Custom packaging: Which printing method is best for your e-commerce shipping boxes?

Custom packaging: Which printing method is best for your e-commerce shipping boxes?

The custom packaging world can be somewhat daunting. There’s the usual manufacturing or printing jargon and then there are upfront set up costs. For a growing start-up or small business that’s looking to switch from plain U-line boxes to something more personalized that shows off your brand, here are a few things to consider that will determine the right printing method for your custom printed boxes.

Print colours and coverage

The number of colours and the amount of print coverage will typically affect the overall cost of custom printing. For instance, if you print a black logo on a brown corrugated box, it will be a lot cheaper than flood coating the box in pink and having a white logo. Why is that? The black logo is 1 colour and covers a smaller area on the box, compared to a box that’s coated with 1 colour all over, as it will require a much larger printing plate to cover the entire area of the box. The printing method typically used to directly print on to corrugated boxes is flexography. The quality is good for 1 to 2 colour printing without any crazy detailing. It’s also an economic option.

If you want to include a lot of colours and/or large print coverage, a better printing method would be litho-lamination. In this method, a design is digitally printed on a sheet of coated paper and that paper is then laminated onto corrugated board. Colours come out crisp and vibrant, while boxes feel smooth to touch, making them look and feel more premium.

Brand look and Feel

For a more natural and organic look, consider something like the Essential Box – kraft or white with one to two colour printing. But if your brand is snazzy, or you have large graphics or prints, the Premium Box is a much better option. If you want to include an element of surprise, look into inside printing, while keeping the outside of the box discreet.

Economies of scale

Packaging can be a volume game. It’s important to find the right balance between ordering too few and paying more and ordering a little more and getting a deal. Flexography is the most economic printing method and can be affordable starting as low as 500 units. For litho-lamination, 1000 units will usually get you decent pricing.

Note that it’s not all about per unit cost. Good packaging can get you featured, get your influencers raving about your brand and increase your sales, and finding the right printing method is a big part of that.



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