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5 Mistakes Start Ups Make When Producing Their Packaging For The First Time

Written by MicroStartups

Preparing for your first product packaging can be a daunting task especially if you have little to no experience on how to go about it.

Believe it or not, the roadmap to creating your product packaging is actually quite simple (ideation, design, production, and delivery). However, it is the little details in between that sometimes makes the project more complicated than it should be.

And these little details are usually overseen by new experienced packaging buyers. The issue is primarily in the lack of awareness on the reality of the packaging process.

No matter how stringent the process may be, we still have to take into account the natural errors of human and technological activities.


There are ways, however, on how to reduce this as much as possible as a first-time buyer.

Below we will explain 5 common mistakes startup companies usually make in their packaging project and explore the various ways to avoid it.

1. Inaccurate Product Specification

This is quite straightforward. Essentially, if you provide the wrong information to your manufacturer, you will receive the wrong quotation and wrong packaging output.

The measurements and the weight of the product are common mistakes sometimes new buyers and business owners oversee.

They would provide the wrong dimension resulting in either an excess of space on the packaging or the product just simply won’t fit in the packaging.

This goes for the weight as well. If the weight is incorrect, the product may be too heavy for the packaging and deemed unusable for packing.

How to avoid this?

  • Provide clear diagrams of your product from every angle with measurements.
  • Send a product sample to the manufacturer so that the structural designer can evaluate the specs and recommend the correct type of packaging.

2. Producing with a very tight deadline

Many startup businesses don’t realize that custom packaging requires meticulous work and a stringent quality control process in order to produce a high-quality output.

It is understandable for packaging buyers to sometimes work with a tight deadline, especially within a busy season.

The reality is, however, when you try to expedite a packaging process, you are not only potentially comprising the final quality of your packaging but you are also at a high risk of even greater delays such as production errors and shipping issues (especially when you are producing during the holidays).


With a tight time frame, it is not ideal to expect a 100% success rate as uncontrollable factors sometimes come into play such as natural disasters, equipment malfunction, etc.

Needless to say, it is not impossible to expedite a packaging project and still receive solid quality as it has happened before but if you can’t risk it, I suggest you don’t do it.

How to avoid this?

  • Finalize your packaging plans 1-2 months before your deadline (to take into account for consultation, quotation, and pre-press stage).
  • If the turnaround time is 10-15 Days (minus shipping) then give yourself at least an extra 5 days to make up for potential delays.

3. Wrong Artwork Preparation

Another problem we see quite common with graphic designers and business owners is not following the correct process for preparing their packaging design for print.

There are specific guidelines that need to be met for printing when putting together a packaging design such as the resolution, color mode, text set-up, etc.

If not met properly, you will expect a different quality and appearance during production compared to the original artwork you see on your computer screen.

Imagine not considering the artwork guidelines for print and producing thousands of boxes with the opposite expectation. Disastrous!

How to avoid this?

  • Follow the required artwork preparation provided by your manufacturer and get help from their pre-press team to validate for print.
  • Check out this step-by-step guide to give you an idea on how to properly prepare your artwork for print.

4. Overspending on Custom Structural Designs

Since you are just starting your business, it is important to not go overboard on the structural design for your packaging. Why?

It is costly, timely and has a higher risk of errors during production due to more intricate designs.

The last thing you want is to spend all your resources on creating a unique packaging that might not provide the best ROI for your business nor resonate with your customers.

Lastly, since you have a smaller team, you don’t want to spend all your time putting together boxes that are very difficult to fold.

How to avoid this?

  • Go standard (Tuck end boxes & mailer boxes). They are cost-effective, easy to fold and does the job perfectly.
  • Work on your artwork instead! You can design your box with unlimited colors without any extra costs. You can opt for foil stamping, embossing and spot UV to add a more specialized touch.

5. Not Getting a Sample / Prototype

Last and certainly not the least, the mistake of not getting a prototype.

Yes, this happens a lot, especially for business owners that have a strict deadline (that’s two major mistakes).

Not getting a prototype means you are trusting the manufacturer to produce your packaging at the exact expectation you want. Again, yes, it can happen, but you are risking quite a lot.

Again, even with a stringent quality control process, small little details can be overlooked.

This applies especially to large quantity orders. Hoping your 1000+ packaging boxes come out perfectly without validating a physical sample also means you are risking additional production and shipping costs to redo them and a huge delay on your project.

How to avoid this?

  • Get a physical sample! You’ll need this to validate with your team and be able to closely see the details you may have missed during your design.

As you can see, there are many opportunities you can do to avoid such mistakes on your first product packaging project. Be mindful of these scenarios and make good decisions on your first attempt. Good luck!

Author bio: Mark Velarga is PakFactory‘s Director of Digital & Content Marketing. He writes about all things related to design, business and technology and how it serves value to customers, business owners, packaging designers, and industry experts. Connect with him on Linkedin.

About the author


A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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