Sourceful Blog

12 mailer box design ideas to boost sales

Rachel Lawton · Apr 11th, 2023 · 14 min read

Mailer boxes can play a vital part in the customer experience. As well as delivering your product safely, a beautifully designed mailer box can trigger a rush of feel-good neurochemicals in your customer’s brain. This gives them a memorable experience and increases their chances of buying from you again.

So, designing beautiful packaging that customers will love needs to be a key part of any brand’s business strategy. But where do you start?

We’ve put together a list of 12 ideas to help you create stunning packaging to boost sales and keep your customers coming back for more.

12 mailer box design ideas

  1. Customise packaging size and shape
  2. Create eye-catching designs
  3. Add interior flair
  4. Showcase custom artwork
  5. Make colours pop
  6. Signal sustainable values
  7. Embellish with UV varnish
  8. Showcase certifications
  9. Seal packaging sleekly
  10. Seal packaging stylishly
  11. Create picture-perfect presentation
  12. Make your filling fun

1. Customise packaging size and shape

Before you create your eye-catching packaging, you need to know the surface area you’re working with. And that depends on your product.

If you’re shipping jewellery, you’ll probably use a smaller box. But if you’re shipping a subscription package or a gift, you might need something larger. Packaging companies always offer standard mailer box sizes, but many also allow you to create a custom size for your product.

Getting the right-sized packaging for your product is important. When your packaging is too large, you’ll end up shipping more material and using up more freight space, which increases your carbon footprint and your costs. It’s also important for customer retention, as 48% of UK customers cite oversized packaging as one of the most annoying things about e-commerce.

You can even generate brand awareness by designing a more unique size and shape, helping you to stand out in a sea of standardised packaging.

2. Create eye-catching designs

When you hear the words “Coca-Cola” what colours do you think of? Red, white and brown? That’s because the company uses consistent colours, making its products instantly and internationally recognisable.

So, like Coca-Cola, you can use your colour palette on your external-facing packaging to increase familiarity with your brand. But, there’s even more to using colours than creating brand recognition.

Certain colours create an emotional response. Yellow, for example, is associated with optimism and is great for grabbing customer attention. Black is more secretive and often used for exclusive or luxury items. Blue is associated with trust, which is why you see it in so many banks’ logos. Colour psychology is a powerful marketing tool. In fact, one study found that 85% of customers cited colour as their primary reason for buying a product.

Using tools like our online design studio allows you to choose a block colour for your packaging to appeal to customers, or to make a bold statement. You can also add designs, text and logos to showcase your brand’s personality.

3. Add interior flair

A stylishly designed mailer box makes for a unique customer experience. But whereas anyone can see the outside of your packaging, the inside is reserved especially for the customer. So, seeing that you’ve thoughtfully designed the interior as well as the exterior makes them feel special, which can strengthen the relationship between you.

Just like the outside of your packaging, the inside can be designed with colours, patterns and special messages for your customer’s eyes only.

4. Showcase custom artwork

Displaying custom artwork is a great way to reinforce your brand image in your customer’s mind. And your choice of artwork will depend on your brand’s personality, as well as your target audience.

To find out what your target audience likes, you’ll need to do some research. Focus groups, interviews and surveys can tell you what customers love about your design, as well as what you could improve. By appealing to your target audience, you’ll retain and attract more customers, boosting sales and brand awareness.

Ultimately, customers want to feel that their chosen brands understand them. So thoughtful designs that appeal to your audience is a great way to demonstrate this.

“People don't buy the products you create, they buy the stories you tell. And the stories that you tell come alive in the way you do the creative” — Richa Goswami, Head of Digital, Johnson & Johnson APAC

5. Make colours pop

A bleached white paper mailer is a great way to make your printed designs stand out. It highlights contrasts between elements and can draw attention to key features like your logo.

If being more sustainable is a priority, choose a white finish on just one side of your packaging and a choose a natural kraft finish on the other. Reducing the amount of bleached materials in your packaging makes it that little bit more sustainable, so keep this in mind when designing your mailer box.

6. Signal sustainable values

For a more sustainable finish, embrace the natural appearance of kraft paper. As an unbleached paper, it can be one of the most sustainable packaging materials, especially if it’s sourced from responsibly managed forests.

You can leave your packaging completely blank, or print your designs against the natural kraft paper background. As it happens, kraft paper’s raw, unprocessed appearance is celebrated by customers and businesses to symbolise a commitment to sustainability. So by embracing the minimalist look, your packaging can make a lasting impression.

7. Embellish with UV varnish

Adding UV varnish can add that extra special sense of style and luxury to your packaging. Here, a varnish is applied to certain parts of your packaging and is then dried under an ultraviolet machine, giving a glossy finish.

UV varnishes create interesting differences in your packaging’s texture and can draw your customer’s attention to key features.

8. Showcase certifications

Customers are increasingly looking for climate-conscious brands to purchase from. So to build trust among your customer base, source materials from suppliers with recognised certifications.

For example, The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an organisation that promotes responsible forestry practices. When a material is FSC-certified, you can be sure that it's come from a forest that's well-managed.

If your materials have been sourced from an FSC-certified supplier, adding an FSC label to your packaging showcases your commitment to sustainability.

9. Seal but don’t distract

Sometimes, you want your mailer box to speak for itself. This means no visible adhesives or added labels that obscure your design. Concealing these functional elements can give your packaging a sleek, sophisticated edge.

Our mailer boxes have side wings which can be folded in to close your packaging, so you don’t actually need any extra adhesives. But, for added security, you can add a single peel and seal strip. This sits inside the box’s front flap and seals it neatly, meaning you can secure your packaging whilst letting your exterior artwork take centre stage.

10. Seal with style

On the other hand, you can also celebrate your mailer box’s closure by making them a design feature.

Stickers are great for sealing and can add a pop of colour, style and luxury to your packaging. You can also use them to communicate messages to your customers, such as your materials’ origins or recycling information. What’s more, our customisable stickers can be recycled when stuck to any recyclable packaging, so your customers won’t have to separate them before disposal.

Alternatively, you can securely seal your packaging with gummed tape. It’s made from natural kraft paper and a starch-based adhesive, which is more sustainable than plastic-based tapes. It can also be customised with colours and your logo to generate brand awareness. Gummed tape can be recycled easily along with the rest of your mailer box.

11. Create the picture-perfect presentation

A memorable unboxing experience is a key customer loyalty-building strategy. And custom inserts, which present the products inside your mailer box in style are a great way to do this.

Our custom inserts can be die-cut to fit your product, and can also be printed on to match your mailer box design. They’re made from corrugated cardboard and are kerbside recyclable, making them a better choice over other common inserts, like styrofoam.

And for packaging that showcases innovation, sugarcane pulp inserts are an ideal choice. They can be moulded to fit any shape and are perfect for presentation boxes. They’re made from leftover waste from the sugar industry and can also be kerbside recycled. This means a reduced carbon footprint and an overall more sustainable alternative to conventional plastic inserts.

12. Make your filling fun

Sometimes you need to add a little extra protection to stop products bumping or scraping against each other. This can decrease the risk of returns, which in turn can lower your carbon footprint.

Tissue paper offers good protection and can be included in your mailer box as an additional branding tool. You can choose from a range of colours and patterns, or create your own custom tissue paper with your branding.

How to choose the best mailer box design idea for your business

The range of mailer box design possibilities is endless and knowing which one to choose can be a little daunting. To help, ask yourself these three questions before making a decision.

1. What does your product need?

Understanding your product’s needs rules out unsuitable designs, leaving you to choose from the most suitable ones. And an obvious place to start is by considering size and shape.

Rather than choosing a standard, predefined mailer box, first think about your product’s dimensions. For example, are you shipping tall cosmetics bottles or a single square-shaped toy? Leading with your product will help you choose the best shape and size for your packaging.

Shaping your packaging around your product has sustainability benefits too. The right-sized packaging means you ship fewer materials and less air, reducing your carbon footprint.

2. Who’s your target audience?

Identifying exactly who you're trying to reach will help inform your design choices. A teenager, for example, may enjoy brighter colours and packaging that makes unboxing fun whilst an older client may appreciate a more subtle style.

Meanwhile, your customers may be aligned with you not because of their age or professions, but because you share the same values. For example, customers interested in sustainability may prefer a simpler packaging design that uses fewer resources.

So, before going all in on your packaging design, consider who your ideal customer is. Find out where they work and what do they do for fun. You can also collect feedback on your existing or potential packaging design through surveys, social media polls and focus groups. Knowing what appeals to your target audience will help you to create packaging they’ll love.

3. What’s the cost?

Whilst making your mailer box attractive is important, so is considering the practical aspects. And that means thinking about production. What will your materials and printing decisions cost? Is this in line with your budget?

Depending on your business strategy, you might decide to go all out on vibrant colours, eye-catching patterns and additional features like stickers. Or you may opt for a more minimalist design, stripping it back to the essentials only whilst still conveying your brand message.

With Sourceful, you can see the price of every design decision in real time, helping you weigh up the costs and benefits of each element. In this way, you can create a mailer box that both appeals to your target audience and aligns with your financial goals.

Create a beautiful, bespoke mailer box with Sourceful

These days, customers want more than an exchange of goods. Instead, they’re looking for a memorable unboxing experience. And you can give them one with a combination of thoughtful design ideas, showing your customers that you understand who they are and what they value.

At Sourceful, we’re here to help you switch to more sustainable packaging that leaves a lasting impression. You can contact us for advice on how to get started, or head over to our design studio and start creating your custom packaging today.