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Subscription Box Design Basics

The box is your subscriber's first impression of your Subscription Box. The Bulu team has designed and shipped millions of boxes for brands like Disney, Discovery Channel Shark Week and Crayola. We're sharing our best practices for box design so you can impress your subscribers and understand your box manufacturer better.

What is a Tuck and Fold Box?

Tuck and fold is the most common box style used for Subscription Boxes at Bulu. We like this style because it’s perfect for protecting contents while shipping. The tabs on the lid help the box stay closed during transit. And, it’s highly presentational which lends to the subscription experience!

Tuck and Fold Video Example


The dieline is the package template that will be used to create the outline of the box. It is a detailed diagram that shows all the cut lines and folds of a package in flattened form.

When the box is finished, the rendered dieline will be used to create a physical template with the box manufacturer that cuts each box out, like a cookie cutter.

Adobe Illustrator is the standard program used to create mockup dielines and may be created by designers.


Anatomy of a Tuck and Fold (Top Tuck) Box

Anatomy of a subscription tuck fold box

Designing A Box #ProTips

Use this checklist to review your box design for accuracy and design integrity.

Subscription Box Design Basics

  • Logo

  • Name of the Box

  • CTA

  • Safety Labels

  • Room/placement for the shipping label

  • Contact information

Packing & Shipping Considerations

· Will the box have a print design on the outside, inside, or both?

  • Decide if the box will have a shipping sleeve or overwrap.

  • The shipping label is often used over the front flap as an additional seal.

Color & Cost

  • Each color requires an additional print plate and ink. Limited color palettes are less expensive to produce.

  • Consider using the box base color as negative space to achieve “more colors” out of the design. See image above: The white base of the box lends a “third color” to the design.

  • Use all of the space to surprise, delight and include messaging for the subscriber.

  • Consider how your box design will look with the products that go inside. Do the colors go well together?

Ensuring Accuracy

  • During the design process, print miniature, physical mockups on an office printer (regular paper or cardstock works). This ensures your design looks the way you’d expect when you fold it. (Plus, the little boxes are adorable!)

  • It is strongly recommended, when the dimensions of the box are determined, to have the box manufacturer create an official dieline to transfer the design to and work from for final revisions. The manufacturer will ensure the box is architected properly and will make the best recommendations.

Example of Bulu subscription boxes

Bulu’s Designers share their File Prep #ProTips

  • Files should be in CMYK mode (not RGB).

  • All artwork elements should be in CMYK. Any SPOT colors will not be visible when your order prints.

  • Be sure to expand all fonts and text to shapes (vectors)* — no live text.

  • Your designs should have at least a 0.25-inch bleed in areas where the graphic exceeds the dieline.

  • Flatten ALL transparencies for printing. Transparencies that have not been flattened may print incorrectly.

  • Embed all images in the document or send the links for the artwork source files. This will prevent any missing links when you go to print.

  • Dielines should be on a separate layer, visible to prepress for set up. If they are distracting while you are working on or proofing the file, you can turn off their visibility by using the "eye" icon in the Layers palette.

  • Send your file(s) in a format that is readable in Adobe Illustrator CS6. If exporting from Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud, you can down-save to CS6 in the 'Save As' menu.


If you have questions or would like to talk to Bulu about Subscription fulfillment or our other services, send a message at the top right of this page using the Contact Us button, or send an email to


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