How-to: Cost-Effective Premium Box

🎁 Top considerations for creating cost effective premium packaging
Project Preparation
Calculating Your Budget
Choosing Your Structural Design
Measuring Box Dimensions
Focusing on Artwork Design
The Right Finish
The Importance of Prototyping
Working with the Right Manufacturer

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 Dot Com Distrbution, 61% of consumers say they are much more likely to repeat a purchase of a luxury product if it came in premium packaging.

Premium packaging can benefit your presentation and promotional needs in any industry by enhancing and adding value to both your products and brand.

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 to medium-sized businesses.

Example of cost effective premium packaging
Source: The Dieline

This article will shed some light on some affordable premium packaging ideas and how to tackle the process of putting together high-end packaging for your luxury products in the most cost-effective way possible!

A large portion of business budgets is put towards the packaging of the product.

Premium packaging gives your brand a competitive edge both on shelf and in e-commerce. This heavily plays into your unboxing experience and the impression you make on your customers. 

What if you are a smaller company and do not have the budget to design and produce premium packaging?

Luckily, there are ways you can create affordable premium packaging without necessarily using premium material.

It will not only cost less, but it will surely compete at the same level as your larger competitors. 

Let’s jump right in and explore some options!

Project Preparation

Clear Specifications

To start, make sure to establish your product and estimated box measurements, projected quantity of packaging, and project objectives. 

Why?

This is the information most commonly required to provide you with a quotation for your custom packaging. 

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.

As briefly mentioned above, make sure you have determined:

  • A timeline
  • Measurements
  • Design specifications
  • Shipping method 
  • Warehousing method

Keep in mind; rigid packaging may take about 20-30 days to produce, so make sure you are choosing the right structure, material and design specifications based on your project timeline.

Rigid Boxes are constructed by hand and require meticulous work as well as a highly skilled operations team to develop them for the optimal results.

This is why the prices tend to run high for rigid packaging. Production costs vary depending on the structure and material of your box.

Luckily rigid boxes aren’t your only option in creating high quality packaging!  

Go Paperboard

If you’re a small-medium size business looking for custom packaging with a smaller budget than your competitors, you are not confined to paying premium prices for rigid packaging. 

Although rigid boxes are typically the choice for many luxury brands, you can instead choose less costly materials such as folding carton.

Folding carton offers an array of structural design options as well as printing and finishing capabilities. With these wide variety of capabilities, you can customize their style & structure, and you are still guaranteed a lower price point than rigid box material.

Not only are these more affordable, but they are also a lot more eco-friendly and can be stored with much more ease due to their fold-able features. 

Example of kraft folding carton
Source: Bell Jar

Folding carton comes in both bleached and unbleached kraft, offering your business the opportunity to take a step towards a cleaner and greener initiative. 

As mentioned, folding carton offer an array of printing and finishing options, which also accommodates eco-friendly initiatives. You can opt for water based inks and coatings for easy recyclability. 

Read more about your options with Folding Carton.

Calculating 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.

To get a well rounded understanding of where your budget should stand, your should include the following considerations:

  • Material choice
  • Design services
  • Printing and finishing
  • Shipping and logistics

Choosing Your 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 communicate key information for the production of samples as well as your final product.

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

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

Types of Styles

Now that the nitty gritty of your packaging considerations are out of the way, the fun part can commence. 

Choosing the right box structure for luxury packaging is very important in communicating a high end feel for your products and brand. 

If you do have the budget to opt for rigid packaging, there are a variety of structural styles you can choose from. These include;

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.

The best part about collapsible rigid boxes is that they support a more sustainable initiative. 

According to Miva, 9 in 10 consumers have re-used a retailer’s branded box or bag after a purchase. 

This gives you the opportunity to offer your packaging a life beyond your products. 

Plus, opportunities for potential in customers homes!

Example of rigid box being reused for storage and home decor.
Source: Burke Decor

In terms of affordability, 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. 

Folding Carton also offers an array of structural styles to choose from if you’re looking for inexpensive high quality options. 

Explore folding carton structures

Once you’ve chosen a premium or folding carton 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.

Measuring 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.

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.

This leaves minimal room for your product to be jostled around during shipping and distribution and ensures a great unboxing experience. 

The Smaller the Box, the Better! 

Smaller boxes not only cost less in regards to printing, but they also cost less when it comes to shipping. 

For this reason, it is always best to try and make your dimensions the smallest size possible.

This helps to save costs in the long run and cut out the additional shipping charges that may occur. 

Similarly, pay attention to the size of the product. 

A bigger box is typically not recommended as it ends up having additional space that may damage the product during shipping.

This also heavily affects the unboxing experience of your product. 

Think of it this way; would you be happy if you purchased a product that ultimately doesn’t function the way it should? 

This is the way your costumes will feel. So make sure your dimensions are at the minimum to leave no room for damage but all the room for a great customer experience.

Focusing on Artwork Design

Depending on the printing capabilities and the manufacturer that you choose to produce your boxes with, you can get away with creating a lavish artwork without paying extra fees.

Example of packaging artwork design.
Source: BP & O

If you’re looking to make your packaging look more luxurious, this is where you want to focus your efforts on. 

It doesn’t matter what color you use (unless using PMS Colors) or the style of the artwork, your budget will remain relatively the same.

Minimalism is also an option you may want to consider. 

Many luxury brands choose this route to create sophistication & class for their brand while adding value to their products.

Include texture – The feel of a box can be just as important as its visuals. 

By including an embossed/debossed feature or another tactile element, you further engage the senses and create for an unforgettable experience.

Crisp folds and functionality – 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 specific customers.

These elements provide an extra boost to the unboxing experience an encourages customers to repurchase from your brand.

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

Premium Box Design Elements

Luxury is easier to recognize than it is to manifest. 

Thankfully, there are several elements that you can utilize to produce the desired result without spending a fortune.

Example of foil stamping on folding carton packaging
Source: The Dieline

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!

Create suspense from the moment your customers lay eyes on your products. 

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 and adds value to the customer experience.

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.

Think about your finishing options and how they will look in person to determine the right laminates/coatings for your design! 

The Right Finish

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 and appeal.

Difference between matte & Gloss Lamination
Source: DKNG Studios

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 laminates 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/debossing, and foil 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 and enhances the colors of your artwork designs 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.

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.

Example of debossing on packaging

Adding special embellishments like these are surprisingly not as costly as you think with large quantity orders and adds a touch of personality and luxury to your packaging design. 

The Importance of Prototyping

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, design and artwork positioning.

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.

Read more on why getting a box sample is important for your packaging.

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.

Read more on how to choose the right custom packaging company for your project.

At the end of the day, all these elements should drive a singular purpose — to provide a luxurious unboxing experience that will be treasured. 

 This doesn’t have to mean you have to user premium materials for premium products!

Folding Carton opens doors of opportunities to create a high quality packaging through structural and art work designs for a fraction of the manufacturing of rigid packaging.

Either way, your opportunity to create luxury packaging at an affordable rate starts here.

With the help of dedicated packaging experts at PakFactory you have the opportunity to create cost effective premium packaging that will surely stay in positive sentiments of your customers. 

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  1. I just had to show my appreciation for the writer’s point of view on this subject by leaving a comment. It is very much important to measure the box dimensions.

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