Posted on October 20, 2021 by Dennis Salazar

Choosing the Right Colors for Your DTC or Subscription Box

As we often say, the right color or combination of colors can make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your box. We are not graphic designers or graphic artists but after printing millions of boxes each year, we have a pretty good idea of what works and what does not. Remember, standard corrugated board is not a perfect substrate, so it helps to know what will and will not print well. That is important when you are shipping your customer’s corrugated box with all its substrate inconsistencies in color, and porosity. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Choose your board color

Before you select your ink color(s), you really need to determine the best board color for your specific product and application. Though we can print any color you want as a flood coat, the two standard board colors are white and kraft. If your brand is natural and sustainable, kraft brown board is probably the better option but you may have to avoid certain ink colors. For example, some shades of green and orange, do not print well, printed direct to kraft board. If you want bright or pastel colors, white board is probably the preferred board color.

Be aware of the potential DTC box printing costs

Especially if you are a startup, every dollar is important, and some expenses can be controlled in the early stages of brand development. For example, metallic, or multicolor logos are eye catching but can result in expensive print plate costs and be very challenging to print. Some logos and designs can only be printed using more expensive digital or litho label print processes. White board is usually 5% or more, per side, compared to kraft board and digital or litho printing can double or even triple printing costs compared to flexographic. In other words, don’t put yourself into an expensive corner when creating your logo, and well before you start thinking about your DTC box.

Choose your graphic designer carefully

Most graphic designers do incredible digital work and can create amazing images. However, many if not most, have never done packaging design work, and specifically direct to corrugated printing. If possible, utilize a graphic designer who is experienced in both. If you don’t know one, tell us and we will be glad to recommend several we are sure will do a good job for you. Most entrepreneurs, including myself, are multi-talented, “get it done” type of people but trust me, this is not a good DIY project. A lack of experience here may negatively impact your company for years to come and contrary to most beliefs, a good designer will only cost a couple/few hundred dollars.

What colors are hot?

For this, I will suggest you visit our gallery to see the variety of colors our customers have asked us to print. There are also numerous web sources for information including the website. They are the source for PMS (pantone color matching) colors that our customers provide so that everyone involved at our end knows exactly what color you want. If you check them out this year you will see that for 2021, Pantone selected two, colors of the year – yellow and gray. They state and I totally agree that those two colors are great in combination and complement each other beautifully. BTW, when printing flexographic and most of our customers do, printing a second color adds virtually no cost, compared to one color. A second print plate is required for the second color, but that is a one-time expense so don’t let a perceived higher box cost keep you from a great box look. Check out the first related post below to determine two color limitations.

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We know color and all the other potential pitfalls of DTC box design 

Unlike other popular web sites, we do not believe anyone, especially a first timer, should design their own box in terms of structure or graphics. Especially not when expert advice is readily available at no cost.

Our process is designed to deliver exactly what you want, after you, with our help, have designed the perfect DTC or subscription box. Contact us or call us at 630-551-1700 to speak with me or one of our trained, experienced, branded packaging advisors. As you can see from our gallery, we take great pride in the work we do and we would love to add your box to our beautiful assortment.


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