Posted on July 7, 2022 by Michael Boik

Should my Printed Box be Used as a Shipper?

It’s a question that arises often, and one that has no simple or blanket answer. As we like to say, there is no one size fits all solution in this industry, and this is no exception. We understand that when you are spending added cost to custom print your packaging, you should be considering what your customer will be experiencing upon receiving the packaging from a visual, presentation standpoint. Ensuring that your branding does not go unnoticed should be a priority. Or, in other words, getting the most bang for your buck.

Our corrugated die cut mailers are fully intended as shipping boxes. From a purely safety and protection aspect, they are designed for this purpose. However, printed boxes are about presentation, just as much as they are about protection. The following are questions you should be asking to help determine the best solution.

What is the box size?

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect when considering this topic, is the fact that your box will require a shipping label (typically 4×6 in size). This means that for any box that is (roughly) 7×5 or less, the majority of one side of your box will be completely covered by a label. If you have your graphics on the inside of the box, this is one way to avoid this issue. Another is to print on the top of the box and place the label on the bottom. However, many companies we work with will ship their branded box within a plain outer shipper or a poly bag if the box is small enough where the shipping label becomes the dominant presence.

Where are your graphics?

Similar to the above point, if your graphics are featured entirely on the exterior of the box, then you have to consider the effects of shipping. Aside from the shipping label, the exterior will be exposed to the elements (weather, rain) as well as smudges, scrapes, and other perils in transit. So your beautifully printed box may not arrive looking as crisp, clean and perfect as intended. However, if the print is on the interior, then it is protected from these concerns.

What are your graphics/board color?

Again, tying into the previous point, but this is certainly something to consider because not all printed boxes will face the travel conditions equally. For example, a white exterior board color with 1 color print, will likely show a lot of dark scuffs upon arrival. However, a kraft board with a dark ink color like the examples pictured here will likely hide most of the scuffs. For this reason, many customers choose a dark exterior with contrasting white interior combination.

Additionally, if your branded box is a digital print or a litho label, then you’ve spent added costs to ensure your graphics look great. A digital or litho label print can be as much as two to three times more expensive than a flexographic printed box, so perhaps the justification for a shipper box or bag to protect the graphics is higher.

What is the cost comparison?

What is the cost difference between exterior and interior printing? Is it more expensive to print inside than to print outside and ship within another box? Will it be cheaper to buy a smaller box and put inside a poly mailer to ship than to buy a larger box and ship as is? These are the questions we can help answer with a free, no obligation consultation with one of our packaging advisors today!


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As always, if you have any questions on any of our products or services, one of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at


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