Posted on September 5, 2013 by Dennis Salazar

The Pros and Cons of Custom Printing Boxes on White Corrugated Board

We are very well known for our ecofriendly Globe Guard® boxes that are 100% recycled content, so not surprisingly well over 90% of our work is in natural Kraft (brown) board. Yet there are some distinct advantages of utilizing white board, primarily if you plan to custom print your boxes.

Why I Usually Do NOT Recommend White Boxes

Let’s be up front with the negatives and get them out of the way. There are really only three major disadvantages of white boxes:

  1. They are anywhere from 5 to 10% more expensive depending on the type of white board you select and if you require the white inside and out, or just on the outside.
  2. White boxes tend to look great when they ship and not so hot when they arrive at the customer’s home or facility. White tends to show off every smudge, finger print and conveyor belt mark it encountered along the way.
  3. White boxes are typically considered not very green by a green-minded consumer because they assume the box has been bleached and/or is using virgin board. (BTW, only the latter is true).

Two side, one color print on white inside and outCorrugated White Board Options

In addition to the whole white out or white inside and out question, even though they may be known by different names, depending on the mill making them, there are basically only three different “types” of white board available:

  1. Oyster white, aka white top, aka KLA white, aka mottle white – regardless of what it is called, it is white that is only applied to surface of the outside liner. This is fairly obvious to the experienced eye or you can easily peel off the white with a piece of tape.
  2. Bleached white – unlike its superficial cousin above, the outside liner is completely and totally white throughout. Once again, this is fairly obvious when you look at a cross section of the board, exposing the inner, outer and medium.
  3. Kemi White – this is the “deluxe” white that offers an unusual slightly glossy, finished surface, making it ideal for retail applications such as POP displays.

There are numerous factors that impact price, but the usual cost difference between each of these three grades of white board is only approximately 10% – 15%. The real difference may be one of availability where the better the board grade, typically the higher the minimum.

die cut mailer printed 2 color on white outWhy Use White Corrugated Board at All?

  1. White provides a more consistent background and base color for over printing. Natural brown Kraft corrugated tends to vary in color. That is fine when printing extreme colors like black or white, but it can really affect neutrals and pastels including gray, beige and some shades of green.
  2. White prints beautifully and colors appear to be truer and brighter. While printing on Kraft has a tendency of making colors darker, white will usually make any color brighter, enhancing the design.
  3. White is a color too!  As you can see by some of the photos included in this post, one ink color can be combined with the white surface to create a two color look. Or two colors can be printed on white to create a three color design, especially if you reverse print some or all of the copy. This not only reduces the cost of the box, it also reduces the plate cost.

Keep in mind when it comes to the flexographic print process there are very few hard and fast rules. What we have provided here are some basic guidelines based on decades of packaging experience which is the greatest benefit we offer our customers.

Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact Salazar Packaging for a no cost, no obligation review of your specific needs. We will provide templates, give you color charts to work with, offer expert guidance and if you do not have an experienced graphic artist, we will even recommend one to you.

We take most of the fear and all of the costly mistakes out of your custom printed box application.

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