How to Craft Killer Packaging Without Breaking the Bank (At Any Budget)


If you’re in the business of shipping goods to your customers, you already know that beautiful presentation is essential.

And excitement is infectious.

If you can get your customers to share their unboxing thrill of opening up your packages on their social media channels or through word of mouth – you’re golden.  

Maybe you’ve perused a few unboxing videos and are wondering how you too can get that added wow factor. Some unboxing videos are over the top, and unless you’re shipping luxury items, are likely out of your budget. But don’t let that discourage you.  

You don’t have to spend a fortune to give your customers a memorable brand experience.   

Stand Out with Beautiful Packaging


eCommerce is booming as more and more people are making online purchases.  

Last year alone, American consumers spent a staggering $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases. But with these rampant online purchases comes new expectations.  

It’s no longer enough to ship your items in boring, no-frills packaging.  

People want a personalized, special experience when that box arrives on their doorstep.

Beautiful packaging will get you noticed and make you stand apart from your competition. A survey by Shorr found that 67% of people were likely or very likely to take notice of customized packaging. So, it’s safe to say that your custom packaging won’t go unnoticed.  

Packaging Should Reflect Who You Are

Packaging Should Reflect Who You Are custom box budgets

You know your packaging needs to look good, but what that means is different for different companies.

First off, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish with your packaging.

Even if you’re not a flashy company austere, boring packaging isn’t going to get anyone excited.

Companies of all sizes are now appreciating the importance of the overall experience.

So, start by defining your brand goals. What are your company values? What kind of message do you want to convey to your customers? If you’re a fun-loving company, your packaging should reflect that. Perhaps you want to try out bright, peppy colors, or inject some humor.

Next, figure out your customers’ values. Are they looking for a company that values the environment? If so, maybe you want to use sustainable packaging and natural colors.  

Finally, you need to consider your budget. And when thinking about affordability, don’t forget to account for your time. If you can speed up your fulfillment process, it might be worth spending a little more on your packaging.

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Think Outside the Printed Box

Alright, we can all appreciate that custom printed boxes are awesome. But they’re not the only branded packaging option you have. Don’t get stuck on one idea. You can impress your customers with a fully branded box that’s not printed too.  

Check out some of these ideas to get you started:

  • Use a custom rubber stamp to put your logo on the box. Stamps come in all types of sizes, so for bigger impact invest in an extra large stamp to cover the front of your box.  
  • Stickers are another great, low-cost way to promote your brand.  
  • You can spice up a plain brown box with branded or colorful tape to seal it up.
  • Who says it has to be a box? If your products aren’t fragile try flexible, printed kraft or poly mailers.

Of course, the box is only one element of your memorable packaging.  

You can fully customize and beautify your internal packaging for maximum protection and branding. Add colorful tissue paper or crinkle cut kraft paper to cushion your products. Added extras like small gifts, or a simple thank you note also increase the wow factor.

Source Cost-Friendly Materials

Source Cost-Friendly Materials packaging budget

As with everything in life, not all products are created equal or have the same price, so devote some time to doing research to save money. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the overall look.  

Here’s how you can save some money that will add up over time:

  • Whenever possible, buy in bulk, as that will lower the price.
  • Use generic supplies. Shop around and read reviews to make sure you’re still getting a quality product.
  • Buy smaller stickers. Sure that 12-inch sticker would look awesome on your box, but maybe you can make do with a more affordable, smaller sticker at this point.
  • If you don’t need a lot of protection, poly bags offer big savings compared to boxes.  And they can still be beautifully branded.

Read our guide on how custom boxes can actually save you money.

Shop Around

If you have a slightly larger budget, you may want to up your game and invest in custom boxes for your products.  There are many options out there, so be prepared to do some digging to find a good fit.

To help you find the best price, start your research by asking these questions:

  • What’s the minimum box order? Some companies cater to larger businesses.  Requiring a minimum order of 1,000 boxes at a time is going to cut out a lot of start-ups and smaller shops. Look for companies that offer ultra-low minimums to get you started.  
  • How many colors do you need on the box? Are you looking for a single color or unlimited printing options with all the colors in the rainbow? Digital printing is more expensive than the traditional flexographic printing method, but you have more color options since additional colors don’t cost extra and there are lower minimums.
  • Do you need the logo covering the whole box or just a small section?
  • What kind of design tools are available? Can you upload your own logo design?  Some sites offer intuitive online design tools, so you can easily come up with your own unique design. Others offer box design inspiration to get you started.
  • How much do custom boxes cost? Prices for custom boxes varies widely. A typical 12 x 12 x 12 box can cost you anywhere from under $2 to upwards of $7 a box.
  • What kind of customer support is available? Does the company have someone to help you with your design?
  • Can you order a sample box, so you’re sure of what you’re getting?  
  • Do you really need a custom size box? Standard size boxes come in all shapes and sizes. There’s likely one that will fit your merch, which can save you big bucks.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Sometimes it’s the little things that can derail your spending expectations.  

When you’re coming up with your packaging budget, keep these things in mind:

  • Don’t forget to account for shipping costs. If you order boxes that are too big, or you fill your products with heavy void fill, you’re gonna pay for it. Shipping costs can add up fast and cut into your bottom line. While you’re at it, read our ultimate guide to shipping and fulfillment to make sure you understand everything you’ll need to know.
  • Always thoroughly review the design proof. Check your spelling, colors, and fonts.  Make sure everything’s exactly how you like it. You don’t want to be on the hook for costly mistakes.
  • Also, remember to take into account turnaround time and order ahead of time.  Rush orders are doable, but it’s going to cost you.


You don’t have to spend a fortune to get beautiful packaging.  

No matter the size of your business or what you’re selling it’s important to present your shipped goods in the best light.  

Don’t make excuses, saying you don’t have the money or time. With a little research and creativity, there’s an option for you.

Ready to think outside the box? Let's get started!

Get in touch with a custom packaging specialist now for a free consultation and instant price quote.

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