The Difference Between Boxes and Cartons
The packaging industry is filled with a variety of terms; some are interchangeable, and some are not. There is also a lot of information available on the internet and not all of it is accurate so we are not surprised when we get inquiries for information on boxes when they really want is a carton and vice versa.
General guideline on paper packaging containers
Packaging containers typically come in variations of two distinct substrates:
Paperboard – usually single ply, thin and most popular construction are folding cartons (aka chip board boxes) and rigid wall boxes. Your standard cereal box or FedEx envelope are great examples of paperboard material for packaging. We usually describe this as packaging that is NOT designed for shipping but intended for retail, display applications.
Corrugated board – this is the material that is usually thicker because it is multiple layers of paper with a fluted interior layer. It is designed to be a shipping container, and will hold up well whether you ship UPS, USPS, or FedEx. This board can be made into a wide variety of structural designs including RSC shipping boxes and mailer boxes.
Branding Your Corrugated and Paperboard Packaging
Both are available custom printed, though the type of printing that is available varies. Corrugated is primarily printed using a flexographic print process, directly to the board itself, limiting the number of colors and types of graphics that can be printed on it. Digital printing is becoming more common place and while digital printing is usually more expensive, it can make it possible to reproduce virtually any type of design you want.
Custom printing of paperboard is usually offset printed and also permits a wide range of graphics and color, though higher minimums may apply.
Application Specific Design
There are no easy or standard answers and every application is a little different. Order volume also plays a major factor, since some board and printing options are available and affordable at 10,000 but perhaps not at 1,000.
Some sizes and designs require tooling (for example – die cut mailers) and others do not, such as RSC style shipping boxes. Different board grades and thicknesses are available for both paperboard and corrugated board.
If you are not sure which is the best material substrate for your project, please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700. One of our experienced branded packaging advisors will be glad to assist you and answer any questions you may have.