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Cardboard Box Packaging Design

Ideate to Succeed: Cardboard box packaging design

In industries such as consumer packaged goods (CPG), purchase decisions are heavily dependent on a number of variables. From consumer confidence based on branding, product quality to on-the-shelf perception. Packaging is a critical determinant of CPG sales, whether its packaging for food or for non-perishable consumables/utilities.

Packaging design must capture the essence of the product and present it so that it hits every note with the target audience. Failure in this regard can mean product failure or losses as a brand pivots packaging direction. Packaging design must be authentic and sales-effective. Sales effectiveness can come from a number of factors:


For a product to set itself apart in a massive range of other shelf based products, it is important to stand apart in terms of design and packaging. The design should be unique, modern and authentic. To be unique does not mean to be gaudy and loud or incredibly off base. It means to stand apart from traditional packaging that competitors have used on their boxes in that category. In fact, latest trends in authentic design have succeeded in helping brands stand apart from the traditional packaging design that we have seen. The form factor utilizes natural colors, simple hand rendered illustrations, vintage feel, subtle and tactile textures.


Understand who the target customer is and know why they will buy the product. The box packaging must reflect this. Authenticity has different meanings for the category the product is in and who it is targeted to. Consumers of mass market perishable goods will be a mass audience as opposed to consumers of an organic product in select retailers. Understand whether the packaging is a product brochure with a high amount of messaging, or a simple presentation with modern minimalism. Design accordingly and understand the economics of the packaging based on the materials picked.


Consider what the packaging expresses. Does it convey a corporate branding, an ‘indie’ feel or something otherwise? Some of the recent trends in cardboard box packaging have been counter-corporate. Even larger companies have chosen packaging that speaks more to the feeling that it gives a consumer rather than detailing out product specifications. This isn’t to say that the specs need to be missing, it is to say that the total package can be built by taking a new approach. An example of this is HONOR a NYC based women’s fashion brand.

Once the fundamentals of design are decided, determine the type of box that is required. It could be a rigid box, folding carton or corrugated box. Then consider textures, shape, specific materials, embossing/foil stamping, etc. Your packaging vendor and manufacturer should be part of the process as you develop your design. Full service manufacturers can work with almost all kinds of designs, the factor to consider is the fluctuation of price as you make your selections.

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