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Knowledge Center

Custom Packaging

As the name suggests, custom packaging is essentially designing packaging around your products from scratch rather than simply selecting a ready-made box that the product might fit into. This means creating a brand-new box specifically for each and every one of your shipment’s contents (and presentation!).


Substrate is used in a converting process such as printing or coating to generally describe the base material onto which, e.g. images, will be printed. Base materials may include:

  • plastic films or foils
  • release liner
  • textiles,
  • plastic containers
  • any variety of paper(lightweight, heavyweight, coated, uncoated, paperboard, cardboard, etc.), or
  • parchment.

Recycled Paperboard

Coated Recycled Paperboard (CRB) Also known as Clay Coated Newsback ( CCNB), this material is typically coated with a thin layer of kaolin clay to improve its printing surface. It is produced from 100 percent recycled paperboard including old containers, newspapers, box board clippings and selected whites. Recycled paper board is a type of paper board produced using recovered waste from paper, thereby converting consumer sources as well as plants to meet production requirements. This recycled paper board includes a small quantity of virgin fibers, which are added during recycling to increase strength.

Kraft Board

Kraft paper or kraft is paper or paperboard (cardboard) produced from chemical pulp produced in the kraft process. Sack kraft paper, or just sackpaper, is a porous kraft paper with high elasticity and high tear resistance, designed for packaging products with high demands for strength and durability.

Corrugated Board

Corrugated fiberboard is a material consisting of a fluted corrugated sheet and one or two flat linerboards. It is made on “flute lamination machines” or “corrugators” and is used in the manufacture of shipping containers and corrugated boxes.


A template is a vector file that used to visually show a package’s layout, whether it is a folding carton or a countertop display box. These templates include lines for folding to demonstrate the proper layout of a package. Once these are downloaded from a site, they can be edited, rotated and even have dimensions changed to get a better idea of how a finished product will appear.

You can find templates in almost any shape and size, and these include everything from door hangers to pyramid-shaped boxes. Templates are sometimes listed based on the quantity of panels they contain, as this varies based on needs. Accordion templates are popular, as they can hold information within a large number of panels. Tray card templates, on the other hand, are more popular with compact disc packaging.

These printing templates are beneficial in helping a customer customize their packages exactly as they like. They are usually offered complimentary with a website and are often opened with Adobe Illustrator when edits are made. Other programs in which templates are customized include Adobe PDF, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word and QuarkXPress.

After you download the template, you can add your content to it via your favorite program. This template will be crucial for determining the content and layout of your page as the consumer will view it. The fact that the process is easy and fast means you do not always need to hire a professional graphic designer and will be able to create a final product within mere minutes.

Process Color

Process and PMS (Spot) are two different systems for generating colors.

Process colors are created by applying separate layers of 4 colors – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) – in various concentrations on the paper. By mixing these 4 colors, just about any imaginable color can be created. CMYK 4-Color Process is commonly used for printed matter that contains photographs.

PMS Color

Pantone Matching System color, is frequently used for printing spot colors, as these are printed with unique ink. The color is specified based on its pantone number or name within a color chart. It allows the colors to appear exactly as intended once printed instead of how they appear on a computer screen.


A finishing operation in which a printed substrate is covered with a clear film, such as a primer(usually added as a prelude to printing or other coating operations), a lacquer, a barrier coat, or an overprint varnish. Alternately, only a portion of a printed material may be coated, called spot coating or spot varnishing. Coatings applied after printing may either be aqueous (water-based) which dry by evaporation, or electron-beam or ultraviolet coatings which dry by polymerization when exposed to electron beams and ultraviolet light, respectively.


A die line serves as a package template that guarantees proper layout for a printed item. It is a diagram that demonstrates all the cut lines and creases of a package in flattened form. They are also used for envelopes, pocket folders and more. There are a few steps toward making proper, exact die lines for products such as boxes.

Sometimes, a customer may send an example of the packaging to the print company. The company would then take apart the sent package to locate designs and tucks and take measurements. When there is a product, but no packaging, the measurements are instead taken for the actual item with wrapped paper added to estimate size.

From here, die lines are then created in Adobe Illustrator with certain design guidelines. You can then use a hard copy of the die line you create to test with the product you are packaging. Once you have it right, hard copy prototypes are made with heavyweight paper or different materials. Following careful checking of prototypes for solidness and other elements, the finished packaging product will be ready to hit the racks.

UV Gloss

UV coating, or ultraviolet coating, is a very glossy, shiny liquid coating applied to a printed paper surface and cured on a printing press or special machine using ultraviolet light. The coating hardens, or cures when it is exposed to ultra violet radiation.

UV coating makes your printed piece eye catching, and is perfect for products such as postcards, hand-out sheets, presentation folders, business cards and catalogs, or any product that can benefit from a rich, glossy and dramatic look.


A layer of clear plastic applied to a sheet of paper (or other material) for preservation, protection, or other purposes. Lamination also refers to the process of applying such a clear plastic layer.

Soft Touch

This coating creates a velvety texture. The paper becomes “soft” to the touch and increases the tactile appeal. It creates a softer look and feel on printed materials than either aqueous or UV coating, while creating a barrier which is fingerprint resistant. It dries fast, is non-yellowing, and is eco-friendly. Luxurious and sophisticated are words often used to describe the effect Soft Touch® coating produces.

Soft Touch coating is a great option when you want to add a velvety, matte look and feel to your piece. Its tactile appeal makes it a perfect option for postcards, brochures, business cards and hangs tags.


Embossing is the process of using male and female etched dies (typically made of magnesium, brass or copper) and heat to raise or push letters or a design above the surface of a sheet of paper; it creates an eye-catching three-dimensional effect. The embossing die is made with a reversed image of the design. When this process creates an indented image, it is known as debossing. Computer controlled milling machines or hand sculptured engraving are used to convert the graphic image to the metal embossing die.


Debossing is the opposite of embossing. With debossing, the imprinted design causes depressions in the material leaving a depressed (debossed) imprint of the image on the paper or cardstock. Debossing impresses a die into the surface of the paper material. Both embossing and debossing can be used in combination with offset printing or foil stamping to add depth and impact to a design. Dies can be sculpted as single-level, multilevel, sculptured or with beveled edges to create striking, multi-dimensional designs.

Foil Stamping

There are many types of foil that can make your printed piece pop.

  • Metallic Foils have a metal-like sheen and a shine or shimmer, and come in a variety of colors, such as gold, silver, copper, green, blue and red.
  • Gloss Pigment Foils have a high glossy, but non-metallic finish and come in many colors.
  • Matte Pigment Foils have a dull finish with deep solid colors.
  • Special Effects Foils such as marbles, woodgrains, leathers or pearl add distinctive textures and looks.
  • Holographic Foils use the transfer of a hologram image onto unique foils. Holographic foils add a dramatic effect that often provides a “high-tech” look.