PSI | The Custom Package Design Process + You

What to Expect When Going Custom

Are you ready to make the leap from stock boxes to custom product packaging? While the process of designing custom packaging may seem daunting, we promise the outcome will be worth it.

Plain brown boxes can be an ideal option for many retailers—such as startups, those testing the market, and companies that sell a wide range of products in different shapes and sizes—but for those that want more than just a box or that need packaging that better protects their product from shipping damage, custom is the way to go.

“We’ll be honest: Custom packaging may require a higher up-front investment of both time and money. Buying unprinted, stock-size boxes from a catalog is quick and easy and usually costs less than custom boxes” says Sales Manager, Jimmie Olson.

However, in the long run, you’ll get a much higher return on investment from custom packaging than you do from stock boxes. “The great thing about packaging is that it’s ‘always on.’ Once the investment has been made, it’s all dividends for years,” writes marketing and consumer packaged goods expert Randall Beard in a blog post for Nielsen. “Indeed, once a brand design or logo ‘takes,’ its value often increases with age.”

While custom packaging takes a bit longer to produce than stock boxes, the design process is nothing to shy away from. Here’s what to expect when you go custom:

Analyzing your packaging needs:

The first step we take with every client is setting up a consultation where we’ll discuss your specific packaging needs. Some of the questions we’ll ask you include:

• Is your product uniquely shaped?

• Is your product fragile or hazardous?

• Are you worried about the extra waste your package produces (bubble wrap, paper fillers, etc.)?

• Are your products arriving damaged?

• Are you experiencing any amount of returns that are a direct result of packaging failure?

• What branding message(s) are you trying to convey through your packaging?

• How do you want your customers to feel about your packaging?

• What graphical elements would you like to include?

We’ll also analyze your current packaging, if you have any, to evaluate its cost-effectiveness, stability, and performance. Our thorough package inspection and testing process takes into account not only the functionality of your packaging, but also how it will need to meet your branding and budget needs.

Designing a prototype:

During this part of the process, our graphic designers will handle the creation or alterations of any logos or other graphics, while our structure engineers will build a box to specially fit your product. Once the client approves the structure of the box, we will create a full color mockup and proofs so you can check that the layout and colors are up to par.

Manufacturing your custom boxes:

Once you’ve approved your packaging design, we’ll tackle pre-production tasks including making the die we’ll use to cut the shape of your boxes, blending your inks in our in-house ink kitchen, and making die plates of your graphics that we’ll use on our corrugated presses. Then, it’s on to production. First, we’ll print any graphics or text onto the cardboard and apply a coating to seal the ink. Then, our die-cutting machine will cut the cardboard into the right shape. Finally, during the post-production process, we’ll cut off the excess cardboard, assemble the boxes, and pack them for shipment.

Evaluating your new packaging:

Our job doesn’t end after shipping your boxes. Once you’ve begun using your new packaging, we’ll follow up with you to ask how it performs and whether any tweaks need to be made.

Ready to get started on creating your custom product packaging? Contact us today for a free consultation and packaging analysis.