In typography, a common type of pi character (π), available in a variety of sizes, used for decorative or organizational purposes. Boxes should be as close to the x-height of the text they accompany as possible. The point size of the box may need to be increased so that it optically approximates the size of the text; it is generally inadvisable to make a box larger than the x-height of the accompanying text. Boxes are often used to delineate and emphasize points or examples or to signify the end of a magazine or newspaper article. They are available either closed or open. A similar pi character, and as widely used, is a bullet.
In typography and page layout, the term box also refers to a delimited rectangular portion of a page, containing text and/or graphics, usually set off from other page elements by rules. In page makeup software, such as QuarkXPress, boxes containing type are called "text boxes" while those containing graphics are known as "picture boxes." In magazine and newspaper typography, a large box of related text supplementing a main article or story is known as a sidebar.
In packaging, a box is any cube-shaped structure, manufactured from paperboard, wood, or plastic.
'Corrugated Boxes'. Corrugated boxes account for over 90% of all the materials shipped in the United States. Corrugated boxes are produced from two or more sheets of unbleached or bleached kraft linerboard separated by a corrugated material, or a fluted paperboard, used to impart strength and cushioning. There are four standard sizes of corrugated board: A-flute (33 flutes per foot, with a flute thickness of 3/16 inch), B-flute (47 flutes per foot, with a flute thickness of 3/32 inch), C-flute (39 flutes per foot, with a flute thickness of 9/64 inch), and E-flute (90 flutes per foot, with a flute thickness of 3/64 inch). C-flute is the most common size. The corrugated material is adhered to the linerboard in one of four ways: single-faced corrugated, in which the corrugating material is lined on only one side with linerboard; single-wall corrugated, in which the corrugating material is lined on both sides with linerboard; double-wall corrugated, in which two sheets of corrugating material are sandwiched between three sheets of linerboard; and triple-wall corrugated, in which three layers of corrugating material are sandwiched between four sheets of linerboard. Corrugated board commonly needs to have a prescribed bursting strength, an amount (measured by a Mullen test) usually required by rail and truck freight regulations. (200 pounds per square inch is a common bursting test requirement.)
Corrugated boxes are often printed—when they need to be printed—by means of flexography. The flexo printing of boxes also includes a variety of in-line finishing operations, such as folding, scoring, gluing, and die-cutting. The greatest usage of corrugated boxes is the food industry, while the shipment of paper products, glass and ceramics is the next highest classification of corrugated use.
'Rigid-Paperboard Boxes'. Rigid-paperboard boxes are usually much smaller and possess less strength than corrugated boxes. They are also most commonly provided to the end user in finished form, where as with corrugated boxes some degree of unfolding and securing is often required. The rigid-paperboard box has its origins in Elizabethan England, where in the sixteenth century nobles used paperboard boxes to carry around various clothing accessories. In modern times, such boxes are manufactured out of a single sheet of paperboard, scored, cut, folded, and glued to form the finished box. A kraft-paper based "stay" is glued to the outside of the box, and acts to hold the box together. These boxes are rarely printed directly; a printed paper wrapper is glued around the finished box. Various specialty procedures can add transparent cellophane "windows," padded covers, hinged covers, box-in-box, pre-formed plastic inlaid trays, etc. These boxes are often used for food packaging, textiles, cosmetics and soaps, office supplies, and many many other uses.
'Rigid-Plastic Boxes'. Rigid-plastic boxes are very similar in design and shape to the rigid-paperboard boxes mentioned above, the differences being in the materials (plastic vs. paperboard) and manufacture. Rigid-plastic boxes are manufactured either by injection molding, plastic extrusion, and thermoforming. Injection-molded boxes are the most widely used, and can be either hinged, unhinged, or telescoping. The advantage to extruding is the wide variety of shapes that can be produced, not subject to the limitations of the process, as is the case with injection molding. Thermoformed boxes are often used for one-piece hinged boxes, or plastic insert trays in paperboard boxes.
Plastic boxes are printed by a variety of printing processes, most commonly screen printing, with some offset lithographic and flexographic printing being used. Many plastic boxes are are decorated by means of hot stamping, or a type of die stamping that uses heated dies to impress a design into the plastic. One advantage of rigid-plastic boxes is their reusability.
'Solid-Fiber Boxes'. Solid-fiber boxes, unlike corrugated boxes, are manufactured from a single solid layer formed from several plies of paperboard. Separate plies are glued together under pressure to form a strong, solid sheet, die-cutting or other converting processes being used to cut and form the sheets into the desired size and configuration of box. Solid-fiber boxes are designed and produced almost exclusively for applications requiring reuse, commonly due to their expense. A typical solid-fiber box is estimated to be able to be used 10:15 times before it has outlived its usefulness. Breweries are one of the biggest purchasers of these boxes.
'Wirebound Boxes and Wooden Crates'. Wirebound boxes are often also known as crates, and reinforce a wooden construction with steel binding wires fastened to the wood by staples. Any of a variety of deciduous trees can supply the wood used for such crates. (The technical difference between a box and a crate is that the former is a completely enclosed structure in which contents are placed, whereas the latter is a container of framed construction.) The advantage of wooden boxes and crates is their sturdy construction and the increased protection they afford their contents.