The Real Cost of Custom Packaging

The Real Cost of Custom Packaging

Custom packaging is a great way to make your products stand out from other businesses and create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers. But how much does custom packaging really cost? The cost of custom packaging can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the packaging, the materials, the printing method, and the quantity you order.

In this blog article, we will explore the real cost of custom packaging (plus some of the unknown costs you may not know about) and provide tips on how to get the best deal on packaging. We will also discuss the benefits of custom packaging and why it is worth the investment.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Custom Packaging?

Size and Complexity of Packaging

The size and complexity of the packaging will have a big impact on the cost. A simple, one-piece box will be less expensive than a multi-piece packaging box. The larger the packaging, the more material it will require. Additionally, the more complex the packaging, the more time and labor it will take to produce, which will increase the cost.

Here are some examples of how the size and complexity of packaging can affect the cost:

  • A simple, one-piece box of a smaller size might cost around $0.50 per unit.
  • A multi-piece paperboard package with complex folding might cost around $1.00 per unit.
  • A larger plastic clamshell package that has a snap-on lid might cost around $2.00 per unit.

As the size and complexity of your custom packaging increases, there are more costs involved in producing it. This can also apply to custom product labels as well. If your label requires a unique die shape, a custom kit die, or special perforation for your container, those factors will affect the overall cost of your packaging.

Materials Used

The materials used in the packaging will affect the cost in a number of ways. Paperboard is the most common material for custom packaging boxes because it is relatively inexpensive. However, you can also use other materials such as plastic, metal, and glass. 

The cost of the materials themselves will vary, but the weight of the materials will affect shipping costs too. Heavier materials mean more shipping costs to consider once you receive your new packaging. Furthermore, the more durable your custom packaging material is, the more expensive it will be. The upside to this is that more durable packaging will protect your products better.

It is important to consider the materials used in your packaging when you are budgeting for custom packaging. If you can use less expensive materials, you can save money. However, don’t compromise on protecting your products. Having less durable materials can lead to your packaging being damaged once it arrives. This will result in a poor unboxing experience for your customers.

Here are some tips for reducing your material costs for custom packaging:

  • Use paperboard instead of plastic, metal, or glass.
  • Use thinner paperboard. Ask your printing supplier if they have different weights of paperboard and how it affects the cost of your packaging.
  • Use less complex folding.
  • Use smaller sizes for your packaging.
  • Consider using a pre-made package design. See what types of dies the packaging supplier already has on hand. Using an in-stock die for your custom product labels or product boxes can save you money.

By following these tips, you can reduce the cost of custom packaging without sacrificing the quality or effectiveness of your packaging.

Printing Method

The printing method will affect the cost. Digital printing, which we offer at Sttark, is the most economical option for custom packaging and labeling. However, other methods like offset printing or flexographic printing can also be used. 

The complexity of printing your custom packaging will affect the cost. More complex printing methods, such as adding spot colors, embellishments, or varnishes, will cost more. If your custom packaging requires more inks to be used, printers will include this in the cost of printing.

Packaging suppliers will typically include things like basic machine setup costs and ink costs in the printing price you receive. If you can use a less expensive printing method, you can save money.

Quantity Ordered

The quantity you order will also impact the cost of your custom packaging. Larger quantity orders will cost less per unit. It’s important to know that some custom label and packaging printers have MOQs, or Minimum Order Quantities, to even place an order with them.

At Sttark, we do not have MOQs, and the price you see published on the online quoter is our best price for your custom packaging based on your specifications. We also work off of a bulk pricing system, so the cost of your custom packaging is reduced by ordering larger quantities or more designs in one order.

Here are some examples of how the quantity ordered in packaging can affect the cost:

Bulk pricing example: Custom Packaging
  • Ordering 100 units of a simple, one-piece paperboard box might cost around $0.50 per unit.
  • Ordering 1,000 units of the same box might cost around $0.40 per unit.
  • Ordering 10,000 units of the same box might cost around $0.30 per unit.

There are a number of ways you can make the most of your pricing for custom packaging and reduce the cost of custom packaging when considering quantity. 

  • Order as many units as you think you will need.
  • Order in bulk to save on the cost of materials and shipping.

A Few Unknown Costs of Custom Packaging

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a few other possible unknown costs of custom packaging that business owners should be aware of. These include:

Printed Proofs

Printed proofs can be necessary before production begins to ensure that your packaging design is correct. The cost of printed proofs can vary because the printer runs your order through most of its print production stages. Printed proofs give you an accurate representation of what your label or packaging will look like once the full order is printed on their machines.

Sttark includes Nex Day Air shipping in the cost of our printed proof to ensure customers can review their designs quickly and print their full order.

Prepress Costs of Custom Packaging

Prepress is the process of preparing your custom packaging designs for printing. This includes tasks such as converting the digital artwork file to the correct format for printing (CMYK) and checking the file for errors like missing fonts, incorrect sizing, or low-resolution artwork. We recommend an artwork resolution of 800 ppi at Sttark to ensure your artwork prints crisp and clear. The minimum artwork resolution for print is 300 ppi (pixels per inch). 

You can view Sttark’s Prepress Checklists for custom labels and folding cartons by clicking on the images below.

The cost of prepress is typically baked into the price of your order. Additional Prepress costs may be needed depending on the number of changes that need to be made. Some simple file changes may be made by Prepress Artists, but you should not expect this to be the case for all label and packaging printers.

Artwork Editing

If your business does not have high-quality artwork that is ready for print, you will need to hire a graphic design team to edit your artwork or create a new packaging design for you from scratch. The cost of artwork editing can vary depending on the complexity of the design request. 

As you’re thinking about the cost of your custom packaging, you should check with multiple custom packaging companies to see if they offer graphic design services on their website and get a quote to see what the additional cost will be. 

Can I get artwork editing or graphic design without printing my packaging?

It’s important to know that many custom packaging companies require you to place a printing order with them before they will do any design work for you. At Sttark, we let customers order graphic design without requiring them to place a printing order for labels or folding cartons. This way, you don’t have to delay getting your labels or packaging because you’re waiting on design changes.

By keeping these important factors in mind, businesses can avoid surprises and ensure that they have a realistic budget for their custom packaging project.

As you can see, the cost of custom packaging can vary depending on a number of factors. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost and make the most out of the purchasing experience. By following the tips in this article, you can get custom packaging that meets your needs and budget.

If you are ready to get started with custom packaging, Sttark can help! Contact us or get an instant quote online today.

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