Top Printing Methods for Folding Carton Boxes

Top Printing Methods for Folding Carton Boxes

Custom printing can take your packaging to the next level. With a few small embellishments, your folding carton boxes will go from basic to eye-catching. But which printing method is best for your business?

Making the right decision will give your brand image a boost without breaking the bank. Read on to find the perfect solution for all your packaging needs.

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Three Printing Methods for Folding Carton Boxes

There are three primary types of printing for folding carton boxes: digital, lithographic, and flexographic. 

Digital printing is perhaps the most economical and offers a good solution for small businesses with limited orders.

Lithographic printing, or “litho”, is a premium option that affixes a high-quality laminate to your packages. Although it is often the most expensive option, many companies choose litho to reinforce their brand image.

Flexographic printing, sometimes called “flexo”, allows for low costs and bulk orders with simple, economical three-color printing. The vast majority of folding carton box printing falls into one of these three categories. 

What Is Flexographic Printing?

Flexographic printing is one of the most traditional printing methods still in use today. In flexo, printers use relief plates to stamp designs directly onto packages. The process allows for precision over a long series of prints, without the quality degrading. 

For this reason, flexo is consistently an affordable option, especially if you just need to print a design on numerous folding carton boxes. It can even be used for patterned merchandise like wallpaper and gift wrap. Bear in mind that flexo is not a good option for high-definition designs. If your packaging includes high-resolution photographs or intricate patterns, lithographic and digital printing are better options.

What Is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is a direct-to-surface printing method that eliminates many of the steps required for traditional printing. Companies that sell branded boxes often choose digital printing because it allows for the meticulous recreation of digital images. 

Designs can be easily scaled up and down and reformatted before printing begins. This allows for more flexibility, without sacrificing affordability. Digital printing is growing at an annualized rate of about 13% because more businesses are starting to recognize its value. 

With virtually endless opportunities for customization, digital printing is good for businesses that need a quick turnaround at a competitive price. Your folding carton boxes will stand out on the shelf with vibrant colors and photo-realistic imaging. Because of the short lead time, you can easily use digital printing for limited-run merchandise and samples.

What Is Lithographic Printing?

Variations on lithographic printing were used as far back as ancient Greece. Modern-day litho is accomplished by carving a design into an aluminum plate with a laser and rolling ink over the plate surface. The ink is then transferred to a rubber blanket, which rolls over the surface of the folded carton box. 

Lithographic printing is extremely versatile and can be applied to virtually any material. If you want magazine-quality prints to highlight a luxury brand or high-end product, litho is a great option. Designs can include as many as six different colors, and prices are generally low for bulk orders. For dynamic colors and large orders, consider lithographic printing for your folded carton boxes.

Final Thoughts

No matter what kind of product you sell, there is a printing method that matches your business needs. Digital printing works well for high-definition bulk orders, whereas flexographic printing is perfect for simple designs and limited budgets. Consider lithographic printing for folded carton boxes that require precision and luxe design.

If all the different options make your head spin, consult with a printing partner. Many packaging and printing companies like GPP will walk you through every step of your packaging design planning to ensure your packaging complements the product it contains.

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