Packaging Innovation
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August 23, 2018

Digital printing for packaging: 3 game changers for small businesses

Until very recently, small businesses didn’t have much support putting their ideas to ink, paper and cardboard. Small-quantity printing for packaging jobs were incredibly costly (specifically when accounting for factors such as die cutting) and customization came at an expense struggling startups could rarely afford. For many, to survive meant to settle—to either opt for a final product that didn’t best represent the brand or to simply forgo crucial marketing steps entirely. Thankfully, digital printing has taken major strides in the past few years. Disruptive technologies are helping small businesses produce the marketing and packaging tools they need without breaking the bank. There’s a pretty wide spectrum of creative solutions we could cite but, given that you’re probably a small business with limited time to spare, we figure we’ll keep things simple and focus on three standout innovations:
  1. Digital printing on corrugated cardboard;
  2. Cutting and folding made easy; and
  3. Simplified ordering processes.
Let’s dive right in!

1. Digital printing on corrugated Image cardboard

It began picking up steam in around 2013 but for quite some time, printing digitally and directly on a corrugated box wasn’t readily available to just any small business. Today, it’s all the rage. Unlike flexography, which is better suited for simplified graphics and larger quantities (think 20,000 units), digital printing lets you produce high-quality, photo-realistic images directly onto your box. Moreover, because setup is so easy (a mere fraction of the setup cost of litho-lamination), many digital printers can accommodate orders of as little as 10 units. Why print on corrugated cardboard? For one, the packaging material is incredibly versatile. Because it’s so easy to fold, customized boxes can be shaped with minimal effort and for minimal cost. It also keeps your products safe. The air pocket between cardboard layers cushions your goods and at the same time prevents moisture from finding its way in. The material is a darling among gift-box businesses. And, not to mention, it’s totally eco-friendly!

2. Cutting and folding made easy

For years, businesses were beholden to die cutting. Unfortunately, high setup costs didn’t make the process particularly feasible for smaller orders and, as a result, custom packaging wasn’t in the cards for many. But today, with more and more digital options available to small businesses, many are benefiting from CAD tables. With CAD tables, the cutting and folding process is entirely automated, which means minimized production time, maximized efficacy and greater customization. CAD tables can work with a near-endless array of materials and, best of all, can accommodate the cutting and folding of a single box, sign or even POP display—a task that wouldn’t be at all practical with die cutting.

3. Simplified ordering process

Another big benefit that comes with the digitization of printing for the packaging industry is how simple it is to place your order. Digital printing services now let you not only upload your artwork directly but also actually design your packaging from scratch using a digital 3D model. Choose your custom mailer box that’s available in a number of dimensions and materials. Add your artwork to the visual. Play with the panel color. Add text. Move it around and gauge your design from all angles. No surprises. Know exactly what you’re getting without a single sales-rep chat. Your order can be queued in mere minutes!

Here’s to the Little Guy!

Advances in digital printing are leveling the playing field not only for the small businesses that employ printing services but also for the printers themselves. By reducing unnecessary labor and cutting out many middlemen, digital printing solutions are making it easier for small printers to flourish. Their success then leads to even greater services available to clients like you. It’s a healthy ecosystem. Gone are the days when only the big fish could survive in these waters. Digital printing tools make any order not only possible but also budget friendly. If you’re a small startup looking to share your colorful ideas with the world, now’s your time to shine!
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Source: guest article by courtesy of Packwire