Everyone knows how the invention of the printing press revolutionized modern printing, but we’ve come a long way from the days of movable type as a revolutionary concept. There are plenty of modern printing technologies that have reshaped the printing landscape. And if you want to create packaging that stands out on the retail shelf, you’d better know which one will best support your goals.
Printing Options for Packaging
Traditional printing options involve the use of a printing press:
- Flexography: Flexography remains one of the most popular methods of non-digital printing for packaging design. This method involves applying ink to a rubber relief plate that is transferred to the printing medium. Flexography is effective for paper, plastic, cellophane, cardboard, and many other mediums, making it an ideal choice for consumer packaging commonly found in retail stores.
- Offset lithography: Offset lithography involves applying ink to a metal plate that holds an image of the content being printed. This plate is offset to a rubber blanket that takes up the ink for transference to the final printing surface, usually paper, cardboard, or plastic.
- Inkjet: Inkjet printing involves ink sprayed directly onto the printing medium by print head nozzles. Inkjet lacks the professional finish of other printing styles, making it best suited for creating a packaging prototype at home or for testing design concepts.
What About Digital Printing?
Digital printing offers printing solutions that are high quality and quick to produce. The main type of digital printing used in the packaging market is called Xerography. Commonly referred to as “laser printers”, xerographic printing applies an electric charge to an internal drum to attract toner particles to the printing medium.
While digital printing is a great option for smaller print jobs, such as those needed by startups, small businesses, or individual sellers, it lacks affordability at scale.
Which Should I Choose?
The printing decision largely comes down to the size of your project. Most small packaging print jobs are handled digitally these days, while larger jobs are usually done on the printing press due to its cheap costs. The decision may also be influenced by the specific needs of your project; flexographic methods may be your best bet if you need to print on uneven surfaces like corrugated cardboard.
If you’re still unsure, involve your printing provider early in your design process. Their input will help you plan out your manufacturing goals before you begin marketing your product.
brandHEAVY is a strategic creative studio specializing in branding, packaging design, and product marketing. Our mission is to take your product and create personalized branding solutions that create instant brand recognition. Contact us for more information about how we can help you build a design your customers will love!