If you’re naturally detail-oriented like me, then you zero in on clever ways of putting arcane packaging details like “dust flaps” to better use.
What are “dust flaps”? They’re those flaps attached to either side at the opening of a folding carton. They make the box a bit stronger and they’re supposed to keep dust and other foreign particles out. (Although, if the contents of your box are particularly particulate, then you could also say that they keep the particles in.)
Closing a box, these are the smaller flaps that you fold in before you tuck in the tuck flap. Opening a box, these flaps are the last thing you’ll see before the box is fully open.
Here are 4 ways of getting more mileage from those unassuming dust flaps.
1. More Branding
Mac Cosmetics puts their “Back-2-M·A·C” logo on the left hand dust flap of their folding cartons. The company uses this tiny space to promote it’s “primary packaging” recycling program.
Because we share your commitment to the environment, M·A·C accepts returns of its primary packaging through the Back-to-M·A·C Program. By returning six  M·A·C primary packaging containers to a M·A·C counter or M·A·C Cosmetics online, you’ll receive a free M·A·C lipstick of your choice as our thanks to you.
By “primary” packaging, the company means the plastic containers that actually contains the cosmetics. The folding carton, itself, (where the “Back-2-M·A·C” logo appears) is not part of the program. Although, most municipal recycling programs accept folding cartons of this type.
But you do not get a free lipstick for turning in the boxes.
I found these photos of GameBoy boxes on Bryan Ochalla’s The Gay Gamer site.
Whoever designed these game cartridge boxes, fully exploited their small size, giving the tiny dust flaps cute, character-driven details.
Another aspect of Pri Pri‘s packaging that earns brownie points from me is that the little flaps that help keep its box closed are branded with adorable illustrations.
I’d want to own that box and cartridge and instruction manual even if I only kind of liked Seiken Densetsu‘s gameplay.
I especially love the little enemy illustrations that are hidden on the box’s inner flaps.
Yes, the flaps on Guru Logi Champ‘s box feature depictions of the game’s adorable duck-like characters.
–some dust-flap-related excerpts from The Gay Gamer
3. More Product Information
Miller Creative used the inner dust flaps of their boxes for Café Time cookies as a place for additional product information.
The tuck-flaps under the box lid contain fun facts about the quality ingredients used in the cookies, which makes the eating experience all the more enjoyable.
We also find a lot of product instructions and assembly diagrams printed on inner box flaps. Anything that you might need to know as you open the box, package designers are putting on these flaps. (In lieu of an instruction manual.)
4. More Messaging
Dust flaps are a little bit like saloon style doors. They’re the last thing you see before you experience what’s inside. Are we crazy to want to use that spot for one final message?
At the Package Design Matters Conference in January, Dubitsky gave us a sneak peek at new products and cartons for the brand. … Hello updated its kids and adult toothpaste packaging with Forest Stewardship Council-certified kraft paper boxes printed with soy inks. The cartons feature bold colors and Dubitsky’s signature tone of voice—a blend of serious science with a wink.
“Yeah, I write the copy,” Dubitsky says. “When you open the box of our brand new whitening toothpaste, it says, ‘Hello sunshine.’
Linda Casey, Elevate the Everyday, Package Design Magazine, March 22, 2016