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Packaging Design Costs: Making the Most of a Small Budget

Packaging Design Costs

CPG packaging design costs are increasing. This is a significant challenge for companies struggling to make the most of small budgets. Faced with material shortages, inflation, and a rising demand for packaging materials due to home deliveries, companies have struggled to find affordable solutions to deliver goods to consumers.

In addition, transportation costs have gone up, birthing more challenges due to supply chain and weather-related disruptions. Even in the face of all of these changes in the packaging and delivery marketplace, however, it’s still possible to produce top-of-the-line packaging on a slim budget. Here’s how you can be wise about your packaging choices.

Optimize Packaging Size

Ecologically and economically, it’s best to reduce packaging. Reducing the size of packaging can help you save on materials and on shipping expenses, making smaller footprints on the earth and on your budget. Lighter packages require less fuel to ship, while physically, smaller packaging allows you to fit more into shipping containers or trucks, making deliveries lower-carbon and more efficient.

Packaging changes don’t need to be radical to make large differences. A tiny change in packaging size really adds up when it accumulates over hundreds of packages.

How can you best optimize your CPG packaging design? 

  • Look for redundancies while still protecting the items you’re shipping. Could you use fewer layers of materials without negatively impacting your products during shipping? 
  • Reduce the size of your packaging. Altering the design of your packaging and placing items into the smallest possible boxes will allow you to save on packing materials and shipping simultaneously. Conduct packaging optimization tests to ensure your items are protected in the smallest feasible packaging sizes. 

black woman opening a box

Select Cost-Effective Materials

Choosing traditional, heavy packaging materials no longer works. Thinner materials can be less expensive to make and they’re lightweight, so they’re also less expensive to ship. You don’t need to stick with your old, clunky boxes if there are new, lightweight materials available.  As it’s more cost-effective to purchase packaging in bulk, all new packaging designs should align with your shipping needs and budget, so try them out before you adopt them as new standards.

When you’re thinking about new materials, consider all aspects of your packaging design including: 

  • What materials is it currently made from? Could it be made differently? 
  • Could it be smaller? 
  • Do you need all the layers of packaging your product is currently using? 
  • Could there be fewer package inserts? Could they be sent or linked digitally instead?

Per OptimoRoute, “Sonos used to include a long legal booklet as an insert with every speaker. They digitized the file and sent it to all customers by email instead.” Digital information sheets are easier to file and less likely to get lost over time, so aside from saving on packaging, you’re also making life easier for consumers.

Leverage Digital Printing Technologies 

You don’t want to skimp on your branding, but you need to create branded products more cost-effectively. Digital printing technologies can answer the call. Going digital now means you’ll have high print quality, color control, and registration consistency. Digital printing can also allow you to print everything from on-demand color labels to full-color overprinting on cartons. 

Digital printing is particularly effective for smaller production runs. It has faster turnaround times, and it can reduce packaging design costs. Whether you’re a small business testing the market for a new product, or you’re doing a limited run of a specific package, digital printing can make your budget stretch. Instead of investing in costly printing plates, digital printing allows you to quickly customize your packaging at a low cost. Be nimble, respond to market needs, and lower your printing budget by going digital. 

Collaborate with Packaging Suppliers 

Packaging suppliers want to continue working with your business, so they’re motivated to explore opportunities to save on your packaging design if that’s what you desire. Suppliers are packaging experts who are up to date on industry trends. They can help you consider ways to optimize your materials and designs. Depending on who you work with, they may also have a variety of production techniques that could save you money on future packaging choices. Treat your packaging suppliers as business collaborators who are invested in your products’ success.

girl handling boxes

Consider Sustainable Packaging Practices

When you’re sending directly to consumers, CPG packaging is part of your branding. Less costly packaging doesn’t need to look cheap. In fact, thrifty, eco-conscious packaging can become part of your brand identity. If you use lightweight, easy-to-recycle materials, mention this on your packaging to appeal to green consumers. Choose fewer layers of packaging, and lighten your impact on the planet.

Look at packaging made from single materials rather than merged materials. It’s easier to recycle, and it can be less expensive. When it comes to packaging, making an environmentally conscious choice can be beneficial for your branding, ecological impact, and bottom line. 

While inflation has hit businesses and consumers hard, it’s possible to reduce your CPG packaging costs. Simplifying your packaging and adapting your packaging materials can result in cost savings and be environmentally friendly.

PKG Brand Design is always at the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives.

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