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.

4 Trends Causing the Corrugated Box Industry to Grow

Corrugated box styles and design have come a long way since 1856, when the patent was approved for the first known corrugated material, used in England as sweatband lining for men’s tall hats. Since then, corrugated materials have been through a rapid evolution. In 1871 unlined corrugated was first used to package glass and kerosene lamp chimneys, and the material was first cut and slotted to fold into boxes in 1894.

1-Color Reverse Out Print on White Die Cut Auto-Lock 071

Manufacturers began using corrugated boxes to ship multitudes of products, and throughout the 20th century, development of rubber printing plates, flexographic printing, flexo folder-glue, preprinted linerboard, anilox technology, and edge crushing brought us to the corrugated boxes we know today. Here are four of the latest trends that continue keeping the corrugated box industry moving forward.

As Lightweight As Possible
Corrugated box producers are constantly striving to reduce the weight of their products, and they continue to achieve great results. Companies that ship their products long distances often need to keep their overall packaging weight to a minimum in a concerted effort to remain within budget of their targeted operational costs. One way to achieve this is by continually developing more lightweight corrugated boxes. Today’s lightweight containerboards can handle surprising capacities and weights. The durability and strength of shipping materials ensures products are packaged and shipped safely, allowing for secure delivery of products that remain in tact throughout the shipping experience.

Boxes for the Online Shopping Craze
There is no end in sight to the popularity of online shopping. It’s unbelievably convenient, there is a virtually unlimited selection of products and comparison shopping generally makes it possible for consumers to save big money. Oftentimes, retailers can simplify the box designs for their online sales because the purchase is made long before the consumer sees the box. There is still plenty of room for innovative designs, graphics and brand recognition with the shipping boxes for online orders, though.

Environmentally-Friendly Corrugated Boxes
New developments in technology that reduce the amount of paper used in corrugated box manufacturing, combined with more innovative designs and greater recycling possibilities, have made it possible for the development of much more sustainable and environmentally-friendly corrugated boxes. Not only do “green” consumers enjoy seeing the mark of sustainability; these sustainable practices are also often more efficient and cost-effective for businesses, making it a win on both sides.

Rapid Advances in Printing
While simple and environmentally-friendly packaging is on the rise, the demand for point-of-sale displays, merchandising units and retail-ready packaging has also increased. This has spurred advances in printing that enable photorealistic images on displays and boxes, with smart marketing to go along with it. A little branding goes a long way in your brand imaging efforts. It’s well worth looking into the potential of taking advantage of the new technological capabilities for printing and packaging.

Advances are still being made to change the face of the important innovations in packing and shipping. Keep your eye out for more of the latest trends in corrugated box styles and design.

Top Packaging Design Pitfalls to Avoid

The most successful products can have packaging design pitfalls from time to time, even when the packaging design seems flawless. Take, for example, the packaging for the new iPhone 6. A customer in Perth, Australia was filmed opening the phone’s package shortly after he waited in line to purchase the new model from an Apple store on the day it was released. Apple employs full time box openers just so they can create the perfect unpackaging experience, but that didn’t stop this Aussie customer from dropping the phone when he popped the top of the iPhone 6 box for the film crew that was there interviewing customers. And if the Packaging King can experience a pitfall, what about the rest of us? Here are a few of the most common pitfalls you will want to keep in mind and attempt to avoid in your packaging design:

  1. Extra Space in the Box
    If you are launching a relatively new product that doesn’t have much market awareness yet, watch the size of the packaging. If your product is much smaller than its package, customers may be disappointed. The pitfall? Retailers could choose not to order any more of your product just based on this factor alone. If there is no need for the extra space, then use a smaller box.
  2. Inappropriately Large Boxes
    Retailers also might not want to carry your product if it comes in a much larger box than other comparable products, simply because it takes up too much shelf space. Do your homework and see what the industry norms are. Since larger boxes take up more room, shelf space is an issue and could be a determining factor on where you end up on the store shelves.
  3. Insufficient Room for Labels
    If applicable, always remember to leave a little extra room in the specified label area of your packaging. Allowing enough tolerance will make it easier down the line and will eliminate the need to go back to the drawing board in a few months when you realize you need more room to play with.
  4. More Assembly Required
    If you choose to cut costs by ordering boxes that require additional assembly, it could be a pitfall for you in the end. As demand for your product increases, you may find the additional time wasted assembling boxes negates any cost savings you might have initially experienced. Taking the time to order custom, made-for-your-product packaging up front will streamline your process as you grow in the market space.
    Printed Box with Easy Setup in Retail
  5. Oddly Shaped Boxes
    A unique box design isn’t necessarily good if it keeps the box from being stackable. Packages should stack conveniently onto a store shelf, or come in larger merchandising boxes that can be stacked.
  6. Too Many Unnecessarily Frills
    Decoration is good to a certain point, but don’t go overboard with flaps, tags and other frills. These decorations can be easily damaged and will ultimately leave your product looking worse than if it were in a plain brown box.

Despite some pitfalls there are correct ways to go about packaging design; you should be better prepared to create the ideal un-packaging experience.

Custom Cardboard Boxes Can Hold More Value Than You Probably Think

Custom cardboard boxes can hold a whole lot more than you probably think. How much, you ask? Nearly a ton, according to recent reports, and you can even still get free shipping on something that heavy. One of the most popular online retailers is willing to ship items this weighty, and with the right packaging they will make sure it reaches your front door without a single S&H charge. This kind of shipping takes a special kind of box, with very special attention and care taken during the packaging process. Fortunately, custom box makers are prepared to design packages for nearly any kind of product, big or small. Maybe one day someone will actually order something this heavy to be delivered to their door, but for now we can only speculate and marvel at the wonders of modern packaging and shipping.

It All Started With Free Shipping
Most packages that are delivered to online customers’ doors are fairly nondescript and don’t weigh much more than, say, 50 pounds. Normally anything heavier than this would come with a hefty fee, but anyone who shops online at Amazon knows that the company offers free shipping on most products as long as you shop within their guidelines. This applies to customers who either use the Super Saver shipping (which may take several weeks) or pay the Amazon Prime annual membership fee (which allows you to select express shipping free of charge). Also, anyone who shops online at Amazon is probably very familiar with the logo that appears on every Amazon box.

A Newspaper Puts Free Shipping to the Test
The folks at Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch went on a mission to test how committed Amazon truly is to giving their customers free shipping, and along the way they proved just how big of a box a shipper might want and need to make a customer’s wish come true. The journal did its research and found that the heaviest product Amazon is willing to package and ship is the CO54 Commander Series Premium 90 Minute Fire Safe by Cannon Safe. This 6-foot-tall safe weighs more than 1,500 pounds (before packaging), costs nearly $3,500 and is capable of holding as many as 48 guns. It may not be fun for the Amazon employees who have to package it, or the FedEx employees who have to transport it, but you can have this behemoth delivered to your front door, in custom packaging, without paying a single penny in shipping and handling.

Shipping Boxes for Heavy Products

One may wonder how Amazon can afford to have custom cardboard boxes produced and pay the shipping costs for massive items like this, since they could potentially lose money on such endeavors. With so many customers willing to pay extra to have a product shipped overnight or within a few days, though, the retailer still manages to come out on top. And with the free advertising they get every time a customer orders something that’s delivered in their signature designed box, it’s all worthwhile in the end.

Lessons to Learn From Apple, the Leader in Tech-Product Packaging

You might not think that corrugated boxes and other common packaging mediums are very exciting. But think for a second about how packaging can contribute to the overall retail experience and even justify spending more on a premium product, and your view might change. One of the best possible examples of this excitement over a simple box is the overwhelming success of Apple products over the last decade or so.

Apple iPhone Shipping Box - Branded Box

If you don’t see the connection yet, all you need to do is watch someone opening up a box containing one of those precious computing devices. For the millions of people who purchase Apple products each year, from iPods to iPhones to iPads and more, the un-packaging experience is often one of the most exciting parts of bringing the new “toy” home. It seems there’s a lot for other companies to learn from this retail packaging guru, including the following valuable lessons.

Research is the Only Way to Create the Perfect Box
Packaging gurus like the experts at Apple take the time to perform careful research in order to create a fever pitch of retail bliss for consumers. According to Adam Lashinsky, author of Inside Apple, the company operates a top-secret packaging room at its headquarters where this research takes place.

Packaging Perfection Requires Dedicated Manpower
Apple’s packaging can serve as inspiration to other companies in virtually any commercial market. And this certainly isn’t by mistake. In fact, Apple even employs a full-time designer with the sole purpose of perfecting its packaging. This designer is one of the few people allowed into the company’s packaging room, with the singular purpose of opening boxes.

It Takes Hundreds of Prototypes to Get It Right
The designers at Apple have developed hundreds of prototypes that fill up the packaging room for months before they hone in on the perfect box, say insiders like Lashinsky. The goal is to create a very specific emotional experience for customers who purchase one of the products contained in these boxes. And they don’t rest until they get it right.

A Box is Much More Than Just a Box
While it may seem silly to spend so much time on a box when what really matters is the product inside, there is no denying the success of companies like Apple that create a memorable un-packaging experience for their customers. Everything from the text and arrows to colors and shapes to the tiny tabs that customers pull off to release a sticker when opening the box are carefully designed. The end result is a packaging experience that says as much about the brand, if not more, than the product itself.

The main lesson to be learned here is that simply having a good product is no longer enough to succeed in the modern marketplace. But with the right custom box features carefully chosen colors, designs, logos and other packaging details, it’s possible to sell a state of mind that exists completely separate from the product itself.

The Perfect Custom Box Leads Domino’s Fastest Box Folder into History

With custom shipping boxes that are big enough to hold a car and product packages that are designed to create a jaw-dropping unveiling experience for consumers once they leave the store, boxes are much more than just simple pieces of cardboard in today’s consumer market. And the excitement around the now seemingly limitless possibilities of a carefully designed cardboard box have even reached the pizza industry. While virtually every person who hasn’t been living under a rock their entire life has eaten from or at least seen a pizza box, few of us have likely given the box much thought. And it’s even less likely that many among us have given much thought to who folded our pizza box or how fast they folded it. Until now, that is.

“Fastest Box Folder” Gains TV and Internet Fame
Getting your food delivered faster than the competitors has been the goal of many pizza chains for many years. This requires a carefully choreographed dance that begins with the ordering of the food, which then makes its way through the assembly line, ending with the finished pizza(s) being boxed up and delivered within moments of coming out of the oven. Some pizza chains are encouraging more customers to carry out their orders instead of ordering delivery, though, by offering special carryout deals. A recent promotion at Domino’s, for example, offers customers the chance to get a large two-topping pizza for under $6 if they carry out instead of having it delivered. As part of the advertising campaign, Domino’s Pizza brought in its “fastest box folder,” Dale Lamoureux, as an example of how they’re keeping up with the demand.

Advertisements featuring his lightning fast pizza-box folding skills have been aired across television stations as well as on the internet. As it turns out, folding and delivering boxes can even be elevated to the level of a competitive sport, making the box itself a tool of the game.

What This Means for Retailers Outside the Restaurant Biz
Retailers outside of the restaurant business might not think there are lessons to be learned from this box-folding ad campaign, but with so much buzz about a box it should be taken as a hint that packaging matters. The “un-packaging experience” of a product, whether it’s a pizza or a high-tech toy or a diamond ring, has become part of what customers pay for in this day and age. Packaging can create excitement and a memory, rather than just being discarded in an instant to get to what’s inside. Domino’s pizza boxes have become part of their branding, with their logo along with various unique and timely designs gracing every corner of the cardboard. So whether you use custom shipping boxes to deliver products to your customers’ door or boxes for items to sell right in the store, you could probably learn a thing or two from this food service stunt. The importance of product packaging as part of the consumer experience simply cannot be ignored.

Top 4 Consumer Behavior Trends That Should Influence Your Packaging

It’s safe to say that consumer behavior trends can and should have a large impact on the way companies package their products. Even the shape of your product packaging can have a huge influence on the way consumers perceive it, whether people find your goods in stores or buy them online and see the packaging for the first time when they open the box. The design of your packaging is crucial as well, including the way you position your logo and how you consider the general tastes of your target market. The materials you package your products in should also be chosen with the latest behaviors and trends of your target market in mind. If you want to keep up with your targeted consumer market, there are a few things you simply have to keep in mind to make sure all your bases are covered.

Here are four of the most important considerations businesses should make when it comes to product packaging:

  1. Convenience
    Modern consumers demand convenience in their busy and hectic lives, and this doesn’t only apply to the products themselves. A shopper is more likely to purchase a product if its packaging seems more convenient than a competitors’ packaging. It’s a good idea to keep up with current innovations in product packaging and see if you can incorporate more convenient solutions that make the whole consumer experience more positive from start to finish. There are always ways to make things easier.
  2. Design
    The way you design your products’ packaging should, of course, be aesthetically appealing to customers and include your logo to enhance brand awareness. Things like universal design are also important to consider if you want to broaden your market potential.
    Branded Shipping Box - Colored Box

    The key is to consider your targeted consumer markets, pay attention to their behaviors, watch the latest trends and customize the design of your products, packages and overall branded experience accordingly. People don’t want to feel like they’re being pandered to, but they do want to feel as if their wants, needs and preferences are being taken into consideration.

  3. Health
    It’s obviously important to avoid packaging materials that are thought to be harmful to human (or animal) health. Health is an especially important consideration for the food and beverage industry, where keeping products fresh and preserving perishable ingredients is paramount. Avoiding any materials that have been associated with choking hazards is also important. If you want to let your customers know how much you care, just make it clear what actions you’re taking to preserve their health.
  4. Sustainability
    People are more concerned about the environment than ever before. Just think about how unpopular Styrofoam has become since people became more aware of its environmental impact, for example. Today’s consumers are more likely to be turned off by packaging that isn’t considered sustainable and environmentally friendly.
    Green Packaging - Corrugated Boxes

    This means avoiding materials that are not biodegradable or recyclable, and promoting the environmentally friendly choices you have made, such as using any percentage of recycled materials in your packaging scheme.

Top 4 Industry Trends in Retail Packaging

Consumer experts are always talking about the latest retail packaging trends, and every year it seems things are evolving and advancing at a faster pace than the year before. With 2014 well underway, and retailers already gearing up for the next holiday shopping season, many branding and packaging trends have surfaced and shown themselves to be very important in the retail industry. We’ve compiled four of the top trends that retailers and industry insiders should definitely consider (if they aren’t already):

TREND #1: Benefiting from Compliance and Eco-Friendliness
From patient safety to environmental sustainability, retailers have more factors to consider in their packaging than ever before. Some of the latest trends in packaging and branding include more innovative unit-dosing designs on drug packaging, more eco-friendly food and beverage containers and more sustainable manufacturing processes. While these may seem like a lot of effort, the positive public perception to such changes can more than pay for the initial and ongoing investments. The key is to make the changes as publicly as possible in order to take advantage of the PR benefits.

TREND #2: Integration of Technology in Branding and Packaging
In the information age, many consumers already know what they’re looking for before they go to make a purchase because they’ve already done the research and considered all the facts. The most obvious way to make sales in such an environment is to offer high-quality products and maintain a positive public perception about your brand identity with as much good information as possible available for savvy consumers. This is the hard part. One simple solution to take advantage of consumers’ increased use of information technology is to integrate user-friendly apps into the branding and packaging of your products. Things like scan-able, interactive links can make your packaging more useful to consumers, and help them feel more confident in their purchases.
Printed Box with QR Code

TREND #3: New Methods for Reducing Shrinkage
Shrinkage is a big problem for retailers, whether it’s caused by the theft, damage or loss of products, or for any other reason. The more shrinkage that occurs, the fewer products there are to sell, and the smaller the profit. We are seeing many retail industry trends that increase the security of products without negatively affecting the experience for consumers. Packaging that reduces the opportunity for theft and shrinkage while simultaneously enhancing the customer experience is a major trend, for obvious reasons.

TREND #4: Smarter Safety Solutions in Packaging
While it may seem absurd or even funny, the fact that many people are injured or even sent to the emergency room every year due to overly complex, protective packaging is no laughing matter. Oftentimes, packaging engineers are more concerned with increasing security and reducing theft than they are with the safety of consumers. It should go without saying that this is not good for the public perception of retail brands. Now more packaging engineers are striving to come up with designs that protect them from theft and shrinkage while keeping consumer safety always in mind.

Custom Boxes Now: Help Center

New, average, and/or veteran box shoppers can find all the resources and information necessary to be educated about custom boxes at the Custom Boxes Now! Help Center.

Help Center - Custom Boxes Now!

From providing the basics to boxes in its Shipping Boxes 101 section, to learning about the Box Printing Process, examining Box Examples, FAQ’s, to even keeping up with its Shipping Boxes Blog, Custom Boxes Now! offers a plethora of resources to help users make a decision in the custom box process.

Custom Boxes Now! offers its users the ability to instantly configure, price, and purchase custom shipping boxes. Printing can also be added to the boxes, such as company logos and product information. Start with our online box builder or you can contact Custom Boxes Now to design custom cardboard boxes specifically for your products.

Read Up On Your Recycling Facts


Sometimes there’s some confusion over what can be recycled and what can’t. For example, a corrugated cardboard box you get in the mail that contains that thing you ordered from last week can be recycled, but the lettuce you got from the grocery store last month cannot.

Cardboard Box Recycling

There’s a great multitude of rules and exceptions, and typically, your local recycling disposal truck driver will know the ins and outs. Unfortunately, those guys are notoriously difficult to catch when they’re in your area, so if you prefer, here’s a website that will tell you more than everything you need to know:

This site covers more than just cardboard, so please take the time to read everything pertinent to your own life. You’ll be a much better-informed consumer, and you’ll help make the world a better place.

If you’re interested in purchasing boxes with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled material, feel free to contact Custom Boxes Now!

Martha Stewart’s Cardboard Crafts


Every now and then we like to share ideas with our readers on what they can do with old cardboard boxes. As it turns out, so does Martha Stewart.

She wrote an exhaustive list on her Radio Blog some time ago, telling seventy things – seventy! – you can do with your cardboard boxes at home. Among the notables are: diorama, ironing board, paint shield, coffin for Halloween, and dog house.

Corrugated Cardboard Pinata
A corrugated cardboard pinata also made Martha’s list.

It’s nice to see the queen of at-home projects helping to get cardboard repurposed on a broad scale!

Read the entire list here:

Of course, if projects aren’t your thing, we certainly encourage recycling cardboard through your proper local channels. Or, if you need some cardboard boxes freshly created just for you, perhaps with your own custom print, well, obviously, Custom Boxes Now! can help with that.