CXM Marketing Group

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How to Design Custom Boxes for Subscription Services?

Custom boxes

Custom boxes have always been a productive way to convey your brand messages. The past year has emphasized the demand and significance of using customized subscription boxes, more so than ever before.

Why is custom packaging highly valued by clients? If the recent customer retention poll is anything to go by, your brand success rides on how you present your subscription packaging. Customer retention in this industry is fickler than most others. Around 4 in 10 customers consider changing their subscriptions at some point. It makes it difficult and highly critical to persuade buyers to continue with their subscriptions in the future.

Box designs elevate shopping experiences. These are considered fundamental to keeping buyers interested in your brand for a durable time. But what really works to entice customers?

We bring to you 7 of the biggest box design trends of 2021 so you can pick your favorites.

Popular packaging trends of 2021

Use of geometric and simple designs

An increasingly popular packaging trend is the use of bold and extremely simple geometric ideas. These geometrical concepts feature firm lines, basic angles, emotive colors, and a clean preview of what the customers can expect from the brand.

Market-dominating brands like M&S and Apple have been using such patterns on their boxes. This year more brands have followed suit. Customers now consider simplistic box designs as part of a regal brand image.

The primary reasons include:

  • Easily readable brand and product name
  • Cleaner box covers that convey a serious business image.
  • Endorses the market trend and reflects premium brand attributes
  • Looks different from the rest of the crowd.

Color blocking

Color blocking is being used by the packaging industry for a long time. In 2021, it has taken on a new appearance that features distinctive color combinations, variations in block weight & shape, and textures.

Previously color blocking included perfect and symmetric grids and lines. Today, the trend is changed to adopt more organic and real shapes comprising rigid lines and unbalanced textures. Customers prefer a personalized touch to the boxes. Handwritten or hand-painted boxes are valued extremely highly.

Smooth graphics

This year saw brands opting for a more graphical representation of their brand story. Pictures convey brand messages faster than texts. Several retail brands have decided to tell their story using simple and sometimes cartoonish illustrations that use color blocks to make images that are immediately recognizable.

For instance, many food brands opt for box seals to print engaging graphics. This way, the illustrations make a subtle yet powerful influence on customers. These add character to the boxes and make them funny and interactive without being in your face. Customers are more likely to continue with their subscription when the boxes extend a pleasing shopping vibe.

Cleaner packaging practices

The option for emitting a socially responsible corporate image has turned into a compulsion. Where using sustainable boxes gave brands a leg up, it merely gets them in the race.

One popular way of achieving cleaner boxes is by customizing the custom boxes’ size. Using smaller boxes for relatively small items is a good way to show that your brand cares for the environment. Apt box designs curb the need for extra space fillers and protect the contents more strongly. Subscriptions are received monthly, using lighter boxes is an effective way to reduce costs too.

Your brand can also get a third-party certificate for green packaging. It only affirms the fact that your business considers the buyers’ expectations and is committed to the environment. Moreover, research has shown that the virus lives a day on cardboard and about 3-4 days on plastic. Using sustainable packaging also aligns with the current demand for hygienic subscription boxes.

Generate positive sentiments

People increasingly buy brands that emit positive emotions. Dull and dark subscription boxes generally generate negative reviews.

The post-pandemic 2021 saw more customers switching to vibrant tones and lively depictions of products. Brands naturally obliged to these changes. So, the industry saw the bulk of subscription boxes produced using personalized notes, glamourized patterns, and lively communicative tones. Calmer color shades are also more dominant this year than ever before. It is reflective of customers’ desire to see comforting attributes on subscription packaging.

Custom boxes

Error-free typography

Of course, this one is never going to get out of fashion! If anything, clear fonts and texts have become more essential as customers have more platforms to educate themselves from. Brands want to make their image immediately recognizable to those unfamiliar with it. To make typography easy to read from a distance, the latest trend is to:

  • Use complementary color palettes.
  • Use bold colors, which help grab the attention of shoppers.

If you don’t already use clear typing skills, it is high time you start doing it to pick up the industry trends and gain from the upbeat brand identity.

Improved unboxing process.

The rise in e-commerce and customers’ being confused over the best option for them has given rise to the unboxing trend.

The millions of videos posted on YouTube focus on reviewing custom printed shipping boxes. Subscriptions are more sensitive to such trends as customers only get a tangible business vibe when they receive their boxes.

Making the unboxing quirky, interesting, and unusual is the key to pleasing customers. One happy customer is bound to share his/her experience online with thousands of others. It is a 2021 marketing method that just can’t be missed. This trend is likely to continue in the coming years too. Thus, it makes sense to invest in creating customized subscription boxes as innovatively as possible.

All the stated packaging trends of 2021 have brought a significant change in the subscription industry. Brands are now more conscious of their box appeal. Using these would help you capture more subscriptions.


Customers are quick to notice brands offering custom boxes as per their specifications. Staying up-to-date with packaging trends works to enhance the brand’s value proposition.