reusable shipping box Tag

11 Jul 2017 E-Commerce and Subscriptions Packaging for Books

E-Commerce and Subscriptions Packaging for Books

Boxes for books with inside print, e-commerce packaging, subscription packaging, book packagingA few decades ago I recall listening to a speaker warning we were heading toward a “paperless society”. Since I was at that time employed by the largest paper and packaging corporation in the world, his message caused much distress. Then a decade later, others were telling us that printed matter, especially books, would soon be extinct due to the internet.

The fact is that we now consume more paper than ever before and people are still indeed purchasing and enjoying books. What has changed however is where and how people buy books. The corner book store has been eliminated in favor of large internet marketers and we have also discovered books are a great product for specialized subscription programs. Specific genres such as mystery, horror, children’s and others can be delivered directly to your doorstep.

The above photo shows a few of the many boxes we have created by using our “semi-custom” program to give brand owners unique identity while utilizing some “standard” box sizes designed to fit standard book sizes. Of course, if you want or need a completely custom size or structural design, we can do that for you as well, but our semi-custom program is ideal for customers whose sizes and quantity needs vary month to month, are working with a limited budget, and/or need custom printed boxes in a hurry.

The Difference Between Custom and Semi-Custom E-commerce Boxes  

When you go custom, you will need a custom cutting die costing around $800 (onetime expense) but you can decide the exact box dimensions, the board grade, and specific structural features such as an easy open perforation, locking tabs, etc.

On a semi-custom box, the cutting die has been made so many of those decisions have already been made for you. You can still customize the way a box is printed or decorated, but the size, board grade, and box features are predetermined. We usually describe it as the difference between buying “off the rack” or “custom tailored”.

Neither option is better, but semi-custom can save money and precious time. We still provide die lines so you can design your interior or exterior graphics any way you want them, but the basic structure is already designed and immediately available. In fact, some of these very sizes are available (unprinted) as stock items on our green packaging store.

If you would like to discuss your subscription book program with us, please contact us at or call us at 630-551-1700. Our experienced branded packaging advisors are standing by and eager to help you.

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07 Mar 2017 Are Brown Boxes More Eco-friendly Than White Boxes?

kraft box, white box, eco-friendly, Are Brown Boxes More Eco-friendly Than White Boxes?

That is most definitely a FAQ from our green minded customers and the answer is definitely yes, probably, in most cases. If that answer seems vague or non-committal, it is by design. The fact is there are many different ways to look at any packaging product’s greenness, and even more ways we can impact the natural sustainable features of packaging by what we do to it. Allow me to explain.

Green Packaging has always been a matter of perspective

Some people look at packaging strictly from a source perspective. What percentage of it is made of recycled content and what is that source. Post-consumer waste is rated much higher (greener) than post production waste, and that is better than virgin material.

Others are more concerned about packaging in terms of how easily it can be reused or if necessary, how it can be disposed of and/or recycled. As most people know, paper based packaging is typically much easier to recycle compared to plastic based packaging but it varies depending on a number of factors including type, and how it is printed or laminated.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Making the box look sharp does not always mean making it more expensive or complicated. We apply the KISS principle as much as possible because we know that over designing a shipping box adds cost and in most cases makes it less eco-friendly. Adding costly finishes to any box almost always has a negative impact on how it can be recycled and re-pulped so we prefer to increase the proverbial “WOW factor” by using screens, well printed colors, and last but not least – good substrates. No one can create a great looking print on cheap or substandard board, but it does not have to be expensive; just consistent.

Why we usually suggest brown board for a box exterior

MOST board with a white side in or out, is NOT 100% recycled content. White is typically virgin paper, that does not make it bad, in fact it makes for a great printing surface, but it is definitely not green if the goal is to use as much recycled content as possible.

In addition to the obvious green benefit, brown board is typically 5 to 6% less expensive compared to white board. Darker colors, such as dark blue, brown, and black print beautifully over natural Kraft Board, as do lighter colors like white and most pastels. However, the main reason we usually suggest brown board has nothing to do with relative greenness or material cost.

Simply put – brown boxes arrive looking better. Whether you ship UPS, FedEx or USPS, every box you ship is handled countless times and each time it ends up a little dirtier and beat up. This rough handling is much less obvious on brown board than it is on white board.

eco-friendly shipping box, custom printed boxHowever, the box interior usually arrives in perfect condition!

This is why we have become a leading designer of e-commerce boxes with interior prints. People can’t wait to open a box that just arrived, and we make sure they are greeted with a great looking box that creates the enhanced experience which is the goal of most shippers. That interior inside lid of a die cut mailer is a great printing surface for anything from a brief thank you to product use or assembly instructions, and can be inexpensively printed where they are not going to be missed or lost.

We believe this is such a great marketing tool that we have made it easy for companies to add or change an interior print, long after the box is first launched or printed. (see first related post below) It is never too late to make a great and memorable impression.

custom printed boxes, flood coatWhite exteriors for flood coat designs

If a graphic design is going to require edge to edge (flood coat) printing, we will usually recommend that printing is done on a white surface rather than brown. Natural (brown) Kraft varies in color so anything printed over it may also reflect that same shade variance. So the easy way to achieve beautiful solid color is to print it over white board.

That also makes reverse printing much easier, creating white copy that really pops. If you check out some of the boxes in our gallery, they look like they are printed white ink over a solid color but the reality is that they are a solid color ink printed over white board. The end result creates a much sharper two color look using only one color ink and one print plate.

If all this sounds complicated, it is, but not for people who do this day in and day out. We know how to create the best looking package at the lowest possible cost and will help you accomplish whatever your goals might be whether they are about color, cost, sustainability or even weight reduction for minimizing shipping costs.

Contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 to discuss your specific needs.

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29 Nov 2016 Unico Nutrition’s Packaging Is Designed for Double Duty Use, Inside and Outside

reverse print | Unico Nutrition | Salazar PackagingThe goal of branding is to always create a great impression. Unfortunately, that positive message is short lived since the packaging used for e-commerce typically ends up in a recycle bin.

Unico Nutrition creates unique dual purpose graphic design

Unico Nutrition makes excellent natural sport supplements for women. They are also a very clever, unique company that decided to give their e-commerce packaging a second life by designing it so it can be unassembled, colored, and reformed inside out for use long after the product it contained is received and consumed.

We all know e-commerce boxes take a beating during shipment and typically arrive looking dirty, banged up, and covered with tape and labels. However, the inside of the box is usually clean and pristine, so being able to turn the good/clean face out is the key to an extended box life and repurposing the packaging.

The brand lives on!

Whether a dual side use and print is for coloring or decorating or simply for a unique storage box that is more likely to be kept or used – the branding continues to impress and be noticed. After all, isn’t that the primary goal of all good branding and custom printing efforts?

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have an idea you want to discuss. As usual, the minimum is a low 1,000 boxes and will require the purchase of print plates inside and outside, but that onetime expense can clearly make your marketing and branding efforts that much more effective.

You can call us at 630-551-1700 or contact Salazar Packaging via email so one of our trained and experienced branded packaging advisors can help you get the maximum wow factor for the lowest possible cost.

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11 Feb 2016 Steamm Espresso Selects Salazar Packaging for New, First Ever, Bottled Espresso Product Line.

Steamm 12 pack exteriorWe love what we do and helping companies make great looking packaging for their e-commerce products is as much a passion as it is a career for us. One of the things that makes it fun for us is working with new companies and helping them to launch brand new products into the market place.

Steamm Espresso – unique packaging for a unique product

This is one of those companies who was not looking for ordinary or off the shelf packaging. They have created a first ever bottled espresso that is 100% natural and can be enjoyed a wide variety of different ways. The packaging took a long time to develop because presentation was very important to the customer. Many versions later, after several design tweaks, and when combined with their excellent graphics, the end result is well worth all of the time and effort.

Shot@ Life Campaign

Steamm six pack interiorThe other thing that makes this company extraordinary is their participation in this program that provides vaccines for children who are not able to otherwise access or afford them. Their “shot for shot” program provides one needy child a vaccine for every shot of Steamm Espresso sold. Great product and a great cause, how can you beat that?

What is the objective for your e-commerce packaging?

It is a challenge to try to satisfy all, possibly conflicting design requirements, because sometimes the greenest packaging materials, are not the most attractive. Or in other applications, product visibility and presentation has to be balanced with product protection.

The key is to establish your priorities and design toward that goal. Remember, we will help you create whatever packaging you want us to create for you, but market testing and ship testing is recommended, especially for expensive or fragile products being shipped.

If you want to try a unique brand of Espresso, check out If you want guidance on how to design your e-commerce or subscription box for optimal results, contact Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700.for a no cost, confidential application review.

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22 Jan 2016 The Number One Resource for Branded Shipping Containers

Capture2Whether you need a mailer envelope, a mailer box, or even custom printed tape, the one site you have to check out is the new and improved There is no better place to see examples of printed packaging for e-commerce or subscription boxes and you will find tons of information there as well.

Unforgetable inside printsSeveral Packaging Resources on One Web Site!

Our newly expanded photo gallery has dozen of new photos of great looking custom printed boxes, mailer envelopes and tapes. If you want to see some eye catching inside prints, there is probably no better place on the web to see a selection.

We have made it easier to find what you need on our blog that has several hundred posts, answering many of the most common questions. Is printing boxes or using printed tape better for your application? What standard colors are available for corrugated boxes?  What is the difference between an RSC box and a die cut mailer? Is white board more expensive than brown board? When are mailer envelopes a better option compared to mailer boxes? All of these questions and more are answered within the library of blog posts. Use the search box to find what you need, quickly and easily.

You will also find additional packaging products and answers with pages focused on sustainable packaging, internal/protective packaging, retail bags and cartons and many other packaging options.

internal packaging solutionsWhat You Will NOT Find on the new Salazar Packaging Site?

You will not find a price list. All of our printing is custom and there are way too many variables to be able to provide pricing accurately. We do not offer “stock prints” so your brand and your design can truly be yours and yours alone.

Additional Help Is Just an Email or Phone Call Away

If you do not find what you need, we always welcome emails and phone calls. The packaging experience of our designers and consultants is measured in decades, not years and our goal is to help YOU make an informed decision. We offer such a wide variety of custom printed, branded packaging for e-commerce, we will guide you towards what is truly best for you, because we are not a one product or one solution company.

Please email Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700. We would love to help you with your branding or re-branding project.

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16 Oct 2015 Danone’s New Nutrimom Program Selects Salazar Packaging for their Mailer Boxes

Three Nutrimom boxesWe have been fortunate to create hundreds of beautiful shipping containers for a variety of products for e-commerce or in subscription box applications. However, none have the long term positive impact potential as the series of boxes we just made for

Nutrimom is a brand of Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, a part of Danone (Dannon, Evian, etc.) and their new program is designed to provide nutritious products and guidance to expectant mothers and babies, as their needs change from early pregnancy through post-delivery. It is a terrific, new program and they wanted their packaging to be every bit as unique.

The Packaging Challenge

The Nutrimom program requires over twenty different product variations and combinations shipping at different times, to the expectant moms with varying needs. Our objective, as always, was to create as few packaging SKU’s as possible for the client to minimize inventory and maximize the customers’ purchase quantities, dramatically reducing their cost. Remember, buying more of fewer box sizes will always result in greater savings and remarkably we were able to reduce the number of shipping boxes to just four sizes.

The other potential problem was the variety of shapes, sizes and weights of the products being shipped within the boxes. We needed to avoid product to product damage but because of the number of combinations being shipped, we were not able to use traditional die cut inserts. So the best solution was to create simple, low cost dividers that would be easier and quicker to pack, reducing labor costs as well.

Positive and reverse print fine linesThe Graphic Design Challenge

The team at Danone and their graphics people created a beautiful design, but it included a combination of thin lines that are positive printed as well as reverse printed (see photos). With a little tweaking of their initial design and utilizing the right print plates for the job, we improved printability on the exterior of the box. They also wanted bright colors inside the box so we managed the board and ink combination for the perfect end results.

If you are looking for a gift for a mom-to-be you know, a subscription to Nutrimom would be perfect. If you are in need of expert guidance to design, or redesign your e-commerce or subscription box, contact Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a no cost application consultation.

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13 Mar 2015 Time 4 Forgiveness Selects Salazar Packaging for Their Custom Printed Packaging Needs

The Ravine book and braceletWe are always proud of the work we do and if it is not right, it simply does not ship to our customers. There are times however, especially when we are working with a non-profit organization that are even more careful than usual about board quality, color matching, and overall workmanship. We also take a little extra pride in the finished product because we know it is helping a good cause.  

As their web site points out, today over 3,000 men or women will join the three million people who are incarcerated in the United States. The statistics are astonishing and depressing, making this national problem appear to be beyond repair.

Time 4 Forgiveness is an organization of people determined to reverse that tide by developing greater understanding through a book they offer inmates, The Ravine. You can learn more about the book at their web site and if/when you read the book, you will understand the need to share it with others, especially the men and women who live in prison.

One color, reverse print on white of 9-6-2 boxSemi-Custom Branded Packaging

They needed a shipping container to mail out books and our very popular 9” X 6-1/2” X 2-3/4” was the perfect size to accommodate multiple copies of the paperback book they distribute. Without the cost of delay of a custom cutting die, we were able to get custom printed mailer boxes to them within a couple of short weeks, just in time for their launch.

The process is designed to be fast and simple, especially for first time buyers of branded packaging. Each step is designed to be efficient to minimize cost, and precise to avoid any mistakes. Others may attempt to make custom printed branded packaging an incredibly difficult and expensive task but most of our customers are pleased to find out the cost, in many cases, is actually lower due to increased purchase quantities. Remember the minimum for custom printing boxes is 1,000, so the net end result can be a lower cost per box compared to that unprinted stock box they have been using.

2 colors screened on whiteDeadlines and Objectives Met

Whether the challenge is a product or web site launch date, a costly trade show, or an important customer presentation, we can usually help you make it happen.

Contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 do discuss your specific needs.

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12 Jan 2015 The Beauty of Semi-Custom Packaging for E-commerce and Subscription Box Programs

A quick stroll through our new photo gallery section at our Salazar Packaging web site quickly shows the great variety of looks and designs we have helped our customers create. The minimalists typically prefer very little ink and the use of soft, subtle colors. Others believe in creating a memorable design by using lots of ink in bright or dark colors. Neither approach is wrong, as long as it is consistent with your products and brand.

Here is a closer look at some more recent boxes we’ve done that have created great looking boxes by using our semi-custom box sizes and adding their own bold graphic designs.

9-6-2 mailer box black over whiteWellpod – you can never go wrong with basic black, especially for a cosmetic or beauty product. The problem is that black or any solid dark color can prove difficult to print using a flexographic process on corrugated board. Wellpod trusted us with the packaging for their new beauty product line and the results were terrific using our standard 9x6x2 top lock mailer shipping box. Their site is worth waiting for and will be ready for business soon at

dark brown over white mailer boxBush & Leavenworth – they describe themselves as a clothing brand designed for creative people and they are quite consistent down to their shipping boxes. They took our basic 13x13x3 box and created a great looking mailer box with minimal copy outside and great graphics inside – all in a beautiful dark brown. Check out their site which is equally unique and eye catching –

8-9-4 one color with screensJoe’s Brew Club – If you are a coffee lover you will undoubtedly enjoy their product, site, and new box. They took our stock 8x9x4 box, and by using screens, created a very attractive three color look using only one color, minimizing ink and print plate cost. Please visit their site at

S9-6-2 mailer box with printing inside and outkosh Box – This new DEKA box program delivers full size Japanese snacks to their subscribers. They also used our very popular 9x6x2 box but probably created the brightest design we have ever printed. You think the bright yellow exterior is bold until you open the box and realize the inside turquoise is even bolder. You can learn more about their program at

What is semi-custom packaging?

Essentially it is using a box size that we already have a cutting die for to save time and money. We have over forty available sizes so we can usually satisfy almost every dimensional need, avoiding an additional one week delay for cutting die manufacturing, not to mention the typical $600 to $800 cost.

The minimum run is only 1,000 boxes and we can usually ship a first time order within two weeks of receiving final, approved art.

Not quite ready for custom printed packaging?

Take a look at the stock die cut mailers sizes available on our green packaging store at These mailers are available in one bundle minimum quantities (usually 25 or 50 boxes) and can be easily branded using labels you can print on an as needed basis. It also makes the transition to custom printed boxes much easier, later when you are ready.

Contact us at or call us at 630-551-1700 for a confidential, no cost, and no obligation review of your needs.

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30 May 2014 What is semi-custom branded packaging?

mailers all made with 9-6-2  house cutting dieSimply put, it is affordable custom printed packaging because we take some of the steps out of the process and use standard available tooling whenever possible, saving our clients time and money.

What’s the difference?

When making die cut mailer boxes, custom packaging is usually custom size and custom print. That means the customer has to purchase a custom cutting die that usually costs anywhere from $700 to $1,000. This also typically adds a week to the process. Then for the custom printing, they also need of course, custom print plates which usually cost between $400 and $600 per color and per side (inside or outside).

When making semi-custom boxes, we supply the cutting die from our long list of available “house” dies. A small sampling, but not all are listed in the corrugated mailers section of our Globe Guard Products, green packaging store. If you have a specific size that you need and it does not appear on our store, please ask. Chances are we have something that is close and will work for you. (please see photos for examples)

Whether it is a stock or a custom size, you still need to purchase print plates, however print plates are a one-time expense and typically last almost forever. Unless you change the copy, the size of the copy, or the size of the mailer box, you should never have to replace your print plates.

What semi-custom packaging is NOT

Unfortunately, it is not a way to avoid a minimum. There is a misconception that we print or imprint mailer boxes that are already made. The fact is that we print the corrugated board using the customer’s print plates, and then we cut it into boxes with the cutting die. The set up time and cost is the same whether it is a custom or semi-custom mailer box we are making so our minimum remains at a very low 1,000 boxes.

Lower quantities? Consider digital printing.

You will be hearing more about our digital printing capabilities in the very near future. It is an opportunity to create multi-color images, in very low quantities, without print plates or cutting die. Please note, the cost per box can be VERY high but for the right situation it can be a bargain because it can potentially save thousands of dollars in set up costs and hardware. Again, digital is not designed to be price competitive with standard flexographic printing, because that is not possible. However, if you need a few samples for a trade show or customer presentation, it may be the best available option.

mailers all made with 7-7-2. house  cutting dieOne Branded Packaging Company – Many Solutions

Very few companies offer a full assortment of custom printing options the way we do. They include:

  • Basic flexographic printing, inside or outside packaging container of any type
  • Upgraded inks and boards including Kemi/White Top for enhanced graphics
  • Digital printing for those unusual short run situations
  • Process print for “litho label” like applications
  • Litho Labels – when the very best images are needed

It is not as confusing as it may sound when you have the right partner helping you through the process. With packaging experience measured in decades, not months or years, we are sure to help you make an informed decision that you will not regret.

Please contact Salazar Packaging for a free and confidential, no cost application review of your specific needs.

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03 Apr 2014 New Design Added to the Salazar Packaging Eco-Friendly Mailer Box Line-Up: Front Lock – Drop Front

Front lock -drop front (front opens up)We make great looking custom mailer boxes in a variety of different designs since customer requirements vary greatly. The designs we use include top tuck, Indestructo top tuck, front lock and our Eco Mailer Box™ design. We also offer a great selection of feature options for each box mailer design, and these include easy open tabs and cut outs, side dust flaps, and flat bottoms for inside graphic purposes.

Mailer Box Design versus Feature Option Dilemma

The problem is that not all feature options are available on all mailer box designs. In some cases, they are impractical and others are simply impossible. For example, if you really want to print the bottom inside of the box, you cannot use an Indestructo style mailer because it creates tabs that fold into the bottom, covering up your copy.

Another exampEco Mailer box (back opens up)le is the Eco Mailer Box™ style that uses a minimal amount of board and makes it easy to access the product being shipped. However, if you prefer a front lock design feature for security reasons, the combination is incompatible. For a recent application where a customer insisted on having easy access and a front lock design, one of our designer friends came up with a whole new design option we have never made before.

The Front Lock – Drop Front die cut mailer box

It is first and foremost a front lock mailer with dust flaps providing the greatest amount of security and strength. However, the bottom front panel of the box does not tuck into the sides as it usually does, making it possible to create a front panel that is separated and drops down for easy product access.

This may not appear to be a huge difference, but it was important for our customer so it was important to us. It is a bit of a hybrid box, taking from three other box designs to create a whole new offering and it is perfect for this and any application requiring security AND easy access.

A Wide Selection of Packaging Can Do’s! Traditional top tuck with easy open notch and dust flaps

Whether the need is a low volume requirement for stock, unprinted mailer boxes or a truckload of custom printed boxes, we can do it for you. Whether it is a simple basic design you need, or something different like our new Eco Mailer Box or Front Lock – Drop Front design, we can do it for you.

We may not have thousands of stock sizes of plain, unprinted boxes but we do offer one of the best varieties of ecofriendly, custom printed and branded shipping containers to satisfy YOUR specific needs. Please contact us at Salazar Packaging for a no cost, no obligation and confidential conversation about your specific goals and objectives.

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