A Guide to Designing Your Own Decorative Shipping Boxes

Kyle Winkeler | August 18, 2020

When you receive a package there’s a lot that goes along with it; who sent this, what’s inside, where did it come from? The way your box is decorated can set the tone for the whole experience, which is what opening a decorative custom printed shipping box should be: an experience.

 So, what exactly are decorative shipping boxes? These corrugated boxes are designed to deliver your product safely to its destination. Right now, you may be picturing a dull brown box, but boxes can be so much more. In this guide we will be discussing why decorating a shipping box matters, the different kinds of shipping boxes you can use and how to design one yourself. 


To understand why decorating a shipping box matters we have to start with the experience someone gets when opening a box. As a whole, people tend to remember the things they have an emotional connection to. So why send somebody a package in a plain brown box when you can customize it for that specific audience!  This is a great opportunity to print imagery on your box aimed at creating an emotional reaction or to simply inform the viewer about important information.

However, some brands may not want their bright colored branding on the outside of their decorative mailing box because it could increase the likelihood someone steals it from the customers porch (porch piracy is not a joke, Jim). In this case, brands may choose to print vibrant colors on the inside of the box. This method can be very effective and still creates that unboxing experience for the customer.


Branching off the idea of imagery, placing your brands logo or other visuals on your packaging serves as a versatile way to decorate your shipping box. By connecting an emotional reaction to your brand, we are creating what’s called brand loyalty. Consumers are much more likely to continue purchasing or generally praising your brand if they have that emotional connection and can identify it came from you. Which leads us to the next benefit.

Word of Mouth

When people start talking passionately about a brand, that feeling becomes infectious. As a result, people want to experience the passion and emotional connection someone has with that brand for themselves. This is referred to as word of mouth marketing, and it is one of the leading ways people make decisions on what they purchase. Going even further, word-of-mouth can even be online, such as when somebody writes a positive review online or engages with your brand via social media, which serves to elevate your message. By simply decorating your shipping box, you’ve created a corrugated ambassador to your brand.

 There are many different types of packaging styles that can be used as colored shipping boxes. Knowing what box style is right for your products can make a world of difference. Ultimately, people want their products to stay safe during transport and to show up in one piece. To help you make the best decision for your product, we are going to discuss 3 commonly used box styles and what they are used primarily for.

Mailer with Tuck Top

Mailers are a main staple in the subscription box industry because they provide flexibility in terms of what products they can house. A mailer with tuck top is the most commonly used box style among subscription box companies, specifically because they can accommodate many different sized products in one box. The design allows for a custom product or products to be packaged neatly inside and transported safely to the customer.

Regular Slotted Container

In the packaging industry, the RSC box style is considered the standard. They are simple in design, which in turn, eliminates a great deal of work across the board for the company producing them. They are also typically more economical than other shipping box styles by using less corrugate overall.

One Piece Folder

An OPF is a generally flatter shipping box designed specifically for fragile items that could be damaged in delivery. These types of shipping boxes are used primarily as a method of specialty shipment. For example, mirrors or picture frames are very prone to breaking during transport and therefore need more unique packaging to ship safely. An OPF can ensure that your product arrives in one piece.


Where to begin?

So now you may be asking yourself “how do I design a beautifully colored shipping box?” And it’s a good question at that. Well rest assured, it’s easier than you might think.

 It all starts with an idea. whether you want to go online and design it yourself or have a company do it for you the initial idea must be there. Begin by collecting brand assets and resources you would like to use aesthetically for your box. Next, start a dialogue with other creative members of your team about the direction of the artwork and what box style works best for your product. These steps will help you identify what the design should look like when the process is finished.

Continue by finding a website that offers the ability to make custom colored mailer boxes. Once this is achieved you will be asked to:

  • Choose a box style and material
  • Input custom or default dimensions
  • Upload your artwork

An alternative to uploading your artwork on some websites is being sent a blank cad file that allows you place your designs into illustrator or a similar software program. Once this is done, you or your team can then build your artwork and upload it back on to the website to be printed.


Ship in Style

Whether it’s called a decorative shipping box or a colored mailer box we all know what good packaging is when we see it. The first impression we get of a brand is a big deal and is largely influenced the packaging it arrives in. By branding your shipping box with your logo and resources, you are developing brand loyalty and even word of mouth marketing due to the emotional connection your unboxing experience creates.

There are impactful decisions about the style of your box that play an important part in this too. So, when you are ready, sit down with your team, create an idea of your packaging, find a site that works and transform the way consumers see your brand.

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