Digital printing is a method of printing that takes digital-based images and prints directly onto a variety of mediums.
Other conventional methods of printing that use etched plates to transfer images onto materials have been around since the 18th century. These methods like flexography and lithography are still used today for larger-scale commercial printing.
While the methods are quite different, the print qualities are remarkably similar. The major differences to consider lie in the budget, the timeline, and the scope of your needs. Check out the guide below to learn the advantages of digital printing and whether or not our method is the right choice for your labels!
Digital printing can be done rather quickly – in some circumstances, as quickly as the next day! With print-ready artwork, our process consists of 3 simple steps and our turnaround time is generally 3 business days (a day for each step).
- The prepress team reviews your digital artwork and sends an electronic proof.
- Press operators print the approved artwork directly onto the selected substrate.
- Our finishing team die-cuts and laminates to the specified shape, size, and sheen.
In traditional off-set printing methods, plates must be created for your designs and inks may need to be mixed or modified. This method does not offer instant drying capabilities, so printed labels cannot be quickly handed off for finishing.
With the labor-intensive technical setup, flexographic printing limits customers to ordering extremely large runs. If you are a small to midsize business or experience changing trends, hundreds of thousands of labels would waste away on your warehouse shelves.
In digital printing, approved artwork is printed directly onto the substrate, which makes cycling through different substrates or label designs a quick and easy transition. At Frontier Label, everything is custom! We have no minimum quantity requirements so that you can order the exact number of custom labels you need.
In offset printing, a different plate is required for every color in your design. If your Chocolate BCAA Powder artwork includes Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black in the color builds– this means that 4 separate plates must be made to print this one design.
Because digital printers use laser technology, you have more freedom to expand the number of variations in your brand. A new scent or flavor is as simple as submitting a new artwork file.
Variable Data Printing (VDP)
Not only do you have the freedom to print varieties, but every single label can also be customized. Perhaps each individual label has a unique serial number, barcode, or batch number.
That sequential information can be plugged into a spreadsheet and cycled through from label to label, making the possibility for unique labels virtually endless.
Digital printing is a 4-color (CMYK) process where inks are never modified so that colors can be consistently reproduced!
In our digital printing process, HP Electroink arrives in sealed cans, there are no additives, and all of the modifications happen within the digital art file. In order to achieve a metallic effect, we simply print directly onto a metallic substrate–and for Pantone matching, we manually adjust the levels of CMYK at press in order to simulate a Pantone shade.
Conventional printing methods often use a variety of ink types. To achieve a specific Pantone color or a metallic effect, offset press shops might have to create ink mixtures. During an offset run, if the delicate balance between oil and water is disrupted, there’s a higher chance for defect labels or inconsistencies.
When Is Digital Not For You?
Flexo and litho printers are an ideal choice for high-volume commercial printing runs. Although initial front-end costs are higher than digital printers, the cost per unit is significantly lower when ordering by the hundreds of thousands.
While digital printing can be done across a wide variety of mediums, offset printing still offers the most flexibility when it comes to special papers and unusual printing surfaces.
While digital press use CMYK to simulate Pantone colors, offset printers can use actual Pantone inks. While these inks are more costly–they are an ideal way to manage and reproduce colors across your brand.
Let’s Get Started
If digital label printing sounds like it may be a good fit for you, we are here to help you get started. Check out our Live Quote Tool, or phone our friendly Experience Team to chat about your needs!