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Custom Packaging Printing - What is the Best Type of Printing for Packaging

What is the Best Type of Printing Method for Packaging Printing?

You are now one step closer to having your own branded packaging. You already know the right box dimensions that your product needs, which material best suits your requirements, and you have a packaging design that is guaranteed to catch your customer’s attention. But before you place your order and proceed with custom packaging printing, there’s one more thing that you need to consider: the best type of printing method for your packaging.

More often than not, you are limited to the printing technology of your packaging manufacturer. However, this may not be ideal since you need to find the printing process that is suitable for your budget and can provide the printing quality that your business is aiming for. Instead of settling for what’s offered by your packaging manufacturer, you need to find the printing technique that works best for your business goals and budget.

Custom packaging printing processes have different printing methods and prices. If you want to make a more informed decision, check out the differences between the most commonly used industrial printing processes today:

Five Types of Printing Method Used in Custom Packaging Printing

Printing Method Pros Cons Common Applications
Lithography or Offset
  • Provides “retail-quality” printing
  • Can use more than four colors
  • Allows special coatings (soft matte touch, high gloss) to be applied
  • Produces smooth color gradients (no noticeable banding)
  • Requires high minimum number of prints to order due to pricy tool cost
  • Longer process time due to slow set up, which includes development of the printing plates
Wood, Canvas, Cloth, Folding Cartons, and Labels
  • Lower cost of printing
  • Prints on different materials such as corrugated cardboard, cellophane, and plastic
  • Fast turnaround time
  • Can print using water and oil-based inks
  • Lower print quality compared to lithography
  • Can’t print photo-quality images
  • Visible banding
Stand Up Pouches, Foo Wrappers, Corrugated Boxes
  • Works well on thin materials such as polyester and nylon
  • Produces high-quality prints
  • Can print photo-quality images
  • Good for packaging designs that have intricate details
  • Requires high minimum number of prints to order
  • Few coating options
  • Longer turnaround times
Stand Up Pouches, Folding Cartons
  • Premium-quality printing
  • Low minimum number of prints to order
  • Fast turnaround times
  • Easier file preparation
  • Few options when it comes to coating when compared to litho
  • Can’t use metallic inks
  • Price per unit is high
Labels, Corrugated Boxes, Packaging Prototypes, Polyethylene or Plastic Film
  • Suitable for small print orders
  • Low setup costs when compared to other printing methods
  • Slow printing time
  • Not ideal for high-volume print orders
  • Can’t print photo-quality images
  • Prone to human error during printing process
Glass Fragrance Bottles, Plastic Tubes (body lotion, shampoo, etc.), Labels, Folding Cartons, Promotional Items
Get Production Started: Choose Your Box Style