Packaging is a window into the soul of a brand, wouldn’t you agree? That’s why brands are actively trying to improve their packaging and are focused on custom boxes and their design. Especially since it has become one of the first physical touchpoints between your brand and potential customers (post-COVID-19).
Market saturation makes differentiating yourself from the competition, even if you develop an amazing product, difficult. So, how do you achieve this feat? One of the ways that you can easily set yourself apart is by investing in custom boxes for your products.
Custom packaging helps your brand to establish itself in the market. Furthermore, it assists with brand recall and awareness and helps you connect with more potential customers. That’s not all, though; it offers multiple benefits to the brand. For instance, it can help you to protect your products better while enabling you to cut down on material wastage.
This article will tackle two important aspects of custom boxes’ design; how you customize them and tips for creating the artwork. All set? Let’s begin!
This Is How You Design Custom Boxes
Keep the following in mind when you’re designing graphics for your custom boxes:
1. Begin By Asking The Right Questions
The best way to learn is by asking questions, right? In fact, if you ask enough questions, soon you’ll know more than your peers. The same principle also applies to custom packaging. So, you can start with the following questions and take things from there:
What Is Your Product?
Let’s not forget the primary purpose of packaging, shall we? It is to protect the product. That’s why you should always begin with the product because it will determine the product packaging you’ll use.
Is your product fragile? Will it be subjected to long-distance shipping? What is its size? Will it require any extra support in the custom box packaging?
Who Are Your Customers?
The next phase involves understanding your potential customers purchasing this product. You need to conduct extensive market research to connect with your consumers.
In order to better market to them, you need to understand your key demographics – their occupation, age, income, values, and gender. These factors will help you move in the right direction with your custom box packaging design.
For instance, if your target audience is children, you can use bright and friendly colors. However, this would completely change if you were targeting business founders or corporate employees – corporate gift boxes would be the best option with a matte finish.
Which Medium Are They Using For Purchasing The Products?
The sales platform will have a great influence on your packaging designs. Why? Because if you’re selling products online, you will need packaging that offers excellent protection. On the other hand, if you’re selling items in the store, you can ditch the custom mailer boxes and use cardstock packaging that allows for superb print quality.
When you’re working on custom design boxes, it is important to ensure that your packaging is branded properly. So, you should use your brand’s colors, logo, and fonts to ensure consistency across the board.
For instance, if your brand’s image is cheery and fun, then using dark colors for your custom boxes doesn’t make sense.
Furthermore, always ensure optimal logo placement on your custom packaging. That allows potential customers to link it with your brand more quickly and without any hassle.
3. Don’t Skip On The Essential Elements
Apart from packaging, what’s the other goal that your packaging helps you to achieve? It is to help your target audience understand your product, right?
So, with that in mind, apart from using your brand’s name, logo, and tagline, you should also add a small description of the item to your packaging. This can be achieved by adding a written description that’s packed inside the product or directly printing them onto the box packaging.
This works with various industries. For instance, for custom food boxes, you can add certifications and ingredients onto the packaging to help the customers feel more secure about their purchase. In contrast, you can mention the FDA approval on your medicine packaging for the medicines.
4. Packaging Layers & Their Purpose
Are you confused about how to design box packaging? Don’t worry; once you understand the three layers of custom box packaging, you will be able to design box packaging without any worry:
Outer Packaging – This is the first layer of packaging that any customer or potential customer will be interacting with. In addition, this is also the layer that’s responsible for protecting your product from external elements.
That’s why choosing crucial and relevant elements for its design is important. We strongly recommend that you rely on the branded outer layer to ensure effective brand marketing.
Inner Packaging – This layer of packaging is incorporated to offer another protection tier to your products. This can be bubble wrap, packing peanuts, tissue paper, or crinkle paper.
During transit or retail handling, your product boxes will get stacked and will be jostled. The inner packaging helps cushion the blow and prevent any scuffing or breaking from taking place.
Product Packaging – Finally, the most crucial packaging layer, particularly when selling your products in a store. This packaging will serve as the first impression of your product. Therefore, it has to be appealing and attractive. In addition, you should ensure that it is made of premium quality materials.
5. Choosing The Packaging & Cost Implications
The answer to how much custom boxes cost depends on the kind of packaging you choose. A good benchmark is to take a look at your competitors and understand why they are doing what they are doing.
If you do want to move in a different direction, ensure that you have conducted thorough research to avoid being in harsh waters later.
Another consideration is going to be your budget. If you’re selling products that don’t cost a lot or can’t be classified as luxury items, then opting for cost-effective packaging is the right way to go. Why? Because your customers aren’t expecting something extremely luxurious with their purchase.
On the other hand, investing in luxury packaging is crucial if you are selling high-end premium products. That’s because the customers want their money’s worth and expect a premium experience when they purchase your product. An experience that commences with your product packaging.
6. Conduct Research With Focus Groups
Before you finalize any custom boxes design, it is absolutely critical that you get feedback on your custom boxes.
You should get feedback from your current customers and also have focus groups interact with and provide feedback on your custom packaging design.
This will help you make tweaks and get rid of any elements that may put potential customers off.
7. Always Seek Professional Advice
Do you want to create the perfect custom box design? Then, you should hire a professional designer to ensure that you’re employing the best possible practices and aren’t making any mistakes.
A professional designer has the knowledge and expertise to design graphics for your custom boxes. In addition, we strongly recommend that you ask for color codes from the designer to ensure that you don’t end up messing them up when you’re tweaking the design.
Another thing to keep in mind is to get the design files in the correct format. This will help you avoid a lot of headaches later.
Learn How To Prepare Artwork For Custom Boxes
Gone are the days when you were simply limited to working with brown and boring packaging boxes. Nowadays, you can easily use custom boxes thanks to the advances in technology for your products.
However, crafting the right kind of artwork for your custom packaging is a science and must be treated as such. If you’re not sure about how to approach the artwork creation for your custom product boxes, then continue reading:
Understanding File Format
There are primarily two kinds of graphics that are used for custom design boxes:
- Raster Graphics
- Vector Graphics
They are pixel-based. Images are formed by grouping together small points of color. However, when you zoom into them, they start to become pixelated (block-ish). So, if you try to enlarge raster graphics, they will end up losing their detail and sharpness.
The common formats for them are GIF, PNG, and JPEG. In addition, they are generally used for printed pictures and website images.
These graphics are path-based. Lines and shapes are formed by connecting points together using math. As a result, regardless of how much you zoom in, they retain their sharpness and shape.
This renders them scalable; thus, they are used for creating branding materials, logos, and non-photographic artwork. The commonly used formats for vector graphics are EPS, AI, and SVG.
Do keep in mind that if you’re using raster artwork for your custom boxes, you will need the file in as high resolution as possible. On the other hand, if you’re using vector artwork, you can easily print what you see on screen regardless of the resolution.
Which Color Mode Are You Using?
It’s important to understand the difference between color modes. We’ll be discussing two over here:
- RGB Color Mode
- CMYK Color Mode
RGB Color Mode
When you’re displaying images on screens, you’re using RGB (red, green, and blue) color model. Any color can be created by varying their quantities in a mix using a light source. This particular process is called additive mixing. The colors begin as completely black on a screen, and then the three colors are added, leading to pigmentation and brightening. If you mix these three colors equally, you’ll end up with absolute white.
Oh, and by the way, did you know that the human eye sees in RGB? It absolutely does!
CMYK Color Mode
When you’re printing images onto a material, the color mode used is CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). Then, the printer works by mixing these four colors to create the desired outcome. This way of mixing is known as subtractive mixing.
As you can imagine, the color begins as white, and then by adding layers of the four colors, the brightness gradually decreases as you approach the desired color. If you mix all four colors equally, you will end up with absolute black.
If you’re designing for screens, we recommend that you use RGB. On the other hand, if you’re designing for print, use CMYK. Keep in mind that PMS color mode is also used for printing.
Have You Figured Out Your Image Resolution?
DPI stands for dots per inch and measures the number of pixels rendered in an inch of an image. A higher DPI leads to more details and colors and will result in a sharper print.
The screen resolution that is used for images and graphics on the internet is 72 DPI. However, it is a low resolution and is definitely not recommended for printing since it will lead to blurry prints. But, it does lead to a smaller file size that can be easily stored, uploaded, and downloaded.
The print resolution is 300 DPI or higher. It is generally used for photographs and magazines. This resolution leads to sharp prints but a bigger file size that requires more storage space and increased download and upload times.
So, you should have 72 DPI if you’re designing for screens and 300 DPI when you’re designing for prints.
Which Format Are You Using For Fonts?
What are fonts? They are tiny files that live in your computer and help display symbols, alphabets, and numbers in different styles and looks.
When you’re preparing your files for printing, the format of fonts becomes quite crucial. Do you know why?
That’s because the printing company might not have a particular font. As a result, your custom packaging artwork might not get printed out the way you want it to, and that can cause issues. The way to fix that is by outlining your fonts.
When the fonts are ‘outlined,’ they become shapes that don’t require any font file for rendering them. This is a better way to submit your custom boxes artwork as opposed to keeping your fonts live or editable.
With outlined fonts, your custom artwork gets printed exactly how you intended. However, this implies that you won’t be able to go back and make changes to the font or text. That’s why keeping an editable copy of your custom packaging artwork is always a good idea to make things easier.
Having Troubles? Hire Professionals!
It’s always recommended to reach out to a professional for such tasks. Why? Because otherwise, you run the risk of ending up with custom packaging artwork that looks weird, is of poor quality, or is messed up.
However, when you procure the services of a professional, you can rest assured knowing that all nitty gritty details are taken care of, and the risk of mistakes is minimal.
It is important to understand that custom packaging artwork or custom box design may take time and effort. However, when executed properly, it can lead to incredible results.
It is a known fact that the custom boxes design plays a crucial role in your branding and whether your packaging will be able to entice potential customers. That’s why it is important to give it due time and energy.
However, even when you’re focused on it, things are highly likely to go south. To prevent that, it is recommended that you reach out to a professional packaging company that can handle it for you.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!