Let’s face it: Part of why we buy a subscription box is because of how it looks. When the box arrives at the door, it adds to the excitement if it arrives as a package, part of a well-designed whole.

No doubt, we need to love the packaging first, and then the product. Which is why the future of subscription boxes, an industry that has seen an exponential increase over the past few years, relies on the work of artists and designers. Today, the market is worth around $15 billion according to a report from McKinsey.

An artist or designer can tap into the power of packaging design, which should not be underestimated. Whether it’s the logo, the graphics, gradients or clever, graphic shapes, they speak volumes of a brand and their subscription boxes.

But before a subscription box winds up at your front doorstep, the packaging design has got to inspire the sale; we need to love the packaging first, and then the product. Which is why the future of subscription boxes, an industry that has seen an exponential increase over the past decade, relies on the work of artists and designers who bring creativity to the box design.

Since 2010, the boxes have grown into an entire industry, from lifestyle to fashion, beauty, wine and even snacks. While the contents of a subscription box is the main thing, one can’t deny how fun some of them look.

Take the colorful subscription box for MyPetDefense, an Atlanta area company that creates a health subscription box for pets, featuring vitamins, supplements and calming chews and treats. “I designed this box to be fun and bold, we get boring subscription boxes all the time,” said artist and designer Caylin White, who designed a number of the company’s subscription boxes.

“Rarely, there are so many colors in a subscription box, and health boxes are usually mundane, in dull blues and greys,” she said. “I was able to create such a fun palette, an Andy Warhol vibe with abstract designs. I’m hoping to wow people, right as they open the box.”

MyPetDefense currently has a handful of designs created by White and their in-house creative director Melissa Touchton, who is working with local artists on future box designs. 

Going forward for their April box design, each box will feature a postcard about the artist, the story behind their design and links to their e-commerce and social media. The company will soon launch their “artist of month” series on their website, too, featuring the artists behind each box design.

“Flea and tick products are a serious subject matter,” said Touchton. “Everyone in that space wants to be professional and pharmaceutical. We want it to be the anti of that, but still taken seriously.”

“How do you do that?” she asks.

“From a packaging standpoint, we wanted packaging that is fun but not frivolous for our complete health and wellness box for dogs.”

Another stylish subscription box that’s shaking up the market is called Not Another Bill. In what started as a gift subscription box, this London-based studio curates design pieces in a luxe packaging with personalized messages. The goal is to bring something to your mailbox beyond bills.

Among the greatest subscription box designs, KiwiCo is an activity kit for kids that is curated based on their age and interests, while FabFitFun is a wellness box for women which features women-owned style and fitness brand products (including makeup, sunglasses and slippers).

From gradient purple boxes to chic mint green designs, Vinebox, too, is a subscription box designed to coordinate with a different wine bottle. It allows wine buffs to try a different kind of wine every season, by the glass, every three months.

Another great one is Harry’s, a men’s grooming subscription box. For their Shave With Pride box for Pride Month, they hired illustrator José Roda, who created graphic portraits of faces, which call to mind modern art by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

As an outpour of the subscription market, a number of design companies have popped up that focus exclusively on creating subscription box design better, like Packlane, which designs luxury packaging design for companies, which is also sustainable.

To Packlane’s CEO and founder Miriam Brafman, the look of a subscription box can pack a punch when selling a product.  “Brands have become much more expressive and design-driven over the past 10 years, and many of the most successful new consumer brands have used design and aesthetics as a key growth driver, so this has been an extremely powerful trend,” said Brafman.

“We enable brands to bring their creative visions to life more easily by creating a user-friendly interface for customizing and designing packaging.”

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