How to Choose the Right Packaging for Your Product. Folding Carton or Rigid Set-Up Boxes?

by Austin Johnson March 11, 2015

Packaging does more than just hold a product. It’s a way to communicate the differential and position of your product and brand. The outside packaging of a product could be the difference in whether or not your product gets picked up and purchased. In fact, eye-tracking studies show consumers read on average only seven words in an entire shopping trip, buying instinctively by color, shape and familiarity of location. That means packaging has a big job to do – it must tell a story and sell a product without saying a word. At Tap, we not only strive to create packaging our clients love but also packaging that protects the product, extends the brand, and increases sales.

Determining the Structure

Before we develop a box, we must decide on the structure and substrate (materials used such as paperboard). What type of folding carton or rigid set-up is best for your product? In order to make this determination, we ask a lot of questions. Here are some things to consider when thinking about the best structure and substrate for your package:

  • What is going in the box? How much does it weigh? What are the dimensions of the product? How many pieces are going inside the box? Do they need protected?
  • Are there any quality or performance specifications? Water resistance, grease barrier, outdoor use, child safety, FDA compliance, etc.
  • Is a window needed to show off your product?
  • What is your budget?
  • How will the product be fulfilled? If it is being fulfilled by hand, has this been calculated into the budget?
  • What is the function of the package? Is it a gift package? Does it need to dispense the product? Can the packaging be repurposed after purchase?
  • How is it going to be shipped?
  • What are the retail shelf requirements where your product will be placed? Do the boxes need to be able to be stacked on top of eachother?

The next step is to decide what kind of box is right for your product and your brand.

Folding Cartons

Folding cartons are boxes generally made out of SBS or Kraft paperboard, which typically range from 10 pt to 24 pt board. The artwork is printed directly onto the folding carton substrate itself. Folding cartons are generally shipped flat for easy transportation and storing. Once they are ready to be filled, the pre-glued flat cartons can be popped into shaped by the end-user. There are many types of folding cartons. Stay tuned for a discussion on folding carton types.


  • Fast and easy to produce
  • Endless possibilities with sizes, shapes and carton styles
  • Can be digitally printed (read more about the benefits of digital printing)
  • Easy to store
Rigid Set-Up



Rigid set-up boxes are made of heavier, thicker chipboard, ranging from 35 pt to 90 pt board. After the board is cut to size, it is formed and wrapped with a thinner material that showcases the artwork or graphics. Rigid boxes are shipped fully formed, which means while the weight and volume of the master carton may be light, the shipping containers can be large and contain a lot of “air.”


  • Higher perceived product value by the customer
  • Strong and durable, better product protection
  • No assembly needed

To learn more about what type of packaging is right for your product and brand contact Tap today!




Austin Johnson
Austin Johnson