There are loads of companies out there that'll take your money and print you a generic delivery box or sticker (like VistaPrint, MOO and Noissue), but designing packaging that works for your brand from the start means you'll waste less time in the long run. Here, Martina Schwarz, founder of refillable handwash company Blackmarket, offers her advice on how to get it right from the get-go. 

1. Seek inspiration from others.

‘Companies engineer their packaging to a degree that you can't even imagine. They're spending thousands on packaging agencies to get the best results. So, go buy their product, take it apart and test it. Don't copy – but try to learn. Go in-store and see what catches your eye or check out [creative platforms that serve the packaging industry] Dieline or Behance.’

2. Get advice from designers.

‘Talk to people that do this every day and get their advice. They know way more than you do. Ask them how you can make your packaging look great and not spend so much money. Be open-minded and listen to their advice.’ Designers will also be able to help you with the fiddly sides of packaging – like making sure your design is the right color.

3. Make everything multifunctional.

‘Can you find elements that can fulfill two purposes? Our e-commerce box doubles as a gift set. We were very careful with what we printed, printing only inside the box. The outside is completely blank. We then use a branded sticker – that's actually tape – to seal it. We also use that tape to fulfill wholesale orders.’

4. Don't let costs spiral.

‘Often sustainability and costs go hand in hand. Our tissue paper is newspaper. It's not what you would use normally, but we realized that there was no need to have branded tissue paper. It's an added cost that doesn't add enough value.’

5. Test it – a lot.

‘If anyone is creating a product and hasn't shipped it to themselves, go out and do that right now. Send it to friends in different countries. See how it comes back. Is whatever's inside broken? Or squished? Test it out as much as you possibly can. This is fundamental, because you want to know if there's a problem before your customer does.’

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more useful stories, tips, tricks and simply good advice, sign up here.

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