How to get the best print for your box

A customized shipping box with your branding is an efficient way to create an experience for your customer on delivery and unboxing. With infinite opportunities to inform, surprise, upgrade or even incentivize your customers using just your printed box, its no wonder that 68% of brands use customized packaging for their shipping. Follow these helpful hints and tips for getting the sharpest, cleanest print for your shipping box.

Check out the FAQs below to jump to a specific question you may have.

1. File Size and Resolution

We strongly encourage high resolution 300 ppi images. Lower resolutions (below 300 ppi) have noticeably lower print quality when converted to half-tone for printing. Ideal files are less than 5MB. 

2. Printing Black Ink

Black text or linework should have a CMYK value 0-0-0-100 (black ink only), not a combined or “rich” black value. Large areas of solid black, such as a black background, are best set to our “rich” black value (CMYK 60-40-40-100) to avoid banding in the final print. Convert your file to black ink only if your logo or graphic contains multiple colors. Contact our designers if you need help making sure your logo will print legibly in black ink.

3. Sizing Graphic Elements Correctly 

Text should be at least 10pts at printing size - regardless of how it may look on screen. If designing "knockout text" (where the text is blank on a solid black background), minimum text size is 16pt, but knockout text is not recommended for printing on corrugate. QR Codes: A minimum size of .9" x .9" is recommended. Barcodes: Minimum width recommended of approx 2.2” wide (150%) for UPC-A type barcodes. Minimum height recommendation is .5".

4. Check Margins and Edges

At this time our printing process does not support bleeds (printing beyond the cut edge of the box) nor print on scored or folded areas of the box. Thus, graphics cannot be printed to the edge or folded around the corners. Check that your design has a buffer margin of at least 0.5" around the edge of the selected box panel. Anything within this margin is safe and should not be cut-off in printing. Due to the manual nature of this print process imperfections on some edge areas and details are expected.

Does your logo have a little black dress? 

Every brand needs a black print style guide to ensure their brand is maintained regardless of where its printed. Here's some basics for preparing your logo or branding graphics for shipping box printing success.

Create value in monochrome

Working with a single color (and black makes it even easier) allows you to focus on creating a message and highlight opportunities for engagement with the product on social or with others. If your brand or organization is sustainably driven like we are, there are even ways to further your environmental statement. Making your box design interactive creates a whole new channel and extends the user journey with your brand beyond just receiving a package.

Gradients are bad, okay?

Does your branding or logo mark use gradients to create a neon, metallic or shiny effect? Avoid printing disappointment by creating an all black logo and maintain a legible, printable file perfect for any substrate.

Don't touch colors

Colors adjacent next to one another in a logo will print as black throughout - the details of your logo will disappear as a black mass when printed. Separate your color elements with a stroke to create definition and keep your logo recognizable.

Is black ink really better for the environment?

Yes! Its more than just the ink, its all of the processes that go into manufacturing and recycling color ink and their cartridges. Black ink has a better coverage than many color inks, paints or dyes and requires less energy to produce a completed print in black ink than in 4-color processes. 

What is my brand sacrificing by using just black ink?

Nothing! Ask any design professional and they may roll their eyes if you ask about color-correcting and matching PMS codes across a suite of packaging. Relying on black ink for shipping boxes reduces the graphic stress on a brand to manage colors across multiple substrates. Maintaining a black overprint style guide for your organization can save thousands of dollars over the life of the brand, saving on print plates, PMS color mixing and file management from your printer.

My brand is very vibrant and colorful - why just black ink for my shipping packaging?

Not only does printing in black ink free up your budget for more colorful product packaging or branded dunnage, it allows your box design to focus on communicating your brand message rather than decorating with brand colors. Use clever messaging or clean graphics that hype your customer up for the unboxing or create a new CTA for customers to engage with your brand after or during the unboxing.

What kind of printer does CustomBoxes use?

Our printer, Irene, is a monocolor corrugate printer. She's a tank that can print over 3 million boxes in a year. 

Is the ink toxic?

Our ink is completely nontoxic and perfectly fine for use in your garden bed to help with weeds.

Can you print white?

No, white ink isn't real.

Can you print in color just for me?

Sorry, friend! As much as we love to go above and beyond for every customer, we do not currently have the ability to print in color. 

What is the best type of file to upload?

Recommended files are high resolution image files like .eps, .ai or even .png. We can accept .jpg files but are less likely to print as expected.

What size file should I upload?

File sizes depend on your graphic and if you want to print a whole panel of graphics or just your logo file. We recommend printing graphics of at least 270 dpi, but vector graphics work best.

I have multiple designs - what should I do?

From the home or product page, you can upload your side panel graphics and your front and back graphics separately. If you want to have different graphics on each panel, we do not currently support that due to the nature of our print feed process. If you would like to include multiple box designs, simply purchase different boxes and upload the corresponding files. 

Will my color logo work as a black logo?

Your color logo needs to be converted to a black logo file. If you are unsure how to do that, feel free to reach out to our design team and we can help!

Get design insight for your shipping box

Need help with your shipping box graphics? Just ask our professionals who are on stand by to help you get the best results for your box print.