To come up with something cool… That is how a path of creating a label for a product commences. You spend many hours, trying to achieve the ideal project. Then, eventually, here it is! The client is contented and the graphic designer is fulfilled, but what comes after that? Here is where the adventure begins from a blueprint to a perfect realisation.
You have lots of possibilities, but how to choose that one relevant option that would transfer your concept of the ideal label to reality… We will take a look at the most popular printing methods, so that you could more easily make the right choice.
Digital print is the “youngest” method, invented over 20 years ago. The beginning of digital printing is recognized to be 1993. Although inkjet printing was well known and used since 1970, yet the time frames were established by quality.
The idea of digital print is that data contained in a digital file by print machines and special dyeing agents, are transferred to the printing base.
- The greatest advantage of digital printing is “here and now” production. We have a possibility of printing low-cost quantities in a short time, without bearing the high costs of polymers. We also have a possibility of overprinting variable data on every label, ex. texts, graphics, numbering, data personalization. We can do that in one printout. The amount of variable information depends only on your imagination.
- Of course, the digital printing method has its flaws. If you plan a print of medium and high quantities, the digital printing is not for you. Such method also limits the usage of special paints. It is easier to print special colours via analogue than digitally. In traditional methods pressmen can create own colours by mixing selected paints in appropriate proportions. The necessity of thermal overprint strengthening process causes specific requirements given to support, and that leads to the range of usage’s limitation.
Offset print is a technique of so called planographic printing, which means that specified aluminium offset polymer parts are in an equal level. Such printing takes advantage of a mutual push back effect of printing and non-printing factors.
- To the benefits of this technology we can count a realisation of printout which is relatively cheap and fast. Especially in case of a large amount of copies. The offset printing technique assures higher quality, comparing it to the digital printing because even the smallest of elements are copied. Offset printing gives us a possibility of using a wide range of paper to print in regards to grammages and types. Often although does such print limit itself
to four-colour print (CMYK model). In case you wanted to refine a label with varnish, foil or gilding, such process takes place at the separate line, which might slightly delay the time of realisation.
- A disadvantage of this print may be the unprofitability of the method with little quantities. The greater the quantity, the more profitable the method becomes. Moreover, it is not possible to personalize the offset print, like you could in digital method. The offset print has its limits when it comes to a vision of your project of the label, ex. one cannot overprint a bright colour on a dark paper because offset paints are transparent to some degree. For sure this is not a ”day by day” method because the paint after printing needs to shrivel. The last flaw is a fact, that in this print method it is necessary to early prepare a printing form. This step raises the cost of producing printouts and delays the time of realisation.
In order to define flexography we can use the definition: “Printing with convex, flexible printing forms with usage of liquid, quick-drying paints; and with anilox which applies the paint on a printing form”.
Such technology has recently dominated the print industry. It is a method with which one can often be seen with the packaging printing. It comes from the fact that machines are often customised to a base passed from a spool and they also enable a print on various bases. That is why many producers from the household and cosmetic chemicals industry as well as those from the food industry choose the flexo print. Flexo has the greatest advantage in the area, where a label with high level of endurance is required and we choose foil for print. It is the most profitable method in case of repetitive printouts with medium or high quantity, which do not need often changes in the project. You will have no problem achieving satisfactory colours, from special paints and pastel shades to metallized paints.
- The advantage of this method is that it does not require expensive bases for a label to become visually attractive. Yet simultaneously it allows us to use various materials, such as: white foil, transparent, silver; synthetic materials or structural papers. The range of bases is almost unlimited. Imagine you have got a vision of a paper label – all you need to do is to change the material in order to completely refresh the look on your label. You have an infinite ability of creating something new with every printout.
In addition, you can problemlessly refine your project within a single printout. You can also add a laminate: glossy or matt; secure the label with a varnish; combine a matt varnish with a glossy one; refine the label with gilding, such as silver, golden, colour… Your project – flexo realisation.
- If we are to point out the drawbacks of such printing method , the most significant one is the cost of preparing polymer die. If you plan on printing in medium and high quantities, the costs of polymer dies are acceptable. Given the whole list of advantages, one can look less serious on disadvantages.
In order to choose the most optimal printing method for a given project, one needs to analyse a lot of factors: the print repetitiveness, the conditions of product preserving in a logistic process, the print complexity and the amount of colours and refinements used in the project. It is a base being used in labels printing, that unequivocally defines the print method. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile trusting the printing house and the professional advising, that will let you resolve any doubts and work out the best printing technology to given project’s realisation.