Posted on June 16, 2023 by Dennis Salazar

FAQ Custom E-Commerce Packaging Made Easy

As we often tell customers, don’t let the word “custom” scare you off or lead you to believe your new packaging design is going to cost a bundle of money to produce and purchase. In fact, most customers are pleasantly surprised and relieved when we provide them with a ballpark or preliminary price that is well below their expectations and fears.

Here are some of the questions they most frequently ask:

Q: When does packaging become custom versus stock or standard? 

A: Custom is typically custom printed or custom size. Stock is “off the shelf” product someone has already manufactured in volume and is stocking it for purchase and shipment. We have no stock products, blank or with stock colors or prints.

Q: Aren’t there any stock sizes?

A: Most definitely. As the first “related post” link below details, we have well over 240 standard cutting dies used to make some of the most popular sizes for e-commerce shipment.  Since today a custom cutting die can cost over $1,000, using an available cutting die can help reduce your start-up costs, especially if you will need more than one box size to accommodate the variety of items you ship.

Q: Is there such a thing as stock print plates?

A: We do have standard matte print plates which are used to print one solid color with no text, graphics or reverse print knock outs. They are often used to print one color inserts or as a solid undercoat, for example a solid pink to be over printed with a different color.

Q: Do you do the graphic design or artwork?

A: We are not graphic designers but as the second post below discusses, we have worked with many excellent graphic artists and will gladly share their contact information. What we do primarily is structural design.

Q: What exactly is structural design?    

A: In a nutshell it is all about the packaging shape, size and how it works. For example, how it will be erected, how it closes, how it transports and ships to and from your fulfillment operation. What board type and grade are required, as well as how we balance product presentation and product protection. Will the product presentation and unboxing experience be enhanced with a well-designed insert?    

Q: Is there a charge for structural design and/or mockups?

A: That answer is in most cases we do this work for you at no cost. We have been doing this long enough that we don’t see many unusual or difficult applications we have not seen before. We are very good at utilizing designs that we previously created and modifying them to satisfy a new application. For instance, the degree and type of protection required for a glass bottle are very similar whether it is a bottle of hot sauce, or a bottle of wine. This saves us valuable design time and saves you money. The only exception to this is a very unique product with out of the norm ordinary customer requirements.

Q: Are there stock or standard inserts available?

A: Unfortunately, there are too many variations such as the product size and count per package, to permit stock inserts. However, some inserts such as partitions and dividers, may not require tooling at all. We will gladly review your specific application to determine the best and lowest cost path forward.

Q: What is the process and how long does it take?

A: Though some try to shorten or skips steps in the process, the steps that have proven to be successful are:

  1. You provide product samples.
  2. We create a mockup for approval, ship testing. Drop testing, etc.
  3. Once the structural design mockup is approved, we provide a die line/template.
  4. You provide the graphic design artwork.
  5. That enables us to provide a very accurate quote for the boxes, inserts, print plates and die lines.

This is all typically accomplished with 2 to 3 weeks. If it results in an order, production can take an additional 2-3 week on the initial run.


You can see it pays to work with experienced people who love what they do. We take great pride and invite you to visit our gallery where you can see a small sampling of our work. Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us through this web site.

We look forward to working with you on your packaging design project.

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