How to Design the Perfect PDQ Tray

How to Design the Perfect PDQ Tray

When it comes to packaging products for retail sales, there are few options more effective than the PDQ tray. PDQ trays are lightweight, recyclable, easy to handle, and can be customized to fit a wide variety of products. However, designing and building the perfect PDQ tray can be a challenging task. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the key factors to consider when designing and building a PDQ tray that meets your unique needs.

Is a PDQ Tray the Best Fit for my Products?

When deciding on the best packaging option for your products in a retail store, asking certain questions will help you determine whether a PDQ tray is the right choice. 

PDQ trays are versatile and can be customized to fit varying product sizes and branding needs, but they are ideal for products that are lightweight with a consistent shape, such as snacks, cosmetics, or small electronics.  If your product is heavy or irregularly shaped, or if you require a higher level of protection, a different packaging option may be more appropriate. Consulting with a packaging engineer can help you decide whether a PDQ tray is the best choice for your product and retail environment. A packaging expert can also help you design your perfect PDQ tray.

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10 Steps to Design the Perfect PDQ Tray

1. Product Size and Weight

When designing a PDQ tray, you’ll first need to know the size and weight of your product. The tray should be designed to hold your product securely, without shifting or tipping over during transportation or display. To ensure your tray will support your product,  simply measure your product and calculate its weight.

2. Tray Material

PDQ trays can be made from a variety of materials, including corrugated cardboard, plastic, and metal. Each material has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Corrugated cardboard is a popular option due to its affordability and flexibility in design, while plastic trays are more durable and can be reused multiple times. When choosing a material for your PDQ tray, consider your product’s weight and fragility, as well as your budget and environmental concerns.

3. Tray Design

Who is the customer? Different customers have different-sized shelf widths and depths. PDQ trays can be designed in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your branding needs and your customer’s size format. Consider the orientation of your product on the tray, as well as any branding or messaging you want to include. A well-designed PDQ tray can help attract customers and promote your product.

4. Assembly

PDQ trays can be shipped flat and assembled on-site, or pre-assembled and shipped to your warehouse or retail location. The assembly process should be simple and straightforward to ensure efficiency and minimize errors. Consider the time and labor required to assemble the tray, as well as any equipment or tools that may be needed. Often a PDQ can be assembled without glue, which is helpful.

5. Shipping and Storage

PDQ trays should be designed with shipping and storage in mind. The trays should be easy to stack and transport and should not take up too much space in your warehouse or retail location. Additionally, consider any environmental factors that may impact the trays during transportation or storage, such as temperature or humidity, and prepare accordingly.

6. Durability

The durability of a PDQ tray is critical to the safety of your product, particularly if you are shipping it over long distances or are displaying it for an extended period of time. The tray should be able to withstand the weight of your product, as well as any impacts or jostling that may occur during transportation or display. Additionally, consider the potential for wear and tear during assembly and disassembly of the tray.=

7. Cost

Finally, consider the cost of designing and building a PDQ tray. The price of materials, design, assembly, and shipping can add up quickly, particularly for larger or more complex trays. It’s important to balance cost with quality to ensure that the tray meets your needs without breaking the bank.

8. Customization

Customizing your PDQ tray can help make your product stand out and attract customers. Consider adding unique features, such as cutouts or pop-up elements, or incorporating your brand colors and logos into the design.

9. Sustainability

Many consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of packaging materials. Consider using eco-friendly materials or incorporating sustainable features into your PDQ tray design, such as recyclable or biodegradable elements. For example, corrugated is completely recyclable.

10. Accessibility

PDQ trays should be designed with accessibility in mind, particularly for products that may be difficult to reach or handle for individuals with disabilities. Consider incorporating handles or easy-open features to make the tray more accessible for all customers.

Related Content: What is Retail-Ready Packaging?

How a Packaging Design Company Can Help 

Designing the perfect PDQ tray requires careful consideration of many factors, including product size, tray material, design, assembly, shipping, storage, durability, cost, customization, sustainability, and accessibility. Working with an experienced packaging design and engineering company can provide the necessary expertise and resources to navigate these complexities and ensure your PDQ tray meets your specific needs and requirements. 


Designing and building the perfect PDQ tray requires careful consideration and planning. The right packaging company can offer insights on material selection, assembly process, durability, and cost-effectiveness, while also providing tailored solutions to help your product stand out and attract customers.

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