Chapter 3- Packaging Printing Options- Suitable printing makes your brand visible!

Printing is so important to a custom packaging. there are three major printing options in the world, they are offset printing, flexo printing, and screen printing. We can talk about it in 2 ways: printing artwork design and printing machine.

Printing artwork design

No matter your company has an in-house designer or you hire someone to finalize your design, you need to stay close to your designer. Your idea will affect final design work, we suggest you can draw a draft first. artwork design can apply CMYK color and Pantone color if needed. Let’s talk step by step:

  1. Get an idea of the size of your packaging.
  2. Get an idea of printing elements, and its area on the packaging
  3. leave enough space for bleeding once printing
  4. Get a packaging template to get artwork design loading on.
  5. All packaging company wants Adobe Illustrator files or high-resolution PDF file. Do not forget to create outlines if you wish to send AI file, insert the images into the AI file, and send together.
  6. Your font needs to be clear, not too thin which is hard to recognize.
  7. Ask your packaging manufacturer to offer a mock-up picture before doing sample or bulk order.

LED strip packaging box design

(Just a LED strp packaging box design)

You can also follow packaging designing guidance if still have questions.

After this finished, you can go to talk with your packaging supplier for next steps. 

Printing machine

It’s important to learn your packaging manufacturer’s ability to do the printing. That’s bad when you make lots effort in printing artwork design, but get to know your packaging manufacturer can’t proceed this because their printing machine is old and do not support many colors. Also, you need to know the maximum size their printing machine support, oversized artwork maybe rejected or need glue-joint. Below let’s talk this for the different machine.

Offset printing machine

Komori and Heidelberg offset machine is most advanced in the world. They can support as much as 8 colors one time (CMYK + 4 Pantone color), maximum size can be 1220*1620mm. There are smaller sizes with lower printing costs:

520*720mm/720*1020mm/1000*1400mm, these are some small printing machines’ printing size ability.

Offset Printing Machine

Flexo printing machine

Beiren Group is the biggest flexo printing machine manufacturer in the world. The limit of width is 2300mm and no limits on the length of a cardboard. It can be printed as many as six colors, some advance machine generates printing and cutting into a single flexo printing machine. It means that after printing the box is also auto cut by rest part of the machine, it only supports slotted cartons so far. So you do not need to worries about the size of your box, just talk with your supplier about color printing quality control.

Flexo Printing Machine

Screen printing

Screen printing is something like flexo printing but it is not print directly on boxes but through a screen template. The customers become more and more interested in other 2 printing options, so screen printing is not same popular as before. Screen printing machine is cheap, and it’s able to do UV at the same time.

Screen Printing Machine

Can Printing options be applied onto inside and outside of the box?

The answer is yes, Offset printing, flexo printing and screen printing all can be applied to double-sided printing option. Would you want to know how it happens? Let me tell you:

  • Double side Offset printing. The corrugated board can’t be printed with offset printing machine directly, it needs laminate with a printed paperboard (CCNB paper, ivory paperboard, specialty paper and so on). Once outside printing finished, just laminate another printed paperboard on the inside of a box. If you just make paperboard box instead of a corrugated board, then no worries, just print two sides directly without lamination.
  • Double side Flexo printing. Corrugated board can be printed directly onto corrugated cardboard, so just repeat it one more time, then a double-sided flexo printed box will come out.
  • Double side Screenprinting. The same as Flexo printing, if inside and outside different design, just make 2 printing plate, and apply on.

What are common problems while printing process?

  1. Real printing color does not match the artwork design- It is mainly because of mistakes while printing or unprofessional printing machine. What you need to do is talking with your packaging supplier, as long as you have designed well in the artwork.
  2. Printing does not fit box after the die-cut process- It is mainly because of the wrong size of design artwork, wrong size of die-cut plate or mistakes while cutting the box. What you need to do is just confirm your design first, then talk with your supplier.
  3. Printing seems not shiny / matt as my thought- It is mainly mistaken in taking matt or shiny finish. Some people also didn’t know the oil varnish compare to plastic lamination. You can learn more on this page.
  4. Icons/emojis/logos do not match in the correct position as artwork indicated- It is mainly because of printing worker’s handling, they need to try more times until each element stays in position, not getting bleed to other position.
  5. Printed papers pigment get blurry- It is because of untaken steps of printing finish method, which will protect pigments after the printing process. Another reason is printing factory stack printed paper before they got totally dried. Experienced printing factories should have a dry-house to finish this process, the problem will be avoided.
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