The terms ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’ are not new when it comes to packaging. In fact, over the last 10 years, the entire supply chain has been demanding for sustainable and green packaging with minimalist packaging design.

Why? Because minimalist packaging is proven to have a huge influence on consumers’ purchasing choices and bottom lines.

The annual Sustainable Packaging Study conducted by Packaging Digest and Sustainable Packaging Coalition reveals that 92% of consumers feel that minimalist, eco-friendly, or biodegradable packaging matters.

The study also indicates that 74% of business owners put emphasis on using recycled content materials for their packaging.

As more end-users recycle packaging to address environmental issues and reduce carbon footprint and energy costs, it won’t take too long for green and minimalist packaging to become the norm for consumers.

Business owners must now begin to adapt to the packaging trends and play their role in alleviating pollution and conserving raw materials.

Which type of material is best for minimal packaging?

Paper is the largest material type in the packaging market. Compared with molded plastic, paper material is not only cheaper but also more sustainable. It causes little to no damage to the environment and can be reused and repurposed.

Unlike plastic, bottles, cans or Styrofoam, paper can be produced and recycled without using a lot of harmful chemicals.

There are two paper materials that are good for high-quality packaging, but still eco-friendly:


Kraft paper is produced from 100% virgin fiber paper during the kraft process. It is renewable, biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable.

It is typically used in packaging consumer products, especially food and drink. Kraft is taint-free, resilient, and most of all, suitable for high-quality prints.

Custom kraft paper packaging.
Credit: DHGate

SBS or Solid Bleached Sulfate

SBS paperboards are produced from bleached virgin wood pulp and normally contain mineral or synthetic pigment as a coating. It is perfectly white inside and out, making it an excellent packaging material. SBS paperboards can be cut, creased, hot foil stamped and embossed.

It is common to use SBS to package products such as chocolate, cigarettes, cosmetics, medicines, supplements and even frozen food because it is acid-free with no smell or taste. SBS paperboards are also perfect for graphics, signage, and prints because they do not degrade over time. 

Custom paperboard packaging for a custom beer box.
Credit: planetpaper

Minimalist print on packaging

When it comes to packaging, less is more.

Minimalism in packaging means paring down packaging materials and also paring down the visual aspects of the design. Companies that adopted minimalist print on the packaging say they are allowing their products to do the talking. Simple and effective designs capture people’s attention. It is also to prevent overwhelming the packaging aesthetics.

Minimalist designs prevent consumers from being distracted from the central focus of the packaging and convey a highly targeted brand message in an instantly understandable way. Minimalist packaging prints also drive consumers to reuse and recycle product packaging rather than throwing them away.

Custom cardboard packaging that follows minimalist design.
photo: pakfactory

From a packaging manufacturers’ standpoint, minimalist designs, such as black on white and digital print, look more elegant. The minimalist designs have the opportunity to produce high-quality, eye-appealing packaging.

Minimalist packaging structures

The primary goal of minimalist packaging is to save raw materials and eliminate waste without compromising the durability or functionality of the packaging. The packaging should be able to perform its duty of protecting the products and conveying the message of the brand.

Regardless of the structure you choose for your packaging, the key is to keep dimensions as minimal as possible to save materials.

Here are some of the most common minimalist packaging structures:

Tuck end boxes

Tuck end boxes are cost-effective and standard. They can also be manufactured with minimal to no wastage of raw materials.

They are simple and perfect for products that require a large window with a front display panel.

Mailer boxes

Mailer boxes are recyclable and reusable and can be used to package products regardless if they are big or small. It is an excellent choice if you want a minimalist packaging structure. Mailer boxes don’t require additional packaging inside when being shipped to customers.

They also allow companies to save raw materials without sacrificing the safety of the products inside.

Pillow boxes

Pillow boxes are small and compact and they require minimal materials.

Ideally used for gift-giving, pillow boxes give a striking first impression while keeping the products inside intact and safe.

Minimalist Coating Options

Apart from increasing the packaging’s aesthetic and haptic appeal, a coating is also done in order to make the packaging dirt resistant. The coating ensures that the packaging is able to withstand frequent touching and handling.

Note: We recommend to not use any type of coating if you are producing sustainable packaging for your products to limit chemicals on the material as much as possible. 

Coatings and laminates impact the recyclability of packaging. It is a must that you do your own research before deciding whether or not you really need to coat or laminate your products’ packaging.

However, if it is absolutely necessary that you require coating on your packaging, you can opt for: 

AQ Coating

AQ coating is the most environmentally-friendly coating amongst the other finishing types. It is not only affordable but it is completely water-based. Aqueous coating is common for food, household products, and fast-consuming product packaging.

In order to come up with the best type of packaging material and structure, you must understand first understand how green packaging is changing the consumer landscape globally.

Switching to a more sustainable packaging will go a long way in saving the environment from further destruction. At the same time, it can make your product stand out and sell more.

Opting for minimalist packaging design, on the other hand, can help you build a stronger brand without confusing your target consumers with unnecessary design elements.

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