Your Guide to Paperboard and Corrugated Packaging

FPS-Your Guide to Paperboard and Corrugated Packaging

When it comes to cost-effective packaging materials, few items compare to those made from paperboard, corrugated cardboard, and other types of paper-based materials. They are affordable and lightweight. Yet they also offer excellent packaging strength and product protection. Custom paperboards and box displays are also great for retail presentation. 

It’s important to understand there are different types of paper-based packaging materials. There are different gauges, qualities, strengths, and uses as well. Going too cheap could leave your products susceptible to damage during storage, shipping, and distribution. Going too expensive may undercut your production budget. Understanding all the factors involved in paperboard and corrugated packaging material selection can ensure you make the best decisions.

Here are the four main categories of paperboard and corrugated packaging:


This is the most common packaging item out there. Whether it’s individual boxes, internal boxes, or spacers used for product packaging or larger cases used for bulk storage and shipping, boxes are an absolute necessity for almost every manufacturer. They provide excellent protection without adding much weight. They are easy to customize with branding and product information, and they are sustainable, with most types of corrugated cardboard fully recyclable.  

At First Packaging Systems, we are the first to say not all boxes are created equal. It goes beyond choosing the correct size and dimensions. A variety of different corrugated materials and corrugation designs can dramatically affect your packaging quality. Certain products and items require stronger boxes. Others may be fine with the least expensive solution. The point is you don’t want to pick any old box to use for your particular product packaging or bulk casing. Take your time to research the options available and find the most cost-effective solution. 

Slip Sheets

Many manufacturers and distributors use slip sheets in addition to—or in place of—traditional wooden pallets. They take up much less space and can be just as effective, depending on the type of load and handling processes. Slip sheets are commonly made from corrugated cardboard, but they can also be made from fiberboard or plastic sheets. Corrugated materials are the most budget-friendly. However, other materials may offer better advantages for certain load management situations. 

Folding Cartons

Folding paperboard cartons represent the most common types of consumer packaging on the market. They are used in retail packaging as holders for individual products. They are also used for retail displays and promotional items to increase point-of-purchase consumer buying. Folding cartons and flat paperboard packaging—often paired with formed blister plastic for a clear product display—offer a cleaner graphic presentation and a variety of form options. This provides more creativity and flexibility when it comes to product packaging and branding. At the same time, they can offer excellent rigidity, depending on the thickness (gauge) of the paperboard. They are also very environmentally friendly.


Individual product display cases and larger retail displays can be made from different types of corrugated cardboard or paperboard materials. They can draw consumers’ eyes in a store. A suitable display can elicit more attention to your products and boost sales. Displays are affordable and completely customizable. A well-done display can be creatively designed to be lightweight and take up minimal space for retail distribution. Displays are also easy to assemble. 

To learn more about paperboard and corrugated packaging materials, contact FPS today. Our team can locate the finest cost-effective packaging solutions that provide excellent product protection. This includes custom designs and specialized packaging materials suited to your specific manufacturing, handling, shipping, or retail display needs.