Product Box Design For Newbies: How To Create A Simple Product Box

Using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, here we will create a template for a simple rectangular box suitable for cosmetics and other products. We will also learn how you can add templates and text to your box quickly and easily. 

This is a great and comprehensive introduction to packaging design for beginners. A little knowledge about Illustrator and InDesign will be helpful, but not required. 

What you need?

You will need access to both Adobe Illustrator , to create vector shapes for your box and Adobe InDesign , to combine components for your packaging. 

To create the design illustrated here, you will also need to download the following images and fonts:

You can find the mock-up box to create the image used above on Envato Elements page . 

1. How to create a box shape in Illustrator 

Step 1

You can choose to draw your box shape from scratch using the drawing tools in Illustrator, but it will save you a lot of time if you save the image. Image below to your computer. 

Open this image in Illustrator and use the Pen Tool (P) to draw along the lines or use the Image Trace function (Window> Image Trace) to follow the image, click on the Ignore White box to retrieve only the black lines of the photo.

 Step 2

In the File> Document Setup , and click Edit artboards . 

Enlarge artboard with the width is 7 cm and the height is 16 cm . This will be the size of the face of the box. This is suitable for a cream box or cosmetic box with a size of 15cmx6cm.

Select the template’s vector border and zoom in so that a rectangular face of the box fits into the artboard, as shown below.

 If you want to make your box bigger or smaller, you can adjust the size of the artboard using the same ratio (ie the ratio of 7:16). But for now, we will use this 7 x 16 cm size. 

Step 3

When you scale the appropriate vector size, go to Object> Artboards> Fit to Artwork Bounds.

 With the artboard selected (File> Document Setup> Edit Artboards), make notes about the new size of the artboard, about 290mmx343mm.

 Then select the vector pattern and go to Edit> Copy it. Now you can exit or minimize the Illustrator window. 

2. How to create a Die Line in InDesign 

Step 1

Open InDesign and navigate to File> New> Document . 

For the purpose of printing Print , set the Width width to match the width (here is 290.36 mm), and Height height (here is 343.1 mm) of your artboard in Illustrator. 

The template has been set to a bleed area, but you can also add multiple bleed if you want, by adding a value in the Bleed section . 

Click Create

 Step 2

Expand the Layers panel ( Window> Layers ) and double click on Layer 1 to change its name to Pattern .

Create four new layers in the following order: Folds and Bleed – DO NOT PRINT, DIE LINE – DO NOT PRINT, Labels , and finally Type.

 Lock all layers except Folds and Bleed , and click here to activate it.

 Step 3

Working on the Folds and Bleed layer , go to Edit> Paste to drop the sketch templates into the page. Move it so that it fits on the page. 

 Step 4

On the vector image, Right-Click> Ungroup.

 Using the Selection Tool (V, Escape) to select the solid line inside the outline, hold down Shift to select each part as shown below.

 Once you have selected all of these lines, Right-click then select Group.

 Step 5

In the Layers panel , click on the left arrow of Folds and Bleed to expand the layer. Define the <group> you just created.

 Unlock the DIE LINE layer above it and drag the <group> element onto it, drop it into this layer. 

 Then lock the Folds and Bleed layer , still unlock the DIE LINE layer . 

 Step 6

Expand the Swatches panel (Window> Color> Swatches) and select New Color Swatch from the main menu.

 Name the swatch as Die Line Spot Color and set the Color Type to Spot . Increase the intensity of Magenta to 100% and click Add and Done

 Step 7

With the border on the selected DIE LINE layer , change the color from [Black] to Die Line Spot Color.

 Then, with the die line still selected, go to Window> Output> Attributes . Check the Overprint Fill box . Your Die line is now set to export – great! 

 On the Folds and Bleed layer Now you will only see the fold mark and bleed mark, which will not need to be printed *.

 * Depending on the printer you use, they may need the fold mark set to one color, to allow them to be recorded. To do this, repeat the same process as above, using a different color (eg 100% Cyan) to mark the other fold lines with die line. 

3. How to add templates and text to your box 

Step 1

Lock the DIE LINE layer and unlock the Pattern layer at the bottom. 

Use the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create a frame on the entire page, extending the edges to bleed. 

Go to File> Place and select the template from the Color splash package downloaded earlier. Click Open and allow the image to fill the entire frame.

 Step 2

Use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to get a light pink color from the pattern. 

 Double-click the Fill Color box at the bottom of the Tools panel to open the Color Picker window . Click Add CMYK Swatch and then OK.

 Repeat the process for the dark pink in the background of the template, and add it to the Swatches panel . You now have two additional color patterns to use on labels and text on your box. 

 Step 3

If you have dense patterns on the box, creating labels behind text is an effective way to keep your text readable and clear. 

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create labels on the sides of the box, or for a more uncommon side using the Pen Tool (P) as I did here. Set Fill Color to light pink. 

 Use the same tool to create a border for the label, set Fill to [None] and Stroke Color to [Black] .

 Step 4

 then paste labels and borders, place them on the other edges of the box. Adjust the scale on the main face of the box to make the square label more.

 Step 5

You can add the barcode to the lower part of the box using the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create a frame.

 Go to File> Place , select barcode and Open images , align it in the middle of the frame. 

 Step 6

Lock the Pattern layer and unlock the top layer, layer Type .

 Use the Type Tool (T) to create a text frame above the label in the second panel to the right of the box. Type a product title into it, and set the font to Avera Sans Sketch and color into your dark pink pattern.

 the heading with smaller text set to Avera Sans Brush and Bold , and [Black] .

  Step 7

 and paste the text frame onto the rightmost side of the box so that the product name can be seen on both sides. 

 You can add a list of ingredients or company website details on long labels on the left panel. 

 4. How to export your box to print 

Step 1

Make sure that the layers you want to print and cut / burn are visible. If you don’t want the fold lines to be displayed (ie you haven’t set them one color yet), make sure to turn off this layer. For the purpose of illustration, I have enabled Folds class . 

Go to File> Export . Name your file and select Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu . Click Save . 

In the window that opens, select PDF / X-1a: 2001 from the Adobe PDF Preset menu at the top. This is the best way to export die lines *.

 * Some printers may require you to export any line or write lines as separate PDF files. To do this, export each of these layers into separate PDF files. Then hide both layers in InDesign and export only the Pattern, Labels and Type layers, in a PDF file. 

Step 2

Click Marks and Bleeds in the left menu of the window. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings . 

 Then click Export to create the PDF file. 

Summary: The Finished Box

Once you have sent your product box to the printer, it is time to sit and wait for your box to be delivered. There is nothing more interesting when seeing your packaged artwork in 3D.