Is Digital Printing Really Better Than Conventional Printing? A Look at The Biggest Benefits of Digital Printing

05 Apr2019

The right package design, supplier, and production process are all so fundamental to your brand’s success. Whether you’re a new business just starting out, or a seasoned veteran, you know the importance of delivering a winning product in superior packaging. And you know how important it is to work with a supplier that can deliver fast, accurate and affordable work! The key is to find the right flexible packaging partner that leverages the latest technology to deliver high-quality flexible packaging.

Wondering what kind of printing technology makes the most sense for you? Looking to compare digital versus conventional printing? Whether exploring changing your printing technology or adding digital alongside you’re existing production, read on for the biggest benefits that digital printing has to offer.

But before we compare them, we must first define them.

Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital based image directly to a variety of media (or packaging substrates). It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing offers a solution for small to medium-sized businesses looking to do shorter runs, or larger businesses looking to utilize the power of digital for unique campaigns and promotions.

In contrast, conventional or analogue printing involves creating a printing plate for each and every design, SKU or offering. Offset, gravure and flexography are the most common types of conventional printing in the packaging space and each involves transferring the image from a plate to the surface. To do this, first the plate needs to be created, and it is the creation of these plates that take time, and cost money. Conventional printing is most commonly the preferred method of printing for businesses looking to do large runs, where inventory and high minimum orders aren’t a concern.

The Biggest Benefits of Digital

According to PMMI, digital printing allows brands and manufacturers to respond quickly to customer demands while improving the supply chain, reducing warehousing cost and waste, and enjoying faster time to market. That all sounds great, but how does this technology do all that?

With Digital Printing, There Are No Plates

The major differentiator of these technologies is that there are no set-up fees and no plates with digital printing. With no plates to create, this saves time and money, as well as hassle down the road. According to Wikipedia, the greatest difference between digital printing and traditional methods such as lithographyflexographygravure, or letterpress is that there is no need to replace printing plates in digital printing, whereas in these analog printing methods the plates are repeatedly replaced. This results in quicker turnaround time and lowers cost when using digital printing.

Digital Printing is Much Quicker

Speaking of speed, many steps are removed in the digital printing process, so naturally, your package is created fast and shipped out to you quickly. Speedy production means getting your product to market faster. It also means it’s easier and faster to make changes later on, when you change a recipe, add a SKU, or create seasonal packaging. Digital printing is highly flexible, so it’s easy to make changes to the package design quickly. It all goes back to the plates. With conventional printing, any changes would mean creating a new plate, but with digital, it just means opening (and printing) a new file.

Digital Printing Allows For More Flexibility

Since set-up time, fees and plates are eliminated with digital, shorter runs are made possible since there is no up-front cost to the packaging supplier. It’s a digital image, therefore no work is needed to transfer the image onto a physical plate. This means you have much lower order minimums. This is a key differentiator for small to medium-sized businesses that cannot afford a giant first order, and who cannot afford to have a lot of money tied up in inventory with the possible threat of obsolescence. More inventory can mean more waste down the road. With conventional printing methods, short-run printing is just not possible.

Digital Printing Proves Itself Time and Time Again

Because a great design can make or break your product, digital printing consistently creates high-quality, clear and colorful graphics each time. Digital printing on flexible pouches adds the bright, vibrant, and precise graphics that practically beckon consumers to reach out and touch them. The quality of graphics exceeds that of conventional printing methods, is capable of matching existing product lines, and registers perfectly for every image printed. What’s more, digital printing technology gives you the freedom of personalization for customized packaging and messaging for your brand to reach target markets and run specific campaigns.

Digital allows for the speed, flexibility, and clarity that frankly, conventional printing methods just cannot compete with. At ePac, we deliver high-quality flexible packaging, using the leading digital printing technology that truly differentiates us from the competition. ePac is the only flexible packaging company built from the ground up on a digital platform, enabling us to produce competitively priced short and medium run length orders, within 10 days from the date artwork is approved.

Finding the right partner for your business is key, to not only finding a trusted addition to your team but also to support you in your overall business growth. Contact us today to see how we can partner with you to help you start, or grow, your brand!