The Dos and Don'ts of Designing a Custom Box

Learn about the Dos and Don'ts when designing a custom box

Customer interaction is limited in the e-commerce world. That's why you need to transform your product packaging from a simple box into a brand ambassador. E-commerce businesses recognize the power that custom boxes have in enhancing brand identity — and so should you.

A well-designed custom box can create a strong first impression. By incorporating colors, logos, and fonts that reflect the brand's personality, you'll have packaging that reinforces your brand image and creates a cohesive experience.  

Custom boxes truly enhance the unboxing experience. They add a special touch that makes opening packages a memorable moment for customers.

Ultimately, investing in custom packaging turns your packaging into a marketing tool. This allows your businesses to stand out, connect with customers, and build a lasting brand identity.

Box Design by Hello Teddy Co
Box Design by Hello Teddy Co

Understanding the Challenges 

When you're designing a custom box, you're basically crafting the ideal gift box. You want it to look amazing and protect its content. 

However, it's not all about creating an amazing design. It’s important to take into account how a design will behave when placed on a box. Consider the impact of opening the box — will the design remain intact? 

Additionally, while a 3D representation might look flawless, real-world production nuances can disrupt the design’s intended flow and interaction with the actual boxes.

Below are some of the factors you need to pay close attention to.


Maximizing the impact on box flaps is a delightful challenge. Although they may appear small, they represent prime real estate for capturing attention with your design.


Folds can be a bit tricky. You want your fantastic design to flow smoothly from one side to the next and not get wonky as they bend and close. 

Structural Integrity

Your awesome design means nothing if the box isn't strong enough to do its job. Make sure your boxes can protect your product through careful planning and consultation with your supplier.  

The good news is that these are all challenges that designers tackle all the time. With a little planning and some friendly advice from a packaging pro, you can turn your ideas into a box that's both beautiful and functional — a true masterpiece of presentation!

Box Flaps: A Strategic Design Opportunity

Don't underestimate the little flaps on your custom box. They're prime real estate for impactful visuals. You can build brand recognition with engaging pictures or illustrations. Showcase your logo to help tell your brand story. 

Use your box flaps to provide clear instructions and reduce customer frustration. Or use that space to upsell complementary products. 

Transform your box flaps into a strategic marketing tool by designing visuals that resonate with your target audience.

QR Code on Box Flaps by Cakes by Drea

Do: Utilize High-Quality, Relevant Images

High-quality, relevant images are the secret sauce for transforming box flaps from an afterthought to a marketing masterpiece.  

First, prioritize clear visuals. Using blurry photos will make you look like an amateur. If you want to come off as a professional, double-check your photos for sharpness before adding them to your design. 

Your images also have to be relevant. Ditch generic stock photos and choose images that directly tie to your product or brand story. Next, think about how your images interact with the entire box. Does it flow seamlessly? Ensure the image complements the layout and color scheme. 

Leaving some space allows the image to breathe and deliver its message with impact. To take it further, consider collaborating with a photographer for unique visuals. 

Remember that printing has limitations. Avoid super intricate details that might get lost during production.

Anna Rowell Designs Uses Its Flaps to Connect With Customers

Don't: Overload Flaps With Information

When designing your box flaps, resist turning them into mini-novels. Bombarding customers with text is a surefire way to lose their attention. Imagine them trying to decipher a wall of information — that's not exactly a recipe for brand loyalty. 

While the flaps are prime territory for grabbing attention, you'll want to keep your message short and sweet.

Better options exist for those who need to relay complex instructions or safety warnings. 

Tuck a separate pamphlet or card inside the box for detailed explanations. This keeps the flaps clean and allows for a more user-friendly experience. 

Need to include even more information? QR codes are your friend! Customers can simply scan the code with their phone to access a webpage with all the details, freeing up precious flap space for impactful visuals that will leave a lasting impression. 

Design Patterns on Folds

You want your designs to flow smoothly from one side of your box to the next. To do that, you'll need to learn proper design layout. If you're uncomfortable doing it yourself, you can ask your box supplier to help you. 

Carlie's Creatives Pays Close Attention to Its Box Fold Lines
Carlie's Creatives Pays Close Attention to Its Box Fold Lines

Do: Leverage Fold Lines to Create Seamless Patterns 

Fold lines on your custom box are more than just creases — they're a designer's playground. Leveraging them is a smart move.  

Imagine a beautiful design pattern that flows seamlessly across the box. Isn't that nice? It creates a visually stunning effect that goes beyond flat graphics. 

But folds can do more than just look pretty. They can become interactive. A well-designed fold pattern can reveal a hidden message when the box is opened that surprises and delights customers.  

These unique folds can even become a signature element for your brand, making your packaging instantly recognizable. 

Using Solid Colors on Folds Like Pretty Resin Studio Is Better for First-Time Designers

Don't: Disrupt Patterns With Crucial Information or Logos

When designing your custom box, it's tempting to slap your logo or important info anywhere you see space. But resist the urge to disrupt your design patterns with folds. Cramming crucial info into fold lines isn't a good use of space. 

Imagine a logo split in two or text rendered unreadable by a crease. That doesn't make a good first impression. Disrupted folds also make your design look messy and unprofessional.

Instead, be a design ninja! Allocate specific panels on the box that won't be disrupted by folds for your logo and key info. This ensures everything is clear and easy to find for customers. 

Remember, lengthy instructions or warnings are better off printed on the side of boxes or on flyers. This keeps the folds clean and gives you more space for a beautiful design that showcases your brand. 

Other Nuances and Potential Issues

Looking for more tips on how to create a custom box design? Here are more e-commerce packaging advice that you should pay close attention to.

The Wooden Hook Store Use Mailer Boxes Because Its Products Are Light
The Wooden Hook Store Use Mailer Boxes Because Its Products Are Light

Do: Consider Box Size and Weight Limitations

Choosing the perfect material for your custom box goes deeper than just picking a visually appealing option. Box size and weight limitations are key factors to consider. 

Here's why: 

First and foremost, the box needs to be a tiny weightlifter — strong enough to hold your product without getting crushed during shipping or storage. Imagine a delicate vase packed in a flimsy box. That's a disaster waiting to happen. If you're stacking boxes, the material must be strong enough to hold its own without becoming a pancake under pressure.

But you don't want to go overboard either. Different materials have different weight capacities and costs. Custom heavy-duty boxes cost more to produce. If your products aren't that fragile, you can use a more suitable box material to avoid being wasteful.

There's another factor to consider. Some carriers base pricing on dimensional weight, which combines box size and weight. Choosing a lightweight material lets you save you serious cash. 

CandyCan Uses Its Box to Disclose How Much Sugar Its Candies Have 
CandyCan Uses Its Box to Disclose How Much Sugar Its Candies Have 

Don't: Neglect Clear Labeling Requirements

Never forget to include essential product information and business details. Why?

First, it can land you in legal trouble. Missing required details like ingredients, warnings, or manufacturing info can violate regulations and lead to product recalls.  

Second, unclear labels confuse customers. Imagine someone receiving a box with no idea what's inside — not exactly confidence-inspiring. Clear labeling keeps everyone informed and builds trust.  

Third, missing return addresses make product returns a nightmare to deal with. Frustrated customers struggling to return items can lead to bad reviews and lost sales. Ouch!  

Incorrect labeling can mean misdirected shipments and returns due to missing return info. This wastes resources, increases costs, and creates unnecessary delays.  

Finally, inconsistent or unclear labeling screams unprofessional. By prioritizing clear labels and essential information, you show customers you care about the details which strengthens your brand reputation. 


Investing in strategic design for your custom boxes goes beyond aesthetics. It's a branding opportunity that shapes customer perception. A well-designed box, incorporating your brand identity and prioritizing a positive unboxing experience, can become a powerful marketing tool. 

From leveraging folds for interactive elements to utilizing clear and concise messaging on flaps, every detail can elevate your brand and strengthen customer connections. 

Remember, don't underestimate the power of clear labeling. It ensures legal compliance, avoids customer frustration, and reinforces your brand's professionalism. 

By giving thoughtful consideration to both design and functionality, you can transform your custom boxes into silent brand ambassadors that leave a lasting impression.

If you'd like to talk to someone about designing a custom box for your business, give us a call at (424) 271-0700 or send us an email at

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