Custom packaging is a pretty broad topic. Does it mean a cardboard box, a plastic wrapper, or a metal briefcase? When designing packaging for a product, the one major element to hit is to choose a design that complements the product itself. Form follows function, at the end of the day.
One way to keep a box customized while also the right fit for the job is to utilize digital printing.
What is digital print?
It is what you think it is: a process by which a digitally-stored image is printed directly onto the medium. This shouldn’t sound revolutionary. You might assume most images seen on packaging are digitally-printed. However, when it comes to boxes, t-shirts, or anything printed in large amounts, screen printing is still a more practical process in bulk.
A new press release, however, shows the beauty of going digital. David Luttenberger, global packaging director for the Mintel Group, has made a list of packaging trends for 2016--and right at the top? A focus on digital print.
Luttenberger calls the rise of this technique an evolution, not revolution. Which is true: experts have been predicting a digital boom as far back as 2013. But what digital printing offers is far more versatile than the endless, one-shot screen print process. Screen printing cannot be manipulated on the fly like digital can. With digital printing, you can change ingredients, logos, and instructions with a few changes to the digital source. This allows for smaller runs, or preliminary press versions of product packaging. Luttenberger draws attention to the successful Coca-Cola campaign of including names on their labels. This imaginative marketing would not have been plausible with screen printing.
Digital also allows you to include smaller details for higher-definition. Screen printing works for simple logos, but if you need to include lifelike imagery, digital is the only way to go.
In a nutshell, digital printing gives businesses more freedom. Freedom to try a new look, a new campaign, or a new marketing strategy, without committing to the asset creation or monotony of screen printing.
Will digital finally see it’s boom in 2016? Only time will tell.