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Breaking Down the Box: Part 1

Breaking Down the Box: Part 1

Brand and Design for Foodservice Shippers

Shipper, corrugate, case – the box of many names does more than protect your product as it zips from plant to warehouse to kitchen. The box is the unsung hero of your foodservice brand assets.

Here are helpful tips to leverage more marketing power and maximize the brand impact of every case.

Think of your box as a drive-thru.

New QSR builds are testing the extremes of bold colors and eye-catching designs. The same approach can benefit your box as it’s being grabbed quickly from a pallet or shelf. In fact, the lines between restaurant and shipper design are blurring. Chick’nCone’s new shipping container QSR prototype is basically box-on-box with bold color coding, an oversized logo, and clear “Drive-Thru Here” labeling. Similarly, a corrugated shipper needs to cut through the visual smog with clarity and purpose.

Reassure customers with efficiency.

Increasingly, consumer packaging design uses soothing palettes and strong messaging affirmations to reduce stress and anxiety. The same intention can apply to the foodservice kitchen, where – even with a boost from new automation & AI – there’s more to do and fewer hands to do it. Make your product a smooth handoff in the back-of-house relay, not a stumble.

Foodservice kitchens are laser-focused on efficiency. Here’s a checklist to ensure your shipper is too.

Usability checklist

  1. The brand is easily recognizable from across the kitchen.
  2. The product name is legible from a distance and up close.
  3. Flavor and/or variety signaling is obvious.
  4. Bonus: Category graphics offer at-a-glance clarity and assist non-English speakers.
  5. The whole design system plays together nicely to minimize visual clutter.
  6. The overall effect is back-of-house “shoppability.”

Turn constraints into selling points.

Case graphic design is about maximizing brand impact while being, quite literally, boxed in by constraints. So roll up your sleeves and start reframing limitations into points of distinction.

Go bold with less ink.

Foodservice budgets typically accommodate a single ink, or two at most. Factor in poor print registration and rough corrugated surfaces, and you’re left with no choice but to make your design resilient to whatever warps and bleeds the presses put it through.

Bold, expressive designs with clean lines and organic shapes play well in the one-color space. Remember that while a designer may spec a Pantone color, the corrugated printer may mix their own ink or use GCMI inks. Plan ahead and set parameters you can monitor to achieve the intended color with the highest level of consistency across printers.

Always evaluate the functionality of your entire design system before it goes to press.

Design system checklist

  1. Brand identity is strong in one color.
  2. The system scales well across various dimensions.
  3. It flexes seamlessly across varying print parameters for inner and outer packaging.
  4. Color-coding resonates with pre-established category colors.
  5. Specified colors name GCMI equivalents, or require Pantone matches.

Your box is anything but basic. Connect with NK to take your shipper design system further.

Read the Second Article in the Series

Posted in: Thoughts
Tags: packaging
May 10, 2022

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