As the holidays quickly approach, it’s the perfect time of year to get creative with your custom packaging. Fall can be a deeply nostalgic season. As leaves fall and preparations for the holiday season begin, how can your brand’s packaging take advantage of this special time of year?

From designing Halloween gift baskets filled with candy to a Thanksgiving box to offbeat holidays like National Cupcake Day, there are many unique and innovative ways to utilize your custom packaging and create a unique unboxing experience for your customers.

Here are four tips to help you design your own packaging that will not only look fantastic but will be sure to please your customers, employees and partner brands.

1. Design Custom Packaging Around Relevant Holidays

As the calendar year comes to a close, we often think of Christmas as the big holiday to focus our marketing efforts on.

While Christmas is the obvious holiday to consider, don’t miss out on opportunities to create packaging focused on Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Hey Mikel, an online artist, created custom packaging featuring classic horror icons for Halloween.

Custom packaging for Halloween

Sweet Stirling, a gourmet caramel brand, wrapped up their delicious treats in this festive box for Thanksgiving.

Custom packaging for Thanksgiving

Take some time to think about other holidays that can connect your brand with its target audience.

For example, if one of your target demographics is veterans or the families of veterans, honor them by creating packaging for Veteran’s Day (November 11). Consider creating a patriotic red, white and blue box to strike the right tone to recognize and give thanks to all the American veterans who have served this country.

If you’re approaching your packaging from a more cultural perspective, design a box for Día de los Muertos, an important holiday in Mexican culture. Starting at midnight on October 31 and going until November 2, this holiday serves to remember loved ones who have passed away. Create eye-catching designs using colors like green, pink and yellow—along with holiday’s famed skull motif—to mark this yearly event.

But that’s not to say you shouldn’t think about creating Christmas packaging. Customizing your packaging means your customers can directly gift your product to their friends and family without additional wrapping or other materials. Just look at this festive packaging for holiday treats. It evokes thoughts of Christmas immediately.

Custom packaging for Christmas

Creating packaging that speaks to popular seasonal trends is an easy way to resonate with your customers. If your brand is in the food industry, for example, there are plenty of food holidays that can give you inspiration for your next custom packaging design.

Keep in mind that packaging boxes don’t have to limit themselves to visual design. For example, National Nachos Day (November 6) can be the perfect opportunity to create packaging that not only features tantalizing food imagery but also contains a fun nacho recipe on the bottom or inside flap of the box that uses one of your brand’s ingredients.

3. Consider the Shareability of Your Packaging

Truly great packaging design is gold for social media. Given the importance of social sharing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you’ll want to create packaging that speaks strongly with your brand’s target audience and has an eye-catching design to encourage social sharing.

Your packaging should pack a visual punch when your customer finally unboxes your product. Creating a memorable unboxing experience will keep your customers coming back time and time again.

Consider receiving a plain brown cardboard box on your doorstep, versus a sleek, colorful and beautifully designed custom package. The latter is undeniably more eye-catching and, as a result, more appealing to snap a photo and share on Instagram.

In an age where a strong social media presence can make or break a brand, creating packaging that encourages a shareable experience is more important than ever.  

Include your brand’s social handles and one or two relevant hashtags on your box can improve the chance that your customers share it on social media. This an easy (and free!) way to advertise your brand and increase visibility across multiple platforms.

When considering the placement of social handles on your packaging, it’s helpful to try to engage the text with the visual aspects of the box. For example, if you’re creating a custom box that features colorful autumn foliage in the design, try embedding your social media handles on specific leaves in a brown, orange, yellow or red color that stands out but still matches the color palette of the entire design.

Another easy but powerful way to engage with customers and boost the visibility of your custom packaging is by liking and commenting on photos that customers post on social media. Take it a step further by retweeting their photos as well or sharing them on your Instagram Story. Giving specific customers shout-outs in this way fosters a kind of genuine brand loyalty and excitement that you can’t purchase.

4. Find the Right Designer for Your Packaging

All great packaging designs start with a great graphic designer. If you don’t have a designer to create your packaging, it’s crucial to find the right designer who not only understands your brand, but can also illustrate its core message in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Before you begin the process of reaching out to design agencies or freelancers, create a brief that will summarize the key points of your brand to a potential designer. A brief should include:

  • A description of the product or service your brand offers
  • An explanation of how custom packaging designs will help your brand reach its goal(s)
  • Your target market
  • Mood board photos for inspiration
  • A list of competitors
  • The deadline for your project

Prepare Your Holiday Packaging Today!

Getting your custom packaging ready for the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore. When it’s time to design your packaging, there’s a lot to consider but these 4 handy tips will help you get started.

Just keep in mind that you’ll want to get a jump on it so you don’t miss important holiday order deadlines.

Mark Wilson is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Packlane, an online printing company that makes the process of ordering custom boxes and packaging easy and affordable for brands of any size. Packlane offers low minimums, fast turnaround, full customization options, and free online proofs in 3D.