This article was originally written by Ray Masaki of Lowdtown
Custom packaging is one of those things that are icing on the cake. I think it’s awesome when I get a package that comes in an awesome box, or custom mailer, but it usually ends up in the trash regardless. The only thing I really care about in regards to packaging is that it’ll keep my purchase safe during shipping, and that it has my address on it. However, I do have some ideas on how to make packaging look good without breaking the bank.
I personally love stickers. I just like sticking them on stuff, and I think it makes boring things look awesome (eg. NY street signs, my sketchbook). People tend to underestimate the versatility and awesomeness of stickers. If you make a thousand of a sticker specifically for packaging, it’ll make your mailer or shipping box unique with barely any work. Plus getting a thousand stickers made is way cheaper than paying for a thousand pieces of custom packaging. Here’s one concept that I had thought of in the past that I didn’t end up using, but I thought it was a pretty cool idea. I was going to design a clear vinyl sticker to look like a wax seal, and stick it on the packaging as if it were mad official or something. I don’t know, maybe that’s a shitty example, but if you come up with a clever idea, use it! Or you can make a logo sticker, and stick that on your packaging, and still use it as a sticker to sell/giveaway as well.
The other thing that I think makes packaging way nicer is polybags. I don’t know why, but when a shirt comes in a sealed bag, it feels way more legit to me. I like seeing the t-shirt folded nicely inside, and opening the bag as if no one has touched it before. They are insanely cheap, and every person with a clothing business should know how to fold a shirt nicely, so it’s definitely an easy investment to make. Plus, it adds an added layer of protection for shipping.
Polymailers come in all sorts of different colors as well. There’s nothing wrong with receiving a white polymailer package in the mail, but paying a couple cents more per mailer and you could get a black, gold, silver colored mailer. It’s not anything too special, but it makes your package just a little bit more exciting to get in the mail. I love the feeling of knowing what the package is even before looking at the address; it makes opening it that much more fun.
Hang tags also add to the professionalism of your package, but in my opinion, are not necessary at all. Unless you’re trying to do retail, having a hang tag won’t really make a difference to me. However, sometimes when I get really custom hang tags, the brand usually leaves some sort of lasting impression on me. Some people use die-cut stickers as hang tags, which I think is pretty cool novel idea. Some shirts I’ve bought even come with hang tags that double as key chains, which is something I would definitely keep if it looks cool. Just one thing to keep in mind, if you’re going to use a tagging gun, be careful. I’ve gotten complaints about the tags leaving small holes, so I prefer not to use them anymore.
An example of an awesome hang tag via: Jordan Metcalf
Those are my tips. If you have the extra money to go crazy on packaging, then go for it. Just consider that your hard work and money may end up in someone’s trash because most people just don’t keep packaging lying around their houses. It definitely does make receiving a package in the mail feel special, but don’t add a couple bucks to your price to justify the packaging cost.