How to Plan a Product Packaging Sample

How to Plan a Product Packaging Sample

A single contract with a big box store like Costco or Sam’s Club can change a brand’s fortune overnight. That’s why leading companies will bend over backward to land a pitch meeting with a big client. However, many retailers won’t hear a pitch without compliant sample packaging.

In this blog, we’ll explain the stages of planning a sample package so you can save money and avoid headaches down the road. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to order a full run of product packaging, only to find that it doesn’t match your aesthetic or technical requirements. With our actionable tips in mind, you can avoid common pitfalls and optimize your packaging.

Order a high-quality package sample and gain peace of mind before making a big investment. Read on for helpful information about designing a packaging sample and partnering with a qualified printer.

What is a Packaging Sample?

As the name implies, packaging samples are a small run of packages that provide a representative idea of a final product. Depending on your needs, you can order package samples with different levels of design and sophistication.

The most accurate option is a pre-production, or factory sample, which will be virtually indistinguishable from the final product. Because factory samples require more planning and design, some suppliers require months to deliver. A handful of qualified printers, like Global Printing & Packaging, can produce a high-quality pre-production sample in 2-3 weeks. 

If you don’t need a fully rendered package sample, consider a white sample, which is just a white box that gives a basic sense of design and structure. Without any artwork, you won’t get the full visual effect of the sample package, but it’s better than relying on computer modeling alone. 

If you want to include a logo, a digitally printed sample might be the right choice. These are white samples with artwork included. You won’t get the level of detail or accuracy that a factory sample provides, but it will offer basic information regarding size, colors, and choosing materials

Don’t confuse packaging samples with a mockup, which is a crude sample that’s usually made by hand by a graphic designer. Mockups are the most rudimentary option but you can  bring them to a packaging company as a helpful point of reference.


Save time and avoid mistakes with retail packaging samples. See our guide (no  personal info required to access).


Why Order a Packaging Sample?

The primary reason companies order packaging samples is to get an idea of the look, feel, and durability of packaging before placing a big order. It’s easy to make assumptions when looking at a digitally rendered copy of your packaging. Holding a sample package in your hands gives you a sense of how customers will actually encounter your product, and the type of sample you order will depend on how accurately your sense will be.

In the likely case that you want to make edits to your packaging, just give your notes to the printer and they will make modifications for your full order. A professional packaging company can execute any major or minor changes to make sure everyone is happy.

Many companies bring package samples to trade expos or pitch meetings to introduce their product to prospective clients and investors. Not only will aesthetically pleasing packaging increase your chances of landing a sale, many retailers won’t even allow a meeting without the proper packaging. Presenting your product to prospective clients before landing a meeting will help you get ahead in this process. 

You can also show the packaging to your marketing, sales, and digital teams and get real-time feedback. These teams are responsible for promoting your products, and it’s good to get everyone on the same page before committing to a large order.

5 Steps to Planning a Packaging Sample

Whether you’re a start-up planning your first sample package or an experienced company looking to upgrade your brand image, the steps for planning a packaging sample are pretty similar. 

The first step is to call a packaging professional, schedule a no-obligation phone consultation, and establish information about your product, goals, and needs. They should listen attentively and provide you with a blueprint for a successful rollout. 

The supplier will provide you with a quote for a sample and a timeline. A good company should be able to deliver factory samples in 2-3 weeks and white samples in just a few days. This is your opportunity to kick the tires and see what kind of package sample is right for your brand. 

Next, you should send existing logos or artwork to the supplier. If you don’t have any artwork, you can usually work with a packaging company’s in-house design team to find a good option. Don’t worry if art isn’t your forte. Packaging companies should make it easy and offer help with everything from colors to placement. 

You’ll then decide on dielines and dimensions. Dielines are the basic template for printed packaging that determines where cuts will be made. Since most product packaging is shipped flat, it’s vital to have an easy-to-assemble package. 

The packaging company will print your artwork and use a Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) table to cut your sample packages to size and remove any imperfections. Obviously, CAD machines are much more accurate than hand cutting, as they remove the risk of human error. 

Finally, your sample packages are fully assembled and shipped to you. Expect a high-quality prototype in 2-3 weeks and rest easy knowing that you won’t need to pay for an expensive full production unless you are totally satisfied.

A good packaging company should offer in-house design, CAD capabilities, quick turnaround times, and a wealth of industry knowledge. Working with a qualified supplier will make this process as easy as possible for you.


Related Content: Why Brands Should Get Sample Packaging Before Ordering


Many brands offer amazing products but fail to capitalize on their packaging. Help your product stand out in a crowded marketplace by testing package samples before ordering a full run. 

From factory samples to mockups, there are numerous options to meet your timeline and budget. Get a feel for your new packaging and impress prospective clients with affordable and efficient package samples.

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