Subscription Box Packaging Design Guide That’ll Enhance Your Relationship with Customers

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The subscription box industry is steadily growing. With the rise of eCommerce and the advancements in delivery, subscription services provide a great way to expand any business.

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Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Packoi Team

To achieve success, you need impressive subscription box packaging. This is the first thing that customers will see when their subscription arrives.

Make sure it gives a powerful first impression so your customers will long to have the same experience repeatedly.

In this article, you’ll learn more about subscription boxes and how a suitable packaging design leads to massive growth and improvement in your customer relationships.

What Is a Subscription Box?

subscription box packaging

Subscription boxes curate different products in one package – with the selections aligned with the customer’s personal choices. Instead of buying products individually, a subscription box business will source different products from various suppliers and conveniently put them together.

If you want to set up a subscription service, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of who your clients are.

So if your customer base is young families with kids, you can create an arts and crafts box for kids. Put in art paper, coloring materials, and other decorative elements to help children create beautiful art pieces.

Or if your target market is young career women, a spa kit should be a great idea.

What’s great about creating subscription boxes is they provide a consistent source of revenue. But this only happens if you can impress your customer enough to want to get a subscription box from you regularly.

The best way to do that is by customizing your subscription box packaging. If you want to get some ideas about subscription packaging design, check out our previous article.

Why Is a Custom Subscription Box Packaging Important?

Packaging is important because it’s the first interaction that they’ll have with your brand. If you can achieve a great first impression, that’ll leave a positive mark on your customers.

They’ll naturally want to replicate that good feeling by ordering more of what you offer.

You have to remember that in this day and age, people love sharing experiences online. Whether the customer experience is good or bad, it’ll most likely be shared online.

So if your curated box of products has the correct elements and a fantastic design, it’ll heighten the customer’s unboxing experience. When your customer records a video of their positive unboxing experience and uploads it online, that’ll introduce your brand to many consumers.

If the people like the visual appeal of your custom packaging, they’ll want to replicate the positive experience. That’s one way of promoting your business in the subscription box market.

By making the custom packaging innovative and creative enough, your brand will be known for providing a memorable unboxing experience. When they see your custom packaging, it’ll excite them.

If you do it right and you choose the right design, your subscription box packaging can increase brand loyalty in your market.

8 Steps to Design an Effective Subscription Box Packaging

Box Packaging

If you want your subscription service to be well-known in the market, you need a custom packaging design that’ll blow away your customers.

Fortunately for you, there are many subscription box packaging options available today. You can easily find an option that fits your brand and will resonate with your target market.

If you want to work on creating the best packaging design for your subscription box business, here are the 8 specific steps that you have to go through.

Step 1: Set Your Budget

Why is setting a budget the first step? Because it’s easy to go overboard when designing a custom subscription box packaging. Although you want to ensure that your customers will love your custom box, you still wish your subscription box business to earn profit.

The best way is to find cost-effective solutions to all your purchasing decisions. It’s not just about how much you can save money by using cheap materials.

It’s about finding the best packaging solution to represent your brand, impress your customers, protect your product, and bring the most value out of your money.

Step 2: Choose the Box Type

With the budget in mind, choosing the box type you can afford will be easier. Of course, the price should be secondary to the product. Your subscription box packaging should prioritize the protection of the contents.

So if the products are in glass bottles, you want a custom box with strong packaging material.

Here are some of the options for subscription boxes.

Mailer Boxes

Mailer boxes are the most common option because it’s sturdy and made of sustainable corrugated cardboard. The box design usually has interlocking flaps that allow it to be closed without needing tape or adhesive. It has side wings that serve as a double wall, making the box stiff enough to provide protection.

A mailer box is easy to handle, lightweight, and hard enough to protect the products within it. It’s also very versatile. You can print any design on it.

Or, if you want to be cost-efficient about it, you can order plain mailer boxes and add a label, custom stickers, or sleeves on them. This will make your mailer box unique to your brand.

Folding Cartons

Subscription Box Packaging

This type of box is made of paper-based materials. It’s thinner and more lightweight compared to a mailer box.

You can also create a custom packaging design to identify this with your brand. 

The truth is, this isn’t ideal as a subscription box because it’s too thin. But if your custom boxes are shipped in bulk and put inside a shipping box, then it could work.

But if you’re shipping it individually, it won’t have the additional protection provided by shipping boxes. It’s best to opt for a stronger type of box.

Rigid Boxes

If your product requires extreme protection, you might want to opt for rigid custom boxes. This is ideal for premium and very fragile items. It’s also great for heavy products that require a strong base for support.

This subscription box packaging option is more expensive compared to the others. If you have a luxury brand, this is perfect for you.

Because of the rigid material, the box alone is heavy already. So make sure you choose the right box size to ensure that it won’t be too heavy and thus more expensive to ship out.

Step 3: Identify the Packaging Enhancements

Apart from the outer box, you’ll have to consider certain enhancements to elevate the value of your subscription box packaging.

It’s not about making it look expensive. It’s about giving your customers more.

Here are the different enhancements that your subscription box can have.

Box Inserts

In the world of packaging, inserts refer to the “inlays” that look like a tray with molded shapes of the product that you’ll put in there. This helps secure products and keep them from moving, so it stays in place even as the box is tossed and moved while in transit.

Using inserts in your own subscription box allows you to present the products properly. Customers will better appreciate the content because they can immediately see what they got from you.

Box Dividers

This works like inserts because it keeps the products from mixing. But instead of molded shapes of the product, you get dividers to separate each item.

You can choose the type of divider and size you’ll use. Most of the time, the divider for subscription boxes is the same material as the packaging – maybe a bit thinner.

If the contents of your subscription box change over time, using dividers will make more sense than inserts. The molded tray of the inserts would have made it harder to change product offers.

Special Labels

Subscription Box Packaging

Your custom packaging can also use special labels to help with the branding. This label can promote your brand or any message you’d like to share with your customers.

Labels can contain product information, like the ingredients or raw materials used to create them. If you used a unique material like an FSC-certified paper, mention it on the label.

Or you can use it to tell your customers about your brand story.

With the right shape and design, your label can add to the visual appeal of your subscription box.

Stickers and Tape

Creating custom stickers and tape is one way to personalize your subscription box while giving it an extra layer of security or closure. It can act as the seal, so your customers will know if the package has been tampered with.

If you use tissue paper to wrap the products, use tape or stickers to secure them and keep them from unfolding.

This sticker or tape can have the brand logo or name on it. Or you can put positive words that your customers will appreciate, like “Thank You” or “Enjoy and Have a Great Day.”

Tissue Paper

Using tissue paper as part of the packaging is a common practice. As mentioned, you can wrap it around a product to protect it and keep dust and scratches from touching it. Adding this layer will also give your product a premium feel to it – especially if you use custom tissue paper with an all-over print of your brand.

But if you don’t have that budget for that, choose a colored tissue that blends well with the products in your subscription boxes. It’ll work just as well.

Packaging Sleeves

You can also add a packaging sleeve. This is like a long strip of paper wrapped around the subscription box packaging.

Sometimes, this sleeve only has a print of the brand logo. But you can also print more information on it – specifically, those you think will help the customer use the products in the box.

If you want to make it cost-efficient, use a generic print on the sleeve so you can use it in various boxes – regardless of what’s inside.

Step 4: Sort Out the Design Elements

Subscription Box Packaging

Once you know what packaging enhancements you’ll add to the subscription boxes, you can now proceed to the actual design.

If you have enough budget, hire a graphic designer to create a unique design for your custom subscription box packaging. You can even ask your packaging supplier about this. Sometimes, they offer free design services if you meet their minimum order requirements.

If you want to do it alone, it shouldn’t be a problem. There are a lot of templates available online that you can use to create your own.

You need to include some elements in the subscription box packaging design.


The underlying purpose of your packaging design should be to promote your subscription box business. This is why it has to show your brand from every angle.

You don’t have to put an all-over print of your logo and brand name. If you want to go for a luxury brand vibe to your custom packaging, you can.

But your box design can have subtle branding on it. This is a great way to promote your brand while still keeping the product as the highlight.


Subscription boxes can also use typography as their primary design. This refers to using the font in different casing, sizes, and colors.

This is an excellent option if you’re going for minimalism in your design. But be conscious of the type of font that you’ll use. Some fonts look clean and straightforward, while others are more serious and formal.

You can choose to use the same font that you use in your brand name or logo. That way, you can also incorporate your branding in the design.


The right combination of colors can make your subscription box visually attractive. But there’s more to color than meets the eye.

Consider what you want your customers to feel when they see your subscription box design. Whether you want them to feel happy, excited, luxurious, or relaxed – there’s a specific color associated with that.

Make sure you research to find the appropriate color to dominate your custom box. Putting the right color could give your customers a happy and positive feeling, making them want to continue buying from you. It can also help strengthen the trust and loyalty to your brand.

Subscription Box Packaging


Another design element you should consider for your subscription box is the images you’ll use. This can be actual photos, artwork, or graphic designs aligned with the overall theme of the products in the box.

You can be as creative as you want with this. Make the illustrations unique to your brand. It can be used as a powerful statement or a way to enhance the recall of your brand.

If the customer sees a similar image, they’ll remember your brand.


Your custom design for the subscription box can also be patterned. Repetitive designs, just like colors, can make your customers feel something.

It also sets the tone and vibe of the packaging.

Do you want it to be luxurious? Fun? Feminine? Bold?

Whatever it is, use a combination of lines, shapes, colors, and illustrations to make your box memorable. If you are creative with the design, it’ll make your customers feel excited enough to discover what’s inside.

Step 5: Pick the Printing Methods

As you work on the design elements of the subscription box packaging, consider the printing methods as well. Some designs require custom printing to get the best visual results.

Also, the order quantity will give you ideas on what method you use to be more cost-efficient in creating your box design.

To help you decide what to use, here are the 3 printing methods you can choose from.

Flexographic Printing

This type uses a printing plate that acts similarly to an ink pad. The plate contains the design of your subscription box. It’s attached to a rotary drum that spins to help the leaf pick up ink and stamp it on a box.

Flexographic printing is considered the most popular way to print on boxes. But you must usually meet a minimum order to keep the cost low.

If you only need a small quantity, the next type of printing method may be ideal for your requirements.

Digital Printing

Subscription Box Packaging

This is the best option if you only have a small quantity to order. Digital printing uses a machine capable of applying the design and color straight to the box’s surface.

This means you can customize the design of your box as much as you want.

It’s best to talk to your packaging supplier about this. While this is ideal for small orders, some packaging suppliers can create boxes in bulk.

Lithographic Label Printing

You want to use this printing method on your subscription box if you require a clean and high resolution for the images.

This works because the design is printed on a sheet of paper, processed, and cut before it’s attached to the surface of the packaging, like wallpaper.

This method requires special equipment, so make sure you check the capabilities of your packaging supplier. They might end up giving you a low-quality print.

Step 6: Determine the Packaging Size

Don’t ignore the importance of your subscription box packaging size. The box size will determine the overall expense of your packaging.

3 things need to be considered when determining the packaging size.

First, think about the product. Remember, your packaging is primarily for product protection. Make sure the packaging size is big enough to secure the product at it’s being shipped to the customer.

Second, look at the enhancements that you put on the packaging. The inserts, fillers, etc. These will add to the space being occupied in the box. Don’t overcrowd it.

Third, consider the logistics. How will the subscription box be delivered? The box size will determine the overall shipping costs. If you want to keep it minimal, keep the subscription box sizes just right – not too big and not too small, either.

Remember, it’s not about making the box small. It’s about leaving enough space to have a buffer so the product won’t get damaged as it’s handled during transit.

Step 7: Consider the Shipping Details 

Many subscription box packaging designs are based on what the product needs, what the customer expects, and how it can represent your brand well.

While that’s good, don’t forget about the shipping details. Remember, your subscription box products will still go through the shipping process before it reaches your customers.

It’s your job to make sure it reaches them in good condition. Otherwise, all your efforts will be lost.

Among the things that you have to consider includes the packaging weight. The heavier the box is, the higher the shipping costs you must pay.

Another thing you have to think about is the destination and the speed of delivery. If the package travels via cargo plane, the delivery will be faster. It will be fast, but the shipping costs will be higher.

If the package is shipped, reaching the destination will take longer. The shipping costs might be lower, but the expense might not be too far off. Also, the length by which it travels means there’s a higher chance that the shipping box will be damaged.

Although you have insurance on the package, your customers won’t be impressed if they open the box and the products are damaged.

Consider these as you finalize the design of your subscription box.

Subscription Box Packaging

Step 8: Find the Right Packaging Supplier 

The last step in creating your subscription box packaging is your packaging supplier. Choose a supplier that has the expertise and experience in producing packaging.

Why? Because they have the ability and capabilities to create the custom box style you want.

Not only that, you should choose a certified packaging supplier. This ensures that you’ll get eco-friendly packaging. You can add that to your marketing campaign as you promote your subscription box.

When talking to suppliers, ask them about their MOQ (minimum order quantity), turnaround time, printing methods, packaging samples, etc.

Be clear about the design you want as the final output so you won’t regret hiring the wrong supplier.

Do You Need Help Designing Your Subscription Box Packaging? Packoi Printing Offer Packaging Design Services – And More!

Creating subscription boxes is just like creating traditional packaging. It’s just the contents that’ll vary. If you do it right, you’ll get recurring revenue that can help you build a stronger relationship with your customers.

If you’re looking for a supplier to help create the ideal subscription boxes for your brand, Packoi Printing is here to help. We have design services that can give you the specific box style you want.

We offer FSC-certified packaging. That means our production adheres to environmentally-friendly standards and only uses responsibly sourced materials.

Let’s talk about your subscription box requirements. Call us for a quotation.

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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