How to Read Box Dimensions? A Guide to Box Packaging - Packoi (2024)

Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by Packoi Team

The e-commerce revolution has brought quite a few conveniences to our shopping experience. However, in terms of conveying the accuracy of the box dimensions of the product, it is somewhat insufficient. Yes, these products come with a string of numbers describing the size of the product.

Pay special attention to the box dimensions before custom packaging. Shipping costs are typically based on the size and weight of the package. Knowing the dimensions of your box can help you get an accurate estimate of shipping costs.

But how do you read these dimensions? Is there a particular order you should follow?

What Does LxWxH Stand For?

L x W x H represents the three dimensions of an object: Length (L), Width (W), and Height (H). Length-width measurements describe the flat area of a product or box, while height is the vertical measurement. When measuring a box’s dimensions (LxW), the larger of the two dimensions is labeled length, while the short dimension is labeled width.

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You can identify the box height by looking at the opening lid. The other dimensions will then be the length and width. Now you can determine the length as the larger number; the last remaining horizontal dimension will be the width.

Occasionally, you will see the “H” replaced with a “D” for depth measurement. This is primarily a personal choice by the seller to convey the shape of a product better. In practice, both height and depth refer to the same vertical dimension.

When you open a box from the top, it’s easier to see the downward measurement as depth from the top. But when you look at the same box from the front, you will see its height from the bottom. The difference comes from our perspective on dimensions and our preference for certain words.

How do I Measure Dimensions?

In the application of the dimensions above the box packaging, the application and difference between 2D and 3D are used to interpret the dimensions encountered in the process of box packaging and correctly read the size.

2D box packaging refers to boxes designed using a flat, two-dimensional approach. In contrast to 3D box packaging, which uses a combination of 2D elements and 3D design elements to create a more dynamic and eye-catching packaging solution, 2D box packaging is focused primarily on utilizing two-dimensional surface areas to convey information and branding elements.

2D Custom Packaging Design

For flat 2D packaging designs, there are only two dimensions: width and height. The term length is less commonly used for flat design in professional environments. However, laymen often use length x width instead of width x height.

Here are some examples of 2D applications in box packaging:

Example 1: Design and Illustration

  • Branding – 2D box packaging can utilize large, two-dimensional surfaces to prominently display brand logos, product names, and other messaging.
  • Graphics and art – 2D box packaging can incorporate graphics, illustrations, and other 2D elements to create a visually engaging and attractive packaging solution.
  • Labels and information – 2D box packaging can include labels, information, and other 2D elements to convey important information about the product, how to use it, and other relevant details.
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All design and illustration work uses the standard WxH order for design and prints. The order originates from matrix dimensions in mathematics but is also standard in digital screen resolutions. Designers use the metric system for their dimensions to avoid relying on fractions.

A vertical A4 design will be written as WxH 210 x 297 mm (8.27 x 11.69 inches). But if you change the orientation to horizontal, the design box dimensions are inverted to 297 x 210 mm but are still written in the WxH order.

Example 2: Laymen’s Dimensions

Occasionally, manufacturers and printers use LxW (length-width) or LxH (length-height) terms to describe their products. Here, length will always be used to describe the horizontal dimensions relative to the branding and lettering on the packaging.

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This order is meant to reduce confusion among buyers unfamiliar with the design industry standards. Generally speaking, people find this method the easiest to understand, but it creates a conflict with industry standards.

Example 3: Envelope Dimensions

The humble envelope is a key outlier in 2D dimensions. To maintain accurate measurements across several countries, envelope designs have adhered to a non-standard dimension order. All envelopes’ dimensions will have the smaller dimension listed first, irrespective of the orientation.

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A regular motivational envelope will be 3.5 x 6 inches, and a vertical open-end envelope will be 9 x 12 inches. There is no standard labeling. You can refer to envelope dimensions as WxH, HxW, or LxW.

Overall, 2D box packaging offers a range of design options and can be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the product being packaged. By focusing on two-dimensional design elements, 2D box packaging can provide a sustainable and visually engaging packaging solution that effectively protects the product and conveys important information about the brand.

3D Packaging: LxWxH Which Comes First?

How to measure a box? Standard packaging practice dictates that the order of box dimensions should be listed as length-width-height. All professional box packaging designers and printers follow this order for 3D objects to avoid confusion.

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If you see three numbers listed as a product’s size or dimensions, the first number will represent the length, the second the width, and the last the height. That’s 3D. Now, it is also possible to use some 3D tools for 3D design and custom packaging, like Adobe’s 3D packaging design.

How Do I Read Box Dimensions?

Measuring the 3D box and deciphering the box’s dimensions are all step by step.

Step 1

The dimensions for a standard 3D box are written as three numbers separated by the multiplication symbol “x“. These are your length x width x height measurements, in that order. Use a tape measure, if needed, to measure the LxWxH of your box. Let’s assume your box measurements are 12, 8 & 10 inches.

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Step 2

Take a look at your box orientation. If your box has a lid, then that side is the top. Your height will be the distance from the top lid to the base of the box. The height of the box is 10 inches, and the remaining length-width is 12 & 8 inches.

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Step 3

Now you are left with length-width dimensions. The remaining longest measurement is the length of your box. Now we know the height of the box is 10 inches and the length is 12 inches.

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Step 4

Now that we know the height and length of the box, the other dimension must be the width. And now we have associated the three measurements (12-8-10) with the three dimensions (length x width x height).

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Step 5

Once you measure the LxWxH of your object, it’s time to choose the correct box dimensions for branding and lettering. Determine the side of your box where you want the lettering printed.

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Step 6

Your print area’s size will differ from the LxWxH you have measured. No matter the orientation, your left-to-proper distance will be your width, while your top-to-bottom distance will be your height.

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Reading the dimensions for any given product or box will seem daunting at first glance to most people. But the process becomes much simpler once you understand the logic and pattern behind writing dimensions. Try to stick to standard industry practices and avoid relying on laymen and modified box measurements.

Why Choose Packoi for Your Custom Packaging Needs?

Packoi provides state-of-the-art packaging solutions for all industries. We have low MOQs and offer affordable, fully customized boxes and bags. The quality of your packaging indicates the quality of the products inside it. You need to rely on established companies like Packoi to support you in building a successful business.

In custom packaging, there are abundant opportunities for online jobs for product, brand, and sales professionals, requiring expertise in dimensions for effective design.

For additional information and instant quotes, Contact us Now!

How to Read Box Dimensions? A Guide to Box Packaging - Packoi (2024)


How do you read packaging dimensions? ›

All box dimensions are written as length x width x height. For example, 14" x 11" x 4" means 14" (L) x 11" (W) x 4" (H)". Specify whether these are inner or outer box dimensions.

How to read box dimension? ›

However, the industry standard order of dimensions when recording or reading measurements remains the same: Length x Width x Depth (LxWxD) or Length x Width x Height (LxWxH). Length: The longest side when looking at the top of the box. Width: The shorter side when looking at the top of the box.

What comes first, length or width or height? ›

Measurements always go in the following order: length x width x height. For example, if a product is 12" x 6" x 8", it is 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 8 inches tall. If there is a fourth number, that is for the depth or thickness of the item.

What are the measurements of a package dimension? ›

Measure the length of the box first. This is the long side of the box on the side of the longest flap. Next, turn the box 90 degrees and measure the width, which is the side with the shorter flap. Last, measure the height of the package.

How do you calculate packaging dimensions? ›

How to calculate package dimensions? Length, width, height, and girth are all dimensions. Use a tape measure across your item's length, width, or height to determine these dimensions. To determine girth, add width to height and multiply by two.

What does L * W * H mean? ›

When you see the dimensions of an object listed as “length x width x height,” it is referring to the measurement of that object in three-dimensional space. The length is always the longest side, the width is always the middle side, and the height is always the shortest side.

How do you decipher dimensions? ›

The first number corresponds to length, the second number to width, and the third number to height. For example, if an object has a length of 30 inches, a width of 15 inches, and a height of 7 inches, its dimensions would be written as 30 x 15 x 7 (length x width x height).

What do boxed dimensions mean? ›

Because basic dimensions are theoretically perfect dimensions, there are no tolerances associated with them. A basic dimension is noted as a dimension with a box around it and must mathematically relate back to the Datum Features. In ISO standards, basic dimensions are called TEDs – Theoretically Exact Dimensions.

How are dimensions listed in order? ›

When listing dimensions, the order typically follows the convention of length, width, and height. This convention is commonly used when specifying the dimensions of objects, such as boxes, rooms, or any three-dimensional structures.

What is the meaning of w * d * h? ›

Width (W): It is the total width of your piece of furniture in its widest part, including armrests. Height (H): It is the total height of your piece of furniture, measured from the floor and including pillows. Depth (D): It is the total depth of your piece of furniture, including pillows.

How to measure a box for shipping USPS? ›

How to measure a box for shipping USPS - Quora. Measure the length (longest side) and once all the way around the widest part (girth). Add them together and they can't go over 108”. The PO will actually take packages up to a combined 130”, but it is VERY VERY expensive.

How to read the dimensions of a box? ›

The length of the box is the longest side when looking at it from the top. The width of the box is the shortest side when looking at it from the top. Last but not least, the height is the side that's perpendicular to the sides you used to measure the length and width.

How do I know my package dimensions? ›

Determine the package measurement in inches. For each measurement, start at the longest point, rounding each measurement to the nearest whole number. Multiply the package length (longest side of the package) by the width by the height. The result is the cubic size in inches.

How do you determine the size of a box? ›

You can calculate the volume of a box by multiplying length x width x height. Using the example of the single wall box this will be 102 x 102 x 102 which equals 1,061,208 cubic millimeters (㎣). In metric units volume is usually expressed in millimetres and litres.

What are packaged dimensions? ›

The package dimension refers to the size of the box, pouch, or parcel that your item will be shipped in. This 3-part measurement, length x width x height, informs the shipping company of the package size so that they can bill for shipping, accordingly.

How to measure product dimensions? ›

Essentially, this is a three-part measurement, often length x width x height, that offers you – the potential consumer – a greater understanding of the size of the product and helps you assess if you can accommodate it in the manner in which they want to utilize it.


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