Understanding the variables that affect
the selection of the right label printing technology.
A product’s packaging
attracts the consumer’s attention
to the brand,
enhances its image,
and influences the consumer’s
Professionally printed labels are an
investment into the success of
WHAT FACTORS DETERMINE THE
RIGHT PRINTING PROCESS?
So I know I need high quality labels to sell my products but…
• A method of printing that uses flexible
printing plates made of rubber or plastic.
• Each plate is rotated on a cylinder and coated
with fast drying ink.
• The material is passed between the print plate
and impression roller.
• Commonly used for product labels and direct
thermal labels, used in Zebra or Dymo
LabelWriter label printers.
• Digital printing presses deposit toner onto the
• Toner does not permeate the substrate, but
instead forms a thin layer on the surface using
a heat process.
Benefits of Flexographic Printing
• Enhanced durability: best solution for labels that need
to have a longer shelf life or those that will be used
outdoors; can be used for virtually any material
• Speed of production: uses fast-drying inks that allow
presses to add one color after the next quickly;
laminating, die-cutting, cold foiling and other
processes can be integrated to the press line, making
• Color precision: use the Pantone Color System to
determine an exact color for your graphics
• Low cost for large run print jobs
Benefits of Digital Printing
• Fast turn around: doesn’t require plates to be
created or images distorted, setup time for job is
• Higher image quality: digital images are printed
as one image, rather than on layers, which means
higher resolution images
• Lower cost for short runs: by eliminating
expenses for setup you lower the cost of labels
for short runs
• Flexibility: labels can be changed or updated
easily at no additional expense
Drawbacks of Flexographic
• Cost of Plates: plates must be purchase for each color in
the image, a significant expense for short runs (for large
runs the cost of the plates is offset by the speed and lower
• Cost of Image: wrapping an image around a cylinder causes
it to stretch and become distorted; it’s necessary to distort
the image before the plates are created so that it prints
• Registration: movement occurs as labels move from one
plate to the next, making it impossible to layer colors
precisely; commonly used printing techniques called traps
and bleeds are used to overcome this setback, but it still
lacks the high definition results you achieve with digital
Drawbacks of Digital
• High cost of large run print jobs: digitally printed labels are more
expensive individually, making them much less affordable for large
• Less durable: while a laminate can be added to increase durability,
these labels aren’t designed to last as long as flexographic and
shouldn’t be used outdoors
• Color selection less exact: can get close to a color, but not the right
solution if precision color selection is required since color range is
• Additional process mean additional steps and additional money: if
you want to add lamination, cold foil or another process, these will
have to be done separate from the original digital printing process
• Limited materials: cannot print on materials that are heat sensitive,
since digital presses use a heat sensitive process (such as direct
Things you should look for in a label
• Turnaround time
• Ease of ordering
• Shipping requirements
• Other special needs that affect which labeling
solution is best for YOUR business…
No two labeling needs are alike…
You can’t uncover the right labeling
solution by simply checking
“yes” or “no” on a list.
The only way to find the right solution
is to speak with a sales rep for
a labeling manufacturer.
They have the knowledge and experience
to ask the right questions and guide you
to a solution that is tailored to meet
your specific needs.
Ready to speak with someone?
Our custom label specialists are here and happy
to help you explore your options and establish
the best labeling solution for your business.
Contact us today!