7 Tips for Planning Custom Packaging for the Holidays

Spotlight: Taylor Box Company

Every year around this time many of your clients seem to catch the crisp, unmistakable scent of the approaching holidays in the air. Suddenly they want you to create custom packaging that reflects the festive season. Getting started on this in September would be tricky enough during normal times, and these, of course, are far from normal times. Companies that supply the raw materials for packaging are still struggling to fill orders in COVID’s wake.

That said, this is a fantastic time to get started on preparing for the 2022 holiday season. Planning and preparation can reduce design and manufacturing time, and ultimately, your client’s costs. So file away the following 7 tips right now so you’ll know what to do, and when.

1. Start planning in late winter for the following year’s holiday season. Lead times for custom packaging range widely, from 4-12 weeks. Until supply chains recover from COVID, aim for the latter. That means having a big brainstorming session around January or February.

2. Talk to your custom-packaging maker before you begin designing. There’s a reason your printing and finishing partners often stress this point – the sooner you involve them in your planning, the more effectively they can help you adapt your vision to the realities of the production process, often saving you money, too. (This is also a good time to let them know if there’s a particular box style you have in mind.)

3. Share your budget with them ASAP. Doing so means the packaging maker’s sales and design teams can recommend the right box styles, board types, wrap, and other details for your project. As you can imagine, the difference between having $2 a box to spend vs. $200 a box is huge. Knowing your budget means they can get you an accurate price quote the first time.

4. Show them what’s going in the box. Having the actual product in hand ensures they’ll recommend the exact box style, materials and inserts (if necessary) you’ll need. Surprises are great when it comes to holiday gifts, but time- and budget-consuming when you’re designing holiday packaging.

5. Produce as many boxes as possible to capture significant savings. While your client might only want to create a package for the holidays initially, the price break you’ll enjoy on larger runs is a great incentive for thinking bigger. Ordering under 500 means they will be made by hand due to the time required to set up automated runs. Yet anything over that number will see a drop in cost per piece. So why not design packaging that can be used throughout the year? You can then tweak it with a smaller, digitally-printed element to change the package’s messaging.

6. Place your order no later than July. Earlier, if possible. The more complex the project, the longer it’s going to take to not only design, but also to source all the components necessary to bring your vision to life. Remember “custom” packaging means it must be created from scratch.

7. Provide the packaging maker with your desired delivery date. This will allow them to ensure that they have all the materials and time necessary to produce it. Remember to consider whether you need to fulfill or kit your piece, which will impact your delivery time greatly.

So how has Taylor Box come by this knowledge? For starters, they’ve been producing premium custom packaging for over 135 years for everyone from custom luxury boutiques to big name brands such as Herman Miller and Victoria’s Secret.

They also produce their own holiday box every year which they design and produce in-house, each benefitting a particular charity. (And yes, they follow all 7 tips above.)

The box below, benefitting the Oceans Conservancy, is an excellent example of how a relatively simple one-piece construction can have a dramatic impact.

Lurking beneath a bellyband foil stamped in Metallic Blue is a stunning box also foiled in that color. Lifting the V-notched lid reveals a pop-up illustration of a polar bear and cub made from Neenah Stardream paper and foil stamped in two different colors to add subtle details to this heartwarming scene.

Love to have these bears for your very own? Enter to win 1 of 100 of these gorgeous holiday boxes right now! Hurry, this contest ends Sept. 23rd. (North American entries only, please.) THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED



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