Digital Printing in Packaging: What You Need to Know

Digital Printing in Packaging What You Need to Know
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As the realm of product marketing relentlessly evolves, digital printing has cemented itself as an integral part of the packaging landscape.

Unfettered by the constraints of traditional presses, modern brands require quicker turnovers, customization, and lithe marketing approaches – needs that digital printing cater to with extraordinary ease.

Whether you’re a decision-maker, marketer, or an end user, a grasp of the subtleties of digital printing is critical. 

So, what exactly is digital printing in packaging, and why should it matter to your enterprise? Let’s dive into this article for answers

What is Digital Printing in Packaging

What is Digital Printing in Packaging

Digital printing for packaging is a technology where digital made images are directly printed onto various packaging materials. It’s fast, flexible and cost-effective.

Unlike offset printing, it doesn’t need printing plates or stuff. You directly send a digital file such as a PDF to a printer, which then applies the ink precisely onto the material.

Also, don’t forget to convert the color model, CMYK color model prints better compared to RGB.

This method can print on a wide array of materials including paper, cardboard, plastic, and even metal. 

Furthermore, it also allows quick design changes and customization, enhancing customer engagement by creating custom packaging and unique designs.

Benefits and Limitations of Digital Printing

Pros and Cons of Digital Printing


  1. Flexibility and Speed: With digital printing, design changes can be made nearly instantly and without any tooling changes because no plates are required. This makes it perfect for short and quick turnaround runs.
  2. Variability: Digital printing allows every single packaging print to have different information or design, such as sequential numbering, variable data, or different language versions. This opens up possibilities for personalization or targeted advertising.
  3. Cost-Efficient for Short Print Runs: With no plates or tooling required, the set-up cost for a print job is significantly reduced making digital printing an affordable option for short-run prints.
  4. No Minimum Print Quantity: Digital printing lets you print a single piece, making proofing, samples, and low-volume production cost-effective.


  1. Limited Material Options: Digital printers can print on a decent range of substrates, but for some special types of materials, like certain metals or extremely thick cardboards, traditional methods may be more suitable.
  2. Lower Speed on Long Runs: Large volume runs, like printing more than 1000 units, can be done more quickly and at a cheaper unit cost with conventional printing methods.
  3. Color Inconsistencies: Although it uses highly precise inkjet technology, there can sometimes be minimal variations in color between print runs.
  4. Durability: The durability of digital printing may not always match with traditional methods. The inks, while robust, may not be as resistant to extreme conditions such as UV exposure or harsh handling.

In conclusion, digital printing is more suitable for smaller projects. For shorter print runs, typically less than 1000 units, digital printing can be more cost-effective.

While digital printing for packaging is innovative and versatile, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Weighing the importance of cost, material quality, and production speed against the size and requirements of your packaging run is crucial.

Material Considerations and Sustainability

Material Considerations and Sustainability

Material Considerations

Digital printers work with a wide range of substrates – this includes paper, card stock, film, and even some fabrics. The chosen material influences the print quality, durability, and finish of the packaging.

For example, matte materials can provide a luxe, sophisticated feel, while glossy surfaces bring a vibrant, eye-catching quality to the design.

As for inks, printing digitally commonly uses UV-curable, solvent, aqueous, or latex inks. Each one has different properties regarding adhesion, color vividness, resistance to elements, and compatibility with materials.

Sustainability Aspects

  • Reduced Waste: Traditional printing methods often require printing extra ‘overs’ to ensure color accuracy, which leads to wasted materials if colors are off. With digital printing, there’s no need for ‘overs’ for color setup, which reduces waste.
  • Fewer Resources: Printing digitally requires fewer raw materials in the process. There’s no need for plates or chemicals used in traditional offset printing.
  • Energy Efficiency: The energy consumption of digital printing presses is significantly less than conventional printing presses.
  • On-Demand Printing: It reduces the need for storing bulk quantities of pre-printed packaging that might never be used, cutting down waste.
  • Innovations in Inks: Some digital printers use vegetable or soy-based inks reducing harmful emissions during production and handling.

However, it’s important to note that while digital printing seems greener, the environmental footprint also relies on factors like the lifecycle of the printed packaging, the source of the electricity, and how waste ink and parts are managed.

Customization and Branding Opportunities

Customization and Branding Opportunities

Tailored Designs for Target Markets

Digital printing allows businesses to create small or even one-off print runs with distinctive designs that connect with particular consumer groups. This opens the door for brands to craft personalised campaigns or exclusive packaging.

Personalization for Enhanced Customer Engagement

Personalization is undoubtedly a trend that’s gaining speed, with digital printing at the forefront of making the most of it. Whether it’s printing your brand on a package or including tailored messages, bespoke packaging forms a sentimental connection with customers, fuelling loyalty and repeat purchases.

Agility in Responding to Market Trends

In today’s dynamic retail world, being able to swiftly adapt to trends is a major advantage. Digital printing provides this flexibility, with the power to modify designs or launch new branding in reaction to market changes, all without the extended wait times associated with conventional printing techniques.


Digital Printing in Packaging

Digital printing has revolutionized the retail world by offering unmatched agility and flexibility for small projects. Its ability to create high-quality prints on-demand without the need for time-consuming setup makes it both cost-effective and efficient. 

Choose different printing methods for the different needs of your business projects. If you still have any questions about custom packaging and printing you can ask us. Choose Lipack to provide you with professional customized packaging design solutions!

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