How-to: Cost-Effective Premium Box

Due to the growing demand for luxury goods and the increasing competition for niche markets, it’s a no-brainer that opting for a premium box is the right direction.

According to packaging authority Smithers Pira, the luxury packaging market is steadily growing by 4.4% per year, and paperboard accounts for 42% of luxury packaging materials.

Not only catering to the luxury and premium industries, but premium packaging can also benefit your presentation and promotional needs in any industry.

Many businesses prefer the option of a premium box. However, when the cost comes into the equation, it can be very disheartening – especially for smaller and medium-sized businesses.

This guide will shed some light by providing you with a step-by-step how-to, tackling the process of putting together high-end packaging for your luxury products in the most cost-effective way possible!

See also: 4 Ways You Can Create Affordable Premium Packaging Without Using Rigid Material


Clear Specifications

To start, make sure to collect your product and estimated box measurements, projected quantity, and project objective in place. Why?

This is the information most commonly required to provide you with a quotation. The clearer your information, the quicker you’ll receive a quote!

If you’re looking for the most cost-effective option, a packaging specialist can determine what elements need to be changed, altered, and/or added, based on your specifications.

See also: 5 Steps For Preparing Your First Customized Packaging

Planning in Advance

As with all successful projects, producing high-quality packaging requires giving yourself and your manufacturer enough time. Your premium box may take about 20-30 days to produce.

Constructing these types of boxes requires meticulous work and a highly skilled operation team to develop them at the optimal result.

Knowing Your Budget

This is an important step that shapes the trajectory of your project.

With your budget dialed in, you can finalize the scope of your packaging, know your limitations, and minimize delays in your design.

Now that you have a better idea of how to prepare for your premium box let’s get to the fun part!

Types of Styles

When it comes to packaging styles, there are several options you can choose from:

Magnetic/Hinged – This style offers a simple and effective unboxing experience. Made from substantial greyboard material, the sound and feel of a magnetic hinged lid closure elicit an impression of luxury.

Two Piece – The “iPhone Box Effect” or classic gift-opening experience. A premium two-piece box is held together by friction, adding to the anticipatory excitement while unboxing.

Drawer Style – The drawer style box is another effective way to create unboxing suspense. This box slides out to present products and is popular for its strength and appealing look, which means it will stand out on shelves.

Custom Shapes – Custom structures give you the edge of creating a packaging that sets you apart from your competitors. The unique shape also helps convey your branding much more directly.

Collapsible – A collapsible box can have the same elements of a magnetic box, but this box can be folded into a flat structure. Collapsible structures help keep costs low while still maintaining a luxurious unboxing experience.

Two-piece boxes are also typically a cost-effective choice due to their minimal & standard structure.

Pro Tip: For large volume orders, go for collapsible structures. Shipping these styles will be significantly less expensive because they are able to be folded into a flat structure. 

Once you’ve chosen a premium box style, you still need to think about whether your box requires extra protection.

Is your product fragile? Does it need a protective insert?

A great and popular option for high-end boxes is foam inserts. You will need to spend extra for these add-ons, but they make a big difference in your product protection. This also saves you costs on potential damages to your products.

A black foam insert for custom packaging.
photo: pakfactory

Box Dimensions

Once you’ve picked your premium box style, it’s time to determine the dimensions of your box.

When measuring, you’ll want to base your calculations on internal dimensions.

We can’t stress enough how important it is! Internal dimensions, internal dimensions, internal dimensions…!

pakfactory experts

Unlike external measurements, which include the thickness of the box, internal measurements help to ensure a snug fit.

To keep costs low, try to make your box dimensions as small as possible while ensuring enough space to fit your products.


Think of finishing as the cherry on top or the final wax after a sports car has been washed and detailed. It affects the final appearance while providing a level of protection.

There are many finishing options you can use to create the luxury look for your box, but for the sake of keeping costs low, here are the two popularly used:

Matte Lamination – Matte Lamination is the most popular among the finishing for its luxe and simplistic appearance. It is considered to be the “fashionable” and elegant finish compared to the rest. It is also best for special printing options such as Spot UV, embossing, and gold/silver stamping.

Gloss Lamination – Gloss laminate provides outstanding vibrancy to packaging boxes and grabs the attention of potential customers instantly. It repels dust, dirt, and fingerprints making the packaging super durable.

Textured paper is also widely used among this type of packaging but typically the least popular for small to medium-sized businesses due to the cost.

Gloss lamination examples for custom boxes.
photo: pakfactory

Special Finishing

Adding special finishing provides an eye-catching, impactful look to any box and assists in brand differentiation.

There are three primary options:

Spot UV – This finishing process increases the perceived quality of packaging by sealing in color, producing an appealing sheen, and protecting the surface. This all adds up to a fine look of luxury.

Embossing/Debossing – Embossing is a popular technique that adds a raised imprint of a design or text, adding visual appeal and complexity. Debossing, on the other hand, creates a depressed imprint on the box packaging.

Foil Stamping – This printing process applies a thin coat of color or metallic foil to the surface of box packaging. Gold and silver are typically used for a luxurious effect. Foil stamping is best applied on smooth surfaces.

Adding special embellishments like these are surprisingly not as costly as you think with large quantity orders!

Premium Box Design Elements

Luxury is easier to recognize that it is to manifest. Thankfully, there are several elements that you can utilize to produce the desired result without spending a fortune.

Here are several points to help infuse a sense of luxury into your packaging design:

The right amount of suspense – You don’t want to overwhelm or underwhelm a customer as they unbox your product. Design your box to create suspense without offering an experience that is too fast or too slow. Think Goldilocks!

Prestige branding – This is about restraint and minimalism. Less is more. Consider clean, understated elements over extravagant logos and overly intricate visuals. The elegant design speaks volumes.

Work with light – The way light interacts with your box design is crucial. Use contrasting finishes and coatings (foil stamping, lamination, etc.) to provide an attractive look in any lighting.

Include texture – The feel of a box can be just as important as its visuals. By including an embossed feature or another tactile element, you further engage the senses for an unforgettable experience.

Crisp folds and ease of use – Poor box structure and ergonomics can kill anticipation. No one wants to get a papercut while unboxing or struggle with a box that’s difficult to open. Make the structure pain-free and simple. 

Aural experience – This may not be obvious, but sound by itself is another important element. Whether it’s a hinge, lid, or fold, every part of a luxury box can be tuned to elicit the perfect unboxing sound. Remember, adding an element like a magnetic closure won’t break the bank!

Personalize it – Anybody can provide a box, but it’s the great ones that offer a truly unique unboxing experience. Add a personalized handwritten thank you message and special promotional card for that specific customer.

These elements provide an extra boost to the experience of opening a box.

By including these low-cost components in your box design, you will impress customers and create opportunities for developing a loyal customer base.

Structural Design

This is where dieline making comes into play. The dieline is a computer-designed 2D template for your box packaging. It includes a layout (including custom artwork) of the final physical box, flat and unassembled. This is required to produce samples and mass production of your packaging.

If your structure is simple & effective, you won’t need to pay extra service fees for custom structural design.

Thankfully, several manufacturers, like PakFactory, can reimburse you for this service when you work with them.


So, why create a prototype?

When initially designing your packaging — especially if you are ordering a large quantity — it’s important to inspect the box to ensure you are happy with its functionality.

The manufacturer typically does all the required testing and proofs; however, having a tangible custom sample will help you see if there are any hidden mistakes that might not show up in the proofs before final production.

If there are any changes needed, you can avoid producing hundreds or thousands of boxes, and paying the associated costs, on the packaging that you aren’t 100% satisfied with.

Working with the Right Manufacturer

Never settle or be short in this department.

Especially when producing premium level packaging, it is vital that you collaborate with packaging experts that can guide you through every step of the process.

Look for a manufacturer that can, not only provide the best cost reduction recommendation for your project, but also assist you from ideation to fulfillment.

Spending just a little more on service can make a big difference in your overall experience!

At the end of the day, all these elements should drive a singular purpose — to provide a luxurious unboxing experience that will be treasured.  With this guide, you can design your luxury box and save on costs at the same time!

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