Posted on October 27, 2023 by Michael Boik

Internal Packaging Options—Partitions, Inserts and Dividers

As a company that specializes in structural packaging design and interior protective packaging, we know the importance of balancing product protection and presentation. There are several internal packaging options available to you to help achieve this goal, and often times the product/application will help determine the best solution, along with other factors such as order quantity, printed graphics, size and product quantity or configurations. Designing internal packaging solutions for a single product will require a different approach than designing for a 12 pack, 6 pack etc.

What follows are three common internal packaging solutions. We would refer to each as a custom packaging solution, although some require more steps in the design process than others.


Dividerscorrugated dividers

The name pretty much says it all. Typically a corrugated sheet is scored so that when inserted into the mailer, the box is “divided” or compartmentalized. This is an inexpensive and effective way of creating product separation, which may be needed for protection or as a way of presenting various components or helping your customers easily navigate the unboxing experience. A divider can almost always be created without the need for any tooling cost, and will ship flat to you, meaning it adds minimal shipping costs (inbound) as well as outbound to your customers. Assembly is also easy and quick in most cases, creating very little added effort for your 3PL or fulfillment team.




As mentioned in the opening paragraph, whenever the discussion changes from a single product to multiple products, this opens the door to corrugated partitions possibly being the best solution. Glass bottles, aluminum cans, plastic tubs, and other products can be protected by the product separation that partitions provide. Partitions are ideal for eliminating both product to product damage as well as label to label abrasion. Partitions can accommodate a wide variety of sizes and weights and can be made in several different board grades and flutes such as 275#  C Flute for those heavier products. They also help reinforce the overall box structure.

Partitions can also be made already assembled, leading to substantial time and labor savings by completely eliminating the need for void fill, and help reduce confusion by reducing packaging skus.  Partitions can also be paperboard, which may be ideal for a retail solution or smaller, lightweight products, and can even be built within a paperboard carton so that no further assembly is required.

Like dividers, there typically is no tooling cost associated with partitions. You could argue that partitions are more form than fashion, but when you consider the alternative that your products arrive damaged, partitions can be a life-saver.




There is probably no better solution than an insert for an individual product that requires protection during shipment. Because they are specifically designed to custom fit your product, they offer a beautiful presentation and the protection to deliver it safely. Although, inserts can also accommodate multiple products as well, be it a single insert, or multiple interchangeable inserts as pictured above. They can also be built into the mailer if needed. A corrugated insert can be made from whatever thickness or fluting needed. It can be white or kraft board, as well as printed or unprinted.

Although not as common nor eco-friendly as corrugated, inserts can also be foam, for those products that require added padding or protection (read about foam inserts here). Paperboard inserts are also a possible solution, although these tend to be used as complimentary pieces or for added visual appeal, as they are not as effective to provide protection or to stabilize product.

The main drawback is the cost of inserts, in particular the startup costs, as almost all inserts will require tooling, as well as print plates if you are planning on printing. However, it’s important to remember that these are one-time costs, and they are almost always offset by the cost savings in eliminating alternative void fill or the costs of damaged product. Also, on a per piece basis, inserts can be very affordable, especially at high volume.


Keep in mind that we’ve seen it all, and we’ve been in the custom internal packaging design game for long enough to know what solution may be best for you and your products!


Please Contact Us Today

As always, if you have any questions, one of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Want to know more about custom packaging options? Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at


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