Category Archives: Corrugated / Cardboard

What’s the difference between corrugated and cardboard? What corrugated strengths are available for boxes? How is it made? Learn all about our favorite material.

A Brave New World for Shipping Boxes and Containers: Cost-Cutting Deliveries Boost Cardboard Industry

The future of cardboard and corrugated packaging may rest with some of the giants of the delivery business. Amazon has already moved toward sending lightweight packages with the help of the U.S. Postal Service; now it may be contemplating hiring local delivery personnel to manage last-mile services in urban and rural areas. By working with these individuals on an as-needed basis, companies like Amazon can significantly reduce their costs for shipping items over extended distances. The packaging required for these new shipping methods, however, will have to meet even more stringent requirements to stand up to the potential inexperience of these new delivery providers.

Custom Shipping Box for Amazon
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Five Jaw Dropping Examples of Custom Cardboard Designs You Never Imagined

The things that people can do with custom cardboard designs these days are simply amazing. Unique cardboard creations such as lamps, furniture, pyramids and other products certainly couldn’t have been imaginable to most professionals in the cardboard manufacturing industry 50 years ago. Read on as we describe five of the most jaw-dropping examples of custom cardboard creations from recent endeavors in the worlds of art, design and retailing. For vendors, online business owners and retail storeowners, these customized designs should serve as an example of the creative kinds of things you can do with your packing and shipping boxes. Keep reading to learn more about the possibilities.

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The Unique and Versatile Packaging Medium of Die Cut Kraft Boxes

Die cut kraft boxes are essential to modern packaging for major vendors and retailers, and even for small business owners who operate out of home offices. These boxes are used to package and ship products from coast to coast and across the globe. But what is a die cut box? In basic terms, it is any box that was created using a die that stamps out boxes from a section of printed or plain sheet stock. And what makes one box a “kraft” box as opposed to others? Essentially, kraft paperboard is a type of cardboard made from chemical pulp during the kraft process, which is then used to create these unique and versatile retail packages. There is much more to this medium than meets the eye, though, as the following post will explain.

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Take a Cue from Cereal Companies and Get Creative with Unique Cardboard Boxes

Many companies have realized the benefits of using unique cardboard boxes for their packaging, rather than saving time and money on a plain brown box, long ago. Cereal companies are one of the first examples that come to mind. One trip down the cereal aisle provides countless examples of how cereal companies get creative with the design of their cardboard boxes. For many, a trip down the cereal aisle serves as a trip down memory lane, conjuring up some colorful memories from childhood. The thick corrugated boxes used for retail packaging and shipping are manufactured to a much higher standard than the thin fiber folding carton material used for cereal packaging, but we can still learn a great deal from the boxes’ vibrant designs. Here are a few brand-boosting cues to follow.

Fantasy Characters and Fun Cartoons
Many of the most memorable cereal boxes from our childhoods were adorned with cartoon characters that caught kids’ attention and made breakfast a fantastical experience. From Tony the Tiger to Count Chocula to the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, there are countless cartoon characters that have graced cereal boxes for decades. If you feel this sort of fantasy play complements your brand and products, why not integrate a little cartoon fun into your logo and packaging? It could be the biggest boost your brand has ever seen, judging by the success of these cereal brands.
Lucky Charms Printed Box

Vibrant Colors and Big Graphics
Cartoon characters living in fantasy worlds aren’t necessarily appropriate for all products, or even all cereals. When cereal manufacturers target adults – who are more likely to be concerned with diet and health – they often use bright colors set against a plain (often white) background with big graphics that zoom in on an image of the cereal. When you can see the details of the product close-up, you may be more likely to trust what you’ll find inside. (And when you’re hungry, those giant oat and nut clusters may be enough to seal the deal!)

Celebrity Endorsements
Wheaties is famous for its celebrity endorsements, which showcase some of the world’s most prestigious athletes in their primes, often fresh off a win in the Olympics or other major international competition. While you may not have this level of celebrity endorsement for your brand, it may be a good idea to incorporate any endorsements you have received from trustworthy sources whom your audiences will likely recognize. This will add credibility to your brand identity and help boost the perceived prestige of your products.

These above examples show how cereal manufacturers use unique cardboard boxes to give their companies more visibility and build brand identity. There’s no reason businesses in other retail industries shouldn’t take a cue from these companies and get creative in their own packaging. While there are major differences between the thin solid fiber cardboard used for cereal boxes and the thick corrugated cardboard used for most high-end retail packaging and shipping boxes, we can all take a cue from the creativity found in the design of cereal boxes. So, are you ready to get creative with your company’s cardboard boxes?

To start your own project click here or contact us and we’ll help you with all your questions.

How to Tell if You’re Working with a Quality Corrugated Box Manufacturer

Finding a quality corrugated box manufacturer is essential for retailers and vendors. A corrugated box does more than just hold an item; the box creates a sense of brand identity and protects the product from harm during every step it takes from the manufacturing plant to a customer’s hands.

But how do you know you’re working with a quality manufacturer? Can you ever be sure? Luckily, there are several ways to distinguish reliable, reputable, and skilled manufacturers from the bad apples peddling bargain-basement boxes that will fail to live up to your expectations. If you’re looking to place an order for corrugated boxes, here are a few ways to tell if you’re working with a quality manufacturer.

Corrugated Box Manufacturer
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How the C-Series Boxes Dominated the Online Subscription-Box Market

When it comes to custom printed product boxes, a little thing called the “C-Series” is dominating the online box club market. The C-Series box, one of the most popular styles available, is also one of the most versatile. Using durable corrugated board and various color printing techniques depending on the specifications of the customer, it’s possible to manufacture incredibly creative and structurally sound promotional shipping boxes in the auto-locking C-Series style.

Printed Auto-locking box - C-Series Box

It’s particularly popular for clothing and food retailers that ship their products directly to customers, whether selling individual items or sending samples as part of a monthly subscription club. Here are some shining examples of C-Series design and color printing options that show just how this box is dominating the online subscription-box market.

Kona Kase
This burgeoning Washington, DC company is making a name for itself in the endurance athlete community with a subscription service that sends new supplements, foods, and meal replacement products to members each month. The die-cut C-series packing box for Kona Kase utilizes white text against a pair of striking colors to achieve a multi-hued look that appears to be even more complex than it actually is.

Sage Spoonfuls
Sage Spoonfuls is a subscription box club that offers “all the tools you need to make healthy, delicious and affordable food for your baby.” The custom die-cut C-Series shipping boxes they have been using were designed with a litho-laminated, four-color process that achieves a bright, attention-grabbing effect that is both visually appealing and revealing about the product.

Stitch Fix
This subscription box club provides a fashionable and affordable way for busy, professional women to get new clothing on a monthly basis. Members take a style quiz on the company’s website, receive clothing and jewelry based on their preferences in the mail each month, and simply send back the items they don’t want to purchase. With simply yet artfully designed C-Series boxes adorned with the company logo and other pertinent info, there’s no forgetting the Stitch Fix brand, even when the clothes have come and gone.

Trunk Club
The Trunk Club is similar to Stitch Fix, but designed for men. Members begin by taking a style survey and connecting with a Trunk Club stylist, who seeks out the best clothing based on the style, preferences, and size of each customer. Customers have the opportunity to see the contents of each “trunk” before it ships, and (assuming they approve) the items are sent directly to their address. Like other clothing-of-the-month clubs, members only pay for what they want to keep, and have 10 days to return the rest – with free shipping – before requesting another “trunk.” The “trunks” are really just custom-printed C-Series boxes adorned with a stylish design that gives a nod to the shipping trunks of bygone eras.

With so many examples of C-Series custom printed product boxes, it’s easy to see why this shipping package is dominating the online subscription-box market. It’s a wonder why anyone would do it any other way. Start here or contact us to learn more.

Top 3 Benefits of Choosing Corrugated Shipping Boxes

If you aren’t transporting your precious cargo to customers in corrugated shipping boxes, then you may be putting your products at risk. It’s not uncommon to see shipping boxes that have suffered noticeable damage, and once that happens there’s little chance of protecting the products inside a thin box. Bargain-basement shipping boxes are made from thin cardboard that just isn’t going to cut it after being thrown around, pushed, kicked, dropped, scratched, and otherwise pummeled in trucks and warehouses. Shipments that reach their destinations with damaged products inside must be returned and/or replaced, with the additional costs eating away at suppliers’ profit margins. If you are concerned about the safety of your products being shipped to stores and distributors, then you should definitely learn more about the benefits of corrugated. A few of the top benefits are listed below.

A Better Canvas for Branding
Corrugated Shipping Box
Unlike cheap, thin, cardboard boxes, corrugated boxes are perfect for even the most complicated graphics and detailed text. This is why corrugated makes a better canvas for branding. A thick and durable material is a better canvas for tiny printing numbers, text in varying fonts, bold graphics, bright colors, and eye-catching logos. People will remember your brand in a much more positive light when they see your logo, information, and designs well-represented on the boxes you choose to ship your products in.

A More Customizable Option
The customizable nature of corrugated packaging makes it a popular choice for suppliers looking to ship a wide variety of products with varying shapes and differing needs in terms of thickness and protection. Shipments going longer distances, for example, might require thicker packaging. Unusually shaped products will also need a customized shipping option. There is a corrugated box for every occasion, and they can be customized with multi-color printing and artful designs. There are even corrugated materials that have been coated to make them tear-resistant, static-resistant, or flame-resistant.

Superior Material Characteristics
The characteristics of the materials used in a corrugated shipping box simply make it a far superior option compared to the poor characteristics of traditional cardboard or thin plastic materials. The triple-layered fiberboard sheets of a corrugated box are designed to hold a higher amount of weight, and better protect the products inside even when they get heavy. And, since corrugated boxes are recyclable, reusable, and often made from part or all recycled materials, they are also very “green.”

There are many benefits of using corrugated shipping boxes rather than cutting corners with a bargain-basement cardboard box. At the end of the day, you will get what you pay for, and saving a few dollars with cheaper shipping materials will leave your products with less protection on the road. Corrugated boxes can even be reused after shipping for a variety of purposes from storage to displays, so their versatility goes far beyond the world of shipping. With the ability to build brand identity through high-end printing on customized boxes made from a superior material, corrugated might just be the top choice for your shipping needs.

Top Questions to Ask Your Custom Corrugated Box Supplier

If you ship your products in custom corrugated boxes, it’s important to know that you’re working with a high-quality and reputable supplier. But how do you know whether your supplier is up to your standard of quality? Asking the following types of questions is a good place to start:

  1. Customer Service Expectations
    Make sure to ask your custom box supplier what kind of customer service you can expect before making a deal. Will they be there to give you tracking information for an existing order? Do they offer live chat for your convenience? The answers to these questions will help you determine whether this is the right company for your needs and will also give you a realistic view of what to expect while working with them.
  2. Length of Lead Time
    You will need to ask your supplier how long their lead time is in order to determine the cutoff date for your team to place a packaging order in time for your shipping deadlines, and whether that timeframe will work for the kinds of projects you tend to complete.
  3. Meeting the Deadline
    Before you go any further, it’s important to consider your typical deadline and ask your supplier if they can meet it. Getting a price commitment in writing early on will make things smoother down the line. Companies that boast a 99% deadline meeting rate (or higher) are your best bet.
  4. Price Quote
    Can they give you a free and no-obligation price quote? A reputable supplier will make it easy to contact them and get a free quote for custom boxes or freight shipping, whether it’s over the phone or online.
  5. Range of Products
    Do they just offer plain boxes or boxes with one-color direct printing, or do they also offer boxes with two-color printing, versatile art and logo design capabilities, and a wide range of high-end printing services? Your suppliers’ capabilities should be sufficient to serve your needs now and into the future.
    Custom Printed Boxes
  6. Regarding Guarantees
    Always ask whether your packaging company offers a guarantee and what it entails. This will let you know how firmly they stand behind their products and services.
  7. Technical Features
    Does your supplier offer special features, like an online box configuration tool, that makes it easier to order your customized shipping boxes and receive them as quickly as the next day? How big is their manufacturing plant, and how large and well-equipped is their design staff? These technical questions will really help you figure out which supplier is on the cutting edge.
  8. Years in Business
    You definitely want to ask how long the supplier has been in business before trusting them with packaging your products. Have they been in business for 50 years, or five years? Their depth of skill, understanding, and reputation will often depend on the answer.

The custom corrugated boxes you ship your products in can serve as the face of your brand to everyone who sees the package in transit, especially those on the opening side. So, is your supplier up to your standards?

Corrugated Gingerbread House Competition

For some holiday fun this year, Custom Boxes Now and Creative Displays Now sent out gingerbread house kits to some of their customers. The kits had a corrugated house structure (props to our amazing structural designers), assembly instructions, and some candy treats to get the decoration started.

We were impressed by the creativity and detail that resulted. Check out some of the amazing creations!

Amy_Gladden_St_Jude_1a

Anders_Korsgren_Questar_1a

Andi_Sirek_Metro_Hardwoods_1a

Andrew_Bourne_Digi-Key_1a

Art_Ives_Dedicated_Networks_1

Brad_Zimmer_Travel_Tags_1b

Britteny_Bratschi_St_Jude_1a

Chris_Nelson_Foam_Industries_1c

Denise_Herman_St_Jude_1a

Donny_Green_Barn_Garden_Center_1a

Greg_Bleck_Vexilar_1

Jane_M_Kurt_Mfg_1a

Jessica_Tatge_R-D_Systems_1d

Kelsey_Baker_1

Lelei_Canham_Green_Bay_Packaging_1a

Lelei_Canham_Green_Bay_Packaging_1c

Lelei_Canham_Green_Bay_Packaging_1d

Michelle_Hall_Veritiv_Unisource_1a

Oleg_Arsen_H_1b

Rachel_Knutson_1b

Shannon_Lindhaus_USA_1b

Ted_Kolberg_Vertiv_Unisource_1

Teri_Whittlef_Marketing_Architects_1

Wendy_Kocon_Mello_Smello_1b

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What is the Difference between Cardboard and Corrugated Shipping Boxes?


When ordering custom made shipping boxes to transport products to customers, many businesses initially assume that all boxes are merely made of cardboard. And if they have heard of corrugated, business owners might think there is no real difference between a cardboard and a corrugated shipping box. In fact, many people just assume that the terms “cardboard” and “corrugated” can be used interchangeably. Those in the packaging industry, however, likely think of corrugated first when they think of shipping packages. If you’re confused with all this terminology, you’re not alone, but the difference is actually quite important. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between these two materials and decide which is right for your shipping needs.

Why the Cardboard/Corrugated Difference Matters
So, for a business owner or manager, does the difference between cardboard and corrugated shipping materials really matter? Considering that these are two different materials, and not the same thing as many people believe, it clearly does matter. When choosing the right materials to ship your products in, you need to know what kind of packaging you’re actually getting. Otherwise you may not be representing your brand as well as you think you are.

What Makes a Cardboard Box?
When it comes down to it, the term “cardboard” can be used to describe any type of board made from heavy paper-pulp. This could apply to the material used to make greeting cards or playing cards, for example. It could also apply to the thin chipboard that is used to manufacture cereal boxes. While corrugated materials may include some cardboard in them, it’s important to know that these terms cannot be used interchangeably.

What’s the Difference with a Corrugated Box?
The term “corrugated” refers to a specific type of material that is actually composed of three different sheets of container board, which are basically like thick paperboard. The two sheets on the outside are flat liners and the sheet in the middle has a rippled shape. A corrugated fiberboard sheet is created by gluing these three sheets together with a thick, starchy glue that is commonly used in the packaging industry.

Corrugated vs Cardboard

When formed into boxes, corrugated sheets are ideal for shipping because they can easily be printed on, they are very strong and durable, and they are widely recycled. Corrugated boxes are used for everything from shipping to product displays, and although they start out brown they can be quickly be transformed with a wide variety of colors, designs, text, and graphics printed directly on the material.

While the differences may seem insignificant at first, it should now be easy to see that cardboard is better left for the cards and cereal boxes. Corrugated, on the other hand, is the material of choice for shipping boxes. It isn’t an overly complicated definition, but an important one to remember when it comes time to order custom made shipping boxes. Just don’t ever think a simple cardboard box is enough to ship your precious products in. For such an important task, you must always remember to turn to corrugated.

Ready to create your custom box? Come check out our box configurator!


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