How to Make Branded Boxes Fit your Budget

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Photo: @rox.webster on InstagramPhoto via @rox.webster on Instagram

Estimating the cost of custom boxes is a blend of the dark arts, salt of the earth, and mass confusion.  I spend much of my day fielding the question: ‘what would happen to my cost if I did X?’

Enter multi-variable regression analysis.  We recently ran such a study using the thousands of custom box quotes generated by Georgette every year.  What popped out are a few nuggets that I hope will serve as a guide to navigating the choppy and disorienting waters of boxes, and their swiftly tilting price tags. 

1. Order Quantity

Order quantity is the largest lever you have when it comes to managing your packaging costs.  The difference between manufacturing 1,000 boxes and 20,000 boxes is likely a 73% drop in the unit cost of custom boxes. 

     - If you increase your order from 1,000 to 3,000 boxes, unit cost will drop by        50%
     - From 3,000 to 5,000, a further 25%
     - From 5,000 to 10,000, another 20%
     - Even from 10,000 to 20,000, you’ll gain another 10%

For orders of 20,000+ boxes, unit cost begins to flatten out, and will only drop a handful of percentage points per further significant increase in quantity.  Of course, savings of 2 or 3% at this quantity still add up nicely in the $$ department. 

2. Board Type

A climate-sensitive (and economically powerful) strategy is to manufacture your boxes out of recycled (kraft) board rather than new, white board.  Making this switch typically results in a 20% drop in cost.  And never fear: there are plenty of ways to make Pantones pop against recycled board so that your boxes are both unforgettable and socially responsible.

3. Number of Pantones

The most iconic brands use 1 or 2 Pantones, at most.  (There are plenty of historical reasons for this, as well as psychological – printing has traditionally been most affordable and impactful when using a handful of colours.)  For every additional Pantone colour you print with, expect your box’s cost to increase by 5%.

4. Adding Foil

You’ve decided to add holographic tigers to that new line of toothpaste boxes.  (If so, I am your target market).  Adding hot-stamped metallic foil, in any shade, adds about 30% to your cost. 

Go forth, make the boxes of your dreams, and prosper.