Design Guide: Subscription Box Packaging

Design Guide: Subscription Box Packaging


We’ve all seen them. The consumer landscape is full of them. Influencers hawk them. What are they? Subscription boxes! 

Shaking up the retail status quo, subscription boxes have come in hard and fast. Ensemblly challenged? There’s a subscription for that. Burning through your razors faster than you can remember to refill them? There’s a subscription for that. Don’t know what you’re going to cook on a Thursday night? You got it, there’s a subscription for that too. 

So what components of subscription box design communicate its purpose most effectively? And what materials should you consider? Below, we are breaking down the ABC’s of subscription box design. 

  1. Types of Boxes 

Your safest bet when it comes to subscription boxes would be to send it off in a mailer box. Mailer boxes are rigid and durable. Not to mention that they fold up in seconds. 

Check out the strikingly minimal design for the Billie Razor subscription mailer box below: 

Image source 

Shipping boxes can also be a good option, especially if you are moving bigger products. While a little less stylish than their mailer counterparts, shipping boxes are made from corrugated cardboard making them an affordable and durable option. 

Take a peek at this example of a shipping box used for a kitchen gadget subscription: 

Image via the

  1. Protective Packaging

Consider using protective packaging (such as custom cardboard inserts) to fit products neatly in the boxes. This can help cut down on the materials needed, and protect the products from being damaged during the shipping process. 

  1. Imagery 

Is your subscription service representative of a number of brands/partners? Or is your subscription for one brand alone? Regardless, it’s important to keep in mind what message you want to reach your customer first. 

Here is a nice example of a subscription box which allows shoppers to customize their box with a variety of different products. These range from high-end skin care products to organic chocolate. Notice the minimal design conveying ambiguity. The font suggests that whatever is contained inside is luxurious and personal at the same time.

Image source

Next, check out this example of a singular brand subscription box. For coffee lovers, Sockbird allows them to sample different blends and varietals. The branding is seamless from mailer box to coffee bag and cup. The consumer understands what they are receiving and see the same imagery reflected throughout the box as well as its contents. Incorporating a seamless design, graphics and imagery can also build brand awareness. 

Image source  

  1. Make it ‘Grammable 

Every girl-next-door-turned-bachelorette has cemented their influencer status with a partnership with Fit Fab Fun. You’ve probably seen it pop up on your explore feed. Another influencer hawking the next hot subscription box. Inevitably, platforms like Instagram have become incredibly powerful marketing tools. Make your box ‘gram worthy. Do your research, dive deep into hashtags, geotags, and be in-the-know with the trends. 

About The Author

Kirsten Crisostomo is a freelance copy and content writer based in Vancouver, BC.

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