What are Rigid Boxes or Set-up Boxes?
Rigid boxes are a sturdy paper-based box consisting of high-thickness (often 2-3mm) chipboard, wrapped by decorative specialty paper. They are also commonly referred to as set-up boxes or gift-boxes.
Rigid boxes are a sustainable packaging option commonly seen as packaging for board-games where cards, game boards, or products need to be put back into the box for re-use. High-end products such as smartphones (think of an iPhone box), or luxury goods also often utilize rigid packaging since they are incredibly resilient and have tougher construction.
Rigid boxes come in two main types and many different styles that can be printed, hot-stamped, and finished off with different coatings and even decorative elements like ribbons, handles buckles, and more.
Rigid Boxes in the Market
Rigid packaging is a trending packaging segment, consisting of metal, plastic, wood, paper, and other materials and refers to hard, solid packaging contrary to its alternative – flexible packaging.
It is important to recognize the distinction from rigid packaging to rigid boxes as only a small but fast-growing segment within the gigantic rigid packaging industry accounting for nearly 50% of the global packaging market, valued at USD 496.72 billion in 2016, growing at a high compound growth annual rate (CAGR) of 5.8%.
Types of Rigid Packaging
The two different rigid box types are partial finish and full finish rigid boxes and rigid tube packaging.
- Wrapped only to finish the inner edge of the boxes
- The rigid chipboard inside is unfinished and visible
- The inner chipboard is in one-piece with perforated crease lines and folded
- Tape may be used to secure chipboard before wrapping
- The chipboard finish can come in Coated One Side White or Kraft
- Wrapped entirely so no chipboard is left exposed
- The inner chipboard is in separate pieces for each face of the box
- No tape is used before wrapping boxes
- Thicker chipboard (or greyboard) at 2 – 3mm thicknesses
- Laminated with different finish options
Rigid Tube Packaging
- Telescopic, cylindrical packaging style with the same rigid chipboard construction, wrapped with printed or decorative paper
- Available in partial or full finish
- No corners means rigid tube packaging is child-friendly
- Great option for irregular or circular-shaped products
There are also many different styles of rigid boxes. We will go through the most popular box types and styles and then dive into new trending rigid box examples to give you a full picture of its uses, benefits, and design ideas.
Construction & Production Times
The construction of rigid boxes is unlike any other packaging style. Similar to the process wrapping a gift, rigid boxes are actually made by precisely wrapping paper around solid boards. These boards usually come in a kraft or grey base color, made partially from recycled fibers, but can also come in white and other base colors.
Full finish rigid boxes also have an additional layer of wrapping, which can be white (default) or printed which can be used to give your customers a surprise when they open the box.
Partial finish rigid boxes are made with a single-piece of chipboard with perforated crease lines for folding and wrapped without the additional interior layer which leaves the kraft or grey chipboard material exposed, which is a faster process.
Producing rigid boxes involves an extended process which can take 1-2 weeks longer to produce than other packaging types. Currently most rigid box production processes involve some degree of manual assembly and quality checks of greater detail to inspect for defects and ensure quality standards.
This also makes rigid boxes more costly than alternative packaging types discussed in the Alternatives section below.
As a form of high-end packaging, rigid box packaging is also one of the more expensive types of packaging, costing up to 3 times as much as alternative paper packaging styles such as folding carton and corrugated packaging for the same quantity and size.
The higher price can easily become justifiable for many products since the grandiose presentation offered by rigid boxes are second to none, adding a tremendous amount of perceived value to a product.
Here are some examples of rigid box prices from some of our recent projects:
- Box Style: Slide/ Match
- Dimensions: 6″ x 6″ x 2″
- Coating: Matte Lamination
- Additional Processes: Spot UV
- Quantity: 1500 boxes
- Price: $5.45 per box
- Box Style: Magnetic Closure
- Dimensions: 9.5″ x 12.5″ x 2.5″
- Coating: Soft Touch
- Additional Processes: Spot UV, Custom Foam Insert
- Quantity: 2000 boxes
- Price: $5.73 per box
- Box Style: Tray & Lid
- Dimensions: 4.3″ x 3.7″ x 1.77″
- Coating: No Coating
- Additional Processes: Custom Insert
- Quantity: 1000 Units
- Price: $3.74 per unit
- Box Style: Round Tray & Lid
- Dimensions: 4″ x 4″ x 4″
- Coating: No Coating
- Additional Processes: Foil Stamp, Custom Foam Insert
- Quantity: 800 boxes
- Price: $4.50 per unit
Benefits of Rigid Boxes
Other than its solid and protective construction, rigid packaging offers an elusive, luxurious and robust look and feel that is unmatched by most other packaging types.
Often paired with a custom insert, rigid paper packaging is harder and more durable than even equally thick corrugated materials due to its solid-core chipboard construction. This keeps products well-protected to withstand harsh handling and shipping conditions.
Rigid box packaging is made to be reusable and kept by buyers, rather than just thrown away after taking out their product. After the fact, they are often used to store jewelry, accessories, or the original product again.
With these benefits in mind, rigid boxes add significant value to your product, adding an embedded element to accompany your product. Quite often, customers will no longer view your product as just an individual item, but rather view the package product as a set when your product is encased in a rigid box, resulting in greater willingness to splurge.
It is human nature to enjoy gifts and rigid gift boxes are currently the gold standard of gift-type packaging boxes. The value of a branded rigid gift box can hold its own in improving your products ROI.
Drawbacks of Rigid Boxes
While rigid boxes are a great option for small to medium product sizes, they can become surprisingly less resilient at extra-large box sizes.
Ergo, rigid box packaging is extremely solid for small to medium size products but they can become more prone to ripped edges at larger sizes due to increased load on the outer wrapping layer of paper that surrounds the structure of the box.
We always recommend using a thicker paper with a laminated finish to increase flexibility and durability at larger sizes.
Rigid Packaging Styles
Magnetic Closure Rigid Boxes
The satisfying ‘snap’ of a magnetic closure rigid box can be oddly addicting as the two magnets in the rigid boxes lock together to a firm close. The magnetic closure rigid box style is an efficient style of reusable packaging that is very convenient for your customers to open and close.
Because of its sturdy and solid constructions, users will be very hesitant to throw these boxes out, since they can make excellent storage units for jewelry, makeup and just about anything else (depending on the size of the box).
Magnetic closure boxes can come in standard and collapsible styles. While the standard style is stronger and more durable, the collapsible magnetic closure rigid box is packed and ships flat, which can greatly reduce shipping and handling costs.
Collapsible rigid boxes generally come with double-sided tape that adheres to the collapsible faces of the box to the sides of the box making it no longer collapsible for your customers. Without close examination, your customers won’t even know they were collapsible to begin with. Genius!
Telescopic Rigid Boxes
Telescopic, or telescope rigid boxes can also be refered to as topload, 2-piece rigid boxes, or lid and tray rigid packaging with the lid coming off of the base vertically. This is your traditional Monopoly game box or iPhone box type of opening, though the two boxes look and feel drastically different.
Higher-end telescope boxes (like smartphone boxes) are made with precise measurements to allow friction to allow a slow-opening speed, so the base can slowly slide out from under the lid.
Telescopic boxes are more sturdy than most rigid box styles since there are four faces of both the lid and base overlapping when closed, making it an ideal choice for products that are expected to be used multiple times, making it a robust packaging option.
Partial cover rigid boxes are a type of telescopic rigid box in which the lid only covers part of the base, making it easier to open and close.
Drawer Style Rigid Boxes
There’s something gratifying about pulling a drawer open, especially a small, box-sized drawer with a new product inside of it. Drawer style rigid boxes are also known as slipcase, slide, or match rigid boxes, since they open similarly to match-boxes.
Either with an attached ribbon pull or a semi-circle thumb hole, drawer style rigid boxes are similar to telescopic rigid boxes, but on a different angle – literally.
Telescope boxes are great for products you want to keep straight and level for when a customer opens the box up. Opening horizontally instead of vertically can be great to prevent an accident or even a disaster, like this clip of a user unboxing his brand new iPhone during an interview.
Drawer style boxes can also be made with integrated mechanisms for child-safety to prevent young children from opening products that are potentially harmful.
Book Style Rigid Boxes
The book style rigid box opens like a hard-cover book, complete with a straight or rounded spine to mimic a real book. Book-style boxes can also be referred to as clamshell boxes because of how they open and close, often with a magnetic attachment for that satisfying click.
We rarely throw out books and this clever rigid box fits right into that trend, easily complimenting real books. This box style can act as a secret storage compartment on your desk or beside your real books on a bookshelf. Neat.
Shoulder Neck Rigid Boxes
Often referred to as just shoulder, or neck rigid boxes, shoulder-neck rigid boxes are a multi-layer rigid box consisting of a separate neck, or shoulder inner layer, which the lid closes over-top of. This can give your rigid box an extra pop of color, style or help to elevate your product for a more intriguing unboxing experience.
Designers often choose to leave the neck portion of the should-neck rigid box partially exposed to give a multi-layer or multi-packaging impression that can create a sense of mystery for customers as they gaze upon a high-end product.
Rigid Packaging Boxes with Inserts
Packaging inserts are highly recommended when you’re looking to get the ultimate unboxing experience with a rigid box. A custom packaging insert is made specifically for your product, helping it stay in place to provide an elevated presentation while offering a high degree of shock protection, even against drops and rough handling.
There are cases where products are either round, or rectangular and can fit within a rigid box perfectly, however these cases are more rare.
Custom inserts most commonly come in paperboard, corrugated, moulded pulp, foam and plastic materials, each with their own benefits. You can learn more about custom packaging inserts in our article, Different Types of Inserts Available for Your Product Packaging.
Rigid Tube Packaging
Also referred to as rolled-edge tube packaging, rigid tubes are a unique and eco-friendly paper packaging option for those looking to stand out and be different.
As discussed in the rigid packaging types section above, rigid tube packaging is a type of rigid box that is cylindrical in shape, has no corners and is usually made in a telescopic or should-neck style of opening. The most popular example of a rigid tube is a Pringles container.
Rigid tubes are popular for packaging smaller products such as drinks, cosmetics, stationary and accessories with a convenient opening method.
Rigid Box Trends and Inspiration
With imagination comes courage and with courage comes new and exciting ideas. Check out a few of these cool rigid box ideas from different brands.
Coca-Cola: The Taste of Celebration
Telescope Rigid Box with Custom Insert
Contender Brands: Combining Simplicity, Joy, and Laughter
Rolled-edge Rigid Tube Packaging with Custom Insert and Game Cards
Avec La Vie: Healing in a Package
Telescopic shoulder neck rigid box with game cards
Beda Beads: Inspiring the Next Generation of Creators
Magnetic Closure Rigid Box with Custom Insert
Rigid Box Alternatives
While rigid boxes are often viewed in a league of its own when it comes to presentation, popular alternatives include folding carton boxes and high-end corrugated packaging.
In the folding carton packaging group, the most comparable style is the Double Glued Side Wall Tray & Lid and the Double Wall Frame Tray & Lid, which operating similarly to the telescope rigid box style.
Apple uses a custom version of this folding carton style for its MacBook packaging:
If you’re opting for a corrugated box alternative, we recommend the popular Tab Lock Roll End Corrugated Box or Roll Ends with Lid styles. Both of these styles offer excellent presentation settings allowing customers to open the boxes in a neat and simple fashion.
Have we answered all of your rigid box packaging questions? Get in touch with a Product Specialist to get more ideas or pricing on your next packaging project.