Almost Genius: The Cardboard Box That Fits Anything Perfectly

An invention that might eliminate almost all of the wasted space in a cardboard box.

universal packaging system

How brilliant is this? Designer Patrick Sung’s Universal Packaging System is meant to precisely fit anything that needs shipping. The individual cardboard sheets are scored with a triangle pattern that can either be fitted to an oddly shaped object, or formed into a custom fitted cardboard box:


Potentially massive savings would result from all the extra shipping space saved–cutting down on how much space each package takes up, and therefore the number of gas-guzzling trucks needed during shipping.

There’s just a few niggles. For one, would anyone really put up with the added hassle of folding a custom-sized box, given all the added complexity? And two, the space savings issue might be more complicated than it seems: If people pack things in oddly shaped boxes, there’s every possibility that these all don’t fit together well enough to actually save space. (That’s why square-shaped boxes are so efficient.) But still, with a few tweaks–such as printed guidelines for easily creating boxes of different size–this could be the cleverest thing since the Puma shoebox redesign.

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.