52 outside-the-box design ideas for your next packaging

The humble box design packaging has come a long way since the cardboard box was first invented in 19th-century England. Its compactness and sturdiness prove they’re still a hit among the people today, and chances are, a few of your favorite products come in one.

Not only that, the even and square shape of a box packaging provides the best canvas for the most thrilling, eye-catching designs. It’s because you don’t have to think about odd, uneven or twisted surfaces. You always know what you’re getting on a box, and we’d say that’s a gift for any discerning packaging designer.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing a great box packaging, and a selection of creative box designs to inspire your next project!

A person sitting down thinking about some box design ideas
Illustration by OrangeCrush

Things to remember

Whether your design is whimsical or functional, there are a few things to remember…

Sufficient space for product information

Remember to include enough space on your box design for all the important information. This includes the product name, details or instruction of the product, the manufacturer’s contact details, weight/volume and recycling instructions (if applicable).

Consider its recycling potential

Is your box design packaging recyclable? Make sure you’ve factored in the recycling potential of your box design early to avoid surprises along the way. If it consists of special materials, ink or if only some parts of the box can be reused, then also make sure your customers know how to recycle it easily.

Think of your customer (and manufacturer!)

Who are you designing for? Consider both the customer and the producer your box design is created for. Think about its hidden hazards if it’s for a kids’ product, or adopt some accessibility design principles, such as using textured materials and suitable colors for the visually impaired.

You’ll also need to design within the context of the product’s industry. For example, if it’s a pharmaceutical product, you might want to do a simpler box design packaging that lets disclaimers and important health information shine through.

Ease of transport

It’s worth taking the time to know the product your box design will carry, as it will help you finalize your design plan. Think about how heavy the product is, and whether it’s going to travel for an extended period—in which case, it’s going to need sturdy and robust packaging material and may influence the overall design.

Box design ideas that will excite and inspire

Once you’ve locked in the essentials, go forth and take inspiration from these 52 box design ideas:

Minimal outside, maximal inside

Make the most of every part of your box design packaging. Rather than keeping the interior of your box empty, add extra detail, color and punch to the inside of your box to surprise and delight your customers.

The key here is to give your customer an unforgettable unboxing experience, so the brand will always stay top of mind. Once your customer is immersed in the experience, there’ll be no going back.

By Tijana G.
The Shaggy Paw box packaging Avonak Distillery box packaging gradient colors for packaging design Galena The True box packaging

Interactive box design

In our current fast-paced lives where genuine connections become an elusive thing, creating a unique interactive experience with your customers can be super exciting. Make your customer work (but not too much!) to reveal what’s inside your box design.

It’s a way for the customer to explore through separate sections for individual parts of your product, a packaging where the top flap opens and a drawer can be pulled out to expand the box or a compartment that can swivel out.

Mediterranei chocolate box packaging
Chocolate box design packaging by Deborah Dalla Palma, Minjuan Yao and Fabio Verdelli, via Behance
Tym Coffee box packaging Plan B box packaging Bar & Barrel box packaging Mesmos desk accessory box packaging

Give a sneak peek

In a world where we’re bombarded with so many choices, getting to see a sneak peek of the product first before buying is a compelling argument for a customer to pick your product over your competitor’s. The customer can see, and sometimes feel, the product itself just by adding a clear paneling, cut-out detail or a clear image of the product.

Mariposa muffins box packaging Harper + Ari box packaging Food Huggers box packaging Moon Soapbox packaging

Cohesive color and theme

If you’re designing a series of box packaging—say, a range of tea infusions or assorted nail polish colors—a great way to keep them cohesive is by using a consistent, continuous design between the packaging.

It helps your product stand out when displayed in the stores and creates a delightful, eye-catching experience for your customers. It may even inspire a real sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and encourage them to buy more from the range, which is always a welcome feat for your brand!

Booming Bob soap packaging
By Mila Katagarova
Murky Isle Coffee Co. box packaging Moroccantea box packaging
Cerberus body oil box packaging
By bcra

Add a little bit of character

Just because you’re working with a box design packaging, doesn’t mean it has to be boring! These box designs certainly add a little more excitement to the overall experience of the product and brand. From having the box packaging emulate another item (oven or trunk, anyone?) to a scallop cut outline for the flaps, they’ve truly let the box design sing with character.

Tatum & Shea box packaging Thelma’s Treats box packaging Trunk Club box packaging Petit Lapin shoebox packaging Geepins box packaging Send A Cake box packaging

The humble brown box

This style is perfect for the more eco-conscious brands, without compromising on the visual impact of the box design. The humble brown box provides a simple, classic look or it can be the perfect canvas for eye-catching designs, bold typography or a pop of color.

Australian Natural Soapbox packaging Wolkenfeld box packaging cooking pot packaging design Christmas gift box packaging Bonsai Starter Kit box packaging Our Way Around box packaging

Striking color combos

This box design is a true multitasker: not only does it make an impact with striking color combinations that gets attention, but it can also highlight important product information for your customer by coloring one or several sides of the box with a different shade so that key information stands out.

Sea Salt Suds box packaging Doody Bags box packaging
BOITOI nail polish box packaging
By Alpha_Creative

Intricate illustrations

Adding some intricate illustration detail can elevate your box design to make it look more refined and fancy. The details give your customers more to explore. And with such care and detail that goes into the design, there is no doubt your customer will think highly of the packaging and your product.

Seasons Gift Co. box packaging corn snack box packaging design food box packaging design Harlequin cannabis oil box packaging Focus CBD gift box packaging wine box packaging design

Color gradients

Color gradients are a great way to add fluidity and movement to your box design. This effect captures the attention of your customers and gives off a calming and mystical look and feel. It’s a great way to add a dynamic element to your box design!

packaging for teeth whitening
By adamk.
bold cookie box packaging design tea box packaging design detangler box packaging design meaningful moments packaging design

Fun and bold typography

Typography can be more than a tool to inform your customers about your brand, product and business. It’s a great opportunity to have some fun with bolder text, different arrangements, or some mix of illustration and text. It’ll make your brand stand out from the crowd right away.

pizza box packaging design fragrance packaging design Hit vape box packaging corn dog box packaging design

Bright and blobby

Organic silhouettes have been around for a while, but this time around it gets an update by way of softer, curved edges—think blobs, waves and circular shapes. Combine this with bright colors, and you get a fun and natural aesthetic!

Vegan Chocolate Truffles packaging box
By monostudio
earth beauty brand box packaging design bubble soap box packaging idea

Ready to box it in?

In the ever-competitive consumer world out there, box design packaging has never worked harder to surprise and delight. From creative cut-out packaging to entice customers, to an interactive unboxing experience that keeps it top of mind, these are just some inspiring box design ideas for your products. When you’re ready to tackle your box design, professional designers are here to help come up with box design ideas that will excite and inspire.

Need something awesome designed?
Our global community of designers can create just about anything.

The post 52 outside-the-box design ideas for your next packaging appeared first on 99designs.