Choosing the right print technology matters
There are basically eight print technologies available to bring a designer’s vision to life and deliver the shelf impact that drives sales. They include narrow-web flexographic, gravure, sheet-offset, web-offset, digital, flatbed screen, inline rotary-screen, and letterpress.
Not that one is better than the other, because each has a range of capabilities that can meet specific needs for visual impact and product presentation, but it’s really best to think about them in terms of what the technology can deliver and how it meets your objectives for the packaging element.
Digital printing enables brands to be more proactive with and responsive to what’s happening in their respective markets. Whatever the brand strategy or tactic, digital matters for:
- New-product mock-ups, seasonal promotions, and short runs for test marketing
- Start-ups and regional roll-outs that may eventually convert to longer-run print technologies
- Small-volume, multiple-SKU runs that can take advantage of speed-to-market opportunities
- Variable-imaging capabilities that allow brands to make cost-effective graphics changes from one SKU to another with streamlined production matched to volume requirements.
Digital also gives brands advantages like:
- Visual impact from vibrant colors, precise registration, smooth gradations, and extreme detail
- Better overall cost-effectiveness because there are no charges for printing plates
- Variable imaging that can literally give each product in a single run a different image, artwork, personalization, or serialization
- Low-volume production runs, which are cost-prohibitive with other print technologies due to setup and tooling charges.
In the end, capturing consumers’ attention at the shelf is critical, but there are a host of other factors to consider.
Pat Young, Innovations Manager