Design The Box


Cereal boxes in the store

As a product guy, I am always looking for ways to stimulate the creativity of my team. One of the most fun exercise we do is – ‘Design The Box’.

During this exercise teams need to create a physical “box” in which they pack their visioned product.

Why this exercise?

‘Design The Box’ is a great exercise for idea-generation. It encourages teams to step into the shoes of their users.

We usually use this exercise before launching a new product but can be used very well for existing ones. By imagining the packaging, the team can focus on the most important benefits of their future product. Those benefits will be in the end prioritized and transformed into actual features.

Who should participate?

We involve people from other departments as well to bring new perspectives in the game. This is a great time to involve colleagues from Sales, Marketing or Customer Support. Having more teams working in parallel will create a good discussion in the “selling phase” of the exercise, where they present their final product to the participants.

The game setup:


To facilitate the creation, each team receives a cardboard box, magazines, markers, craft paper, stickers, tape and scissors.

Group people in teams of  4-6 people. If your team is about that size, keep it as it is and use the exercise as a team-building activity.

Step 1: Fill the Box (usually 30 min)

Team brainstorming the packaging of the product teams brainstorming their boxes packaging

Ask participants to visualize a retail shelf and imagine their product being there. What would make it stand out from the others?

Team need to think about things like: the name, tagline, target customer, compelling features, main benefits, packaging. There is no wrong way in tackling the problem and create the box.

Encourage teams to be creative. The box doesn’t need to be incredibly realistic, but it should feature the details mentioned above.

Team creating the packaging for Design the Box Exercise
One of the teams creating the actual box

Step 2: Create the Box (30-45 min)
At this stage the team starts building the box, trying to replicate a real product box on a retail shelf, ready for sale. Sample boxes may provide inspiration (e.g cereal boxes).

Team members start writing the name, a tagline, highlighting the main benefits of the product on the packaging, taking care of the branding and so on.

Step 3: Sell the Box (10-15 min)

Design the Box final packaging
Final boxes ready to be sold

Each team choose one member that will stand up an sell their box to the all peoples involved in the workshop.

At the end you can choose a winner and draw the conclusions – how the ideal product should look like. Consider rewarding the team on the first place after the “selling” round (as voted by all participants).

Ideally, the exercise should by followed by a second round, where we design the final (shared) box.

For more exercises I recommend the book Gamestorming – by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo 

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