Packing Symbols for Boxes: Meanings and Printable Downloads

Sep 26, 2022 | 0 comments

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Over time, specific packing symbols for boxes have become standardised. These symbols provide information about boxes and their contents at a glance, to help ensure that the boxes are properly handled.

Below we provide an overview of the most widely used packing symbols and their meanings.

You can also download our printable moving labels below. This is handy for labelling boxes before a move or prior to putting them in storage.

Common packing symbols and their meanings

Symbols of all types are designed to convey a message across all languages at a glance. This is why they are usually minimalistic and seldom include words.

Fragile symbol

fragile symbol

We all know this one from breakable deliveries. This simple but effective symbol indicates that the contents of a box are fragile or breakable.

This way up

this way up symbol

This common symbol lets movers and delivery people know that a box must be kept upright, and indicates which way is up.

Handle with care

handle with care symbol

The handle with care symbol indicates that the contents of a box or container mustn’t be jostled, squashed, thrown about or bent.

Keep dry

keep dry symbol

What better way to communicate “keep dry” than with an umbrella. This symbol is commonly found on cardboard boxes (regardless of their contents) because cardboard is sensitive to moisture.

Do not open with knife

do not open with knife symbol

This symbol warns people against cutting a box open with a knife. This symbol is common on boxes of books, where cutting the tape with a knife could also cut the books packed at the top.

Temperature sensitive

temperature sensitive

The temperature sensitive symbol let movers know that the items in a box are sensitive to extreme temperature. Often, the symbol is accompanied by text that specifies the safe temperature range.

Keep out of direct sunlight

keep out of direct sunlight symbol

This symbol warns against letting a box sit in direct sunlight, usually because the contents are sensitive to heat.


flammable symbol

The flammable symbol is used for any substance that must be kept away from sources of ignition or high temperatures. It warns against a possible risk of either fire or explosion.

Do not stack

do not stack symbol

This symbol lets movers know that they can’t stack anything on top of a box. This may be because the box is not strong enough or the contents are sensitive.

Lift hazard

lift hazard

This symbol warns that a box is heavy; movers should use caution to avoid injury.

Two-person lift

two person lift symbol

This symbol cautions that the box it either very heavy and/or very large and should only be lifted by two people.

Use trolley

use trolley symbol

A symbol to tell movers they must use a trolley to move the box either because it is too heavy to lift without the risk of injury or it is too big and cumbersome.

Recycle symbol

recycle symbol

The universal recycle symbol is used to let people know that the box is recyclable and to encourage people to recycle it.

Printable moving labels

Print out your own packing labels at home for your next move. We’ve set up these moving labels to be printed on A4 label paper and then cut into four individual stickers.

Online moving supplies from Ecobox

If you have a move coming up, we hope our printable packing symbols for boxes come in handy. At Ecobox, we can also help with all the moving supplies you need.

We supply cardboard boxes in a wide range of sizes, as well as padding and packing materials. We also offer moving kits (with sturdy, plastic moving boxes) and moving trolleys for rent.

Contact us on 010 595 5555 for more details or start shopping for your move now.

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