Posted on March 10, 2023 by Dennis Salazar

Packaging Design is Not a DIY Project

In this age of knowledge sharing, and internet resources including YouTube videos, it is not unusual for people to believe they can do anything. That may work well for repairing a lawn mower or clothes washer, but not necessarily for doing your own structural and graphic design for an e-commerce shipping container. After all, how hard can it possibly be? The fact is, to do it right, is more difficult than it may appear.

The Difference Between Graphic and Structural Design for E-commerce Packaging.

I usually describe structural design (which is what we do) as how a container and/or insert is going to work. Is the box going to open on top, front, side, etc. What type of corrugated board is required, what grade of paper is to be used, and what size flutes are best for the application. All boxes are not created equally. All the same would apply to an insert, plus how is the insert going to be formed and loaded with product. A great looking insert that takes three minutes per unit to assemble, is not a good design.

A graphic design is essentially, how the packaging is going to look. We are NOT graphic designers but after tens of millions of boxes, we have a pretty good idea on how a particular design is going to print and look when completed. There are web sites that help people “create their own” artwork and some of our competitors even encourage that, but even the best tools in the hands of the inexperienced are going to produce mixed results. As we often offer, if you don’t have a good graphic artist, with packaging experience, we can certainly connect you with one.

What is wrong with DIY packaging design?

There are literally dozens of factors, options and questions that should be asked when creating a packaging design. Just a few include, how is the packaging going to ship to the co-packer, how is it going to ship to the ultimate customer, and how much are both going to cost. Do you know that shipping and storing E-flute packaging can cost 20 to 30% less that B-flute? What are the sustainability requirements and how will that impact printing? 100%recycled content board is great but certain flood coat colors and graphic designs will not print well on it.

Penny wise packaging.    

I think you know the rest of that old adage; something about dollar foolish. We know what it is like being a start-up and we work with startups every day. We understand launching a business will always cost more than you planned, and by the time you get to packaging, the budget may be shot.

However, we also hate to see new companies waste or misspend money. First of all, our services are typically free and most graphic artists will consult with you at no cost. So, you decide to DIY your structural design to save some money. You begin by calling someone like us and requesting pricing on a design you have selected or want. The internet is a beautiful thing, and you can get all sorts of great ideas there but it does not mean that they are necessarily the best or right thing for your application. It is very possible that you can avoid a possible expenditure in the beginning but have to pay a much higher cost for shipping, postage, assembly or other permanent, repeat costs. Your DIY graphic design may not produce the look you want and cost you more in terms of print plates and artwork, than what is truly necessary.

What happens if you soon realize you made a mistake and how much is it going to cost to go through the process all over again. My father often corrected me, saying “you never have enough time to do it right, but you always find the time to do it over”. No argument there. Our objective is to help you do it right the first time. I understand there can be great pride in knowing you did it yourself. That joy can only be surpassed by knowing you did it well.

Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us through this web site. Take a look at our gallery and see some of the people we helped and the end result of a collaboration.

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