy and sustainability.

  • Premium, uncoated kraft paper
    100% sustainably sourced (FSC®-certified) paper for the outside liner on the box and document folder, which negates the need for plastic laminates. Paper fibers were used for almost every element of Roam’s box—96% based on weight, to be exact. 
  • Recyclable molded fiber 
    After testing multiple blends, this molded fiber met a unique need: a specific paper blend of bagasse (sugar cane), bamboo and tree fiber that is not only recyclable, but also matches the carton color to add to the Sonos experience and align with the company’s design language.
  • Secure, yet easy-to-open tear labels
    Sonos wanted to use kraft paper for Roam’s tear labels due to its reduced environmental impact. To address potential challenges, Veritiv tested more than eight dielines and materials to develop a kraft-based tear strip to hold Roam’s box tightly closed during shipping while being easy to open upon arrival. 
  • Blending manufacturability and sustainability
    Sonos worked with Veritiv’s packaging team to design a telescoping, corrugated rigid box that can be consistently mass produced, enabling Sonos to keep up with demand while delivering a functional experience for customers with minimal waste. 
  • Offset printing and tactile design elements 
    A colorful, tactile visual design system that stands out from the sea of black-and-white palettes dominating the tech industry. Veritiv and Sonos collaborated on over a dozen printing trials, eventually selecting an offset printing technique that makes the package colors pop and that aligns with Roam’s visual identity.

The results

By working in harmony from ideation through manufacturing over the course of 20 months, Sonos and Veritiv co-created an innovative package that delivers multiple moments of joy for consumers and raises the bar on sustainability.

Customers and industry experts alike are raving over the memorable unboxing experience, attention to detail and reduced environmental impact of the packaging. In fact, the Sonos team estimates that the redesigned packaging will remove 62,000 kilograms of plastic from the company’s supply chain within the first calendar year alone — all without compromising the lasting impressions Sonos is known for.

“We wanted the unboxing to feel like it’s your birthday,” says Michelle Enright, Head of Packaging Experience at Sonos. “But the beauty of Roam’s packaging is that we didn’t need to sacrifice other priorities to achieve that. By making a few strategic trade-offs, we were able to get what we’d always dreamed of.”  


Click here for more information about the Sonos Roam project, download the case study, or to contact Veritiv.