Digital Label Printing vs Conventional Printing: Which is Right for Your Business?

Digital label printing

Label printing is a vital part of branding and marketing for businesses. Without labels – how would your customers know anything about your product or brand? 

Choosing a label supplier can be a make-or-break decision for your brand. It is the difference between creating a great impression on your audience vs disappointing them.  

But where do you start when choosing a supplier? And do you go with a conventional or digital printer? 

A brief history of Labels 

Labels have a broad history, starting with hand-written paper labels in the 1800s for medicine. Even as far back as the 19th Century, businesses were looking for ways to differentiate their product with colour print and engraving. 

The first self-adhesive labels were invented in the 1930’s by a familiar name in the business – R. Stanton Avery. 

Over the years, there have been several advancements in printing technology. Digital label printing has emerged as a popular alternative to conventional printing methods such as lithographic and flexographic printing. 

In this blog, we will compare digital label printing to conventional printing methods and help you determine which is right for your business. 

Conventional Printing Methods 

Lithographic Printing 

Lithographic printing, also known as offset printing, is a traditional printing method that has been around for over a century.  

The process involves creating a metal plate with the image to be printed, which is then transferred onto a rubber blanket and then onto the printing surface. 

Pros of Lithographic Printing include: 

  • High-quality printing with sharp and clean images 
  • Suitable for large print runs 
  • Can print on a variety of materials 

Cons of Lithographic Printing include: 

  • Long turnaround times 
  • High costs for short runs 
  • Limited customisation options 
  • Tooling costs due to plates 

Flexographic Printing 

Flexographic printing is another traditional printing method that is commonly used for label printing.  

The process involves creating a flexible relief plate with the image to be printed, which is then transferred onto the printing surface. 

Pros of Flexographic Printing include: 

  • Suitable for printing on a variety of materials 
  • Faster turnaround times compared to lithographic printing 
  • Can handle large print runs 

Cons of Flexographic Printing include: 

  • Limited customisation options 
  • High costs for short runs 
  • Lower quality printing compared to lithographic printing 

Digital Label Printing 

Digital label printing is a modern printing method that involves printing the image directly onto the label surface using digital technology. 

Digital label printing

This digital method of label printing offers a range of benefits that make it an attractive option for businesses. 

The Benefits of Digital Label Printing

Some benefits of Digital Label Printing include: 

  • Faster turnaround times 
  • Lower costs for short runs  
  • Customisation options that are not available with conventional printing methods 
  • High-quality printing that is comparable to conventional printing methods 

Fast lead times 

One of the most significant advantages is faster turnaround times, which means you can get your labels printed and delivered in a shorter amount of time.  

At Springfield Solutions, our turnaround time is 5-days from receiving your approved artwork. However – we have completed urgent label orders for customers in less than 24-hours.  

Cost-effective label solution 

Additionally, digitally printed labels are more cost-effective.  

This is because digital label printing does not need any plates creating, so there is no need for high MOQs! In fact, we offer zero MOQs to our customers. Providing an incredibly agile label solution. 

Custom labels 

Customisation options are another significant advantage of digital label printing.  

Digital Label Printing

With digital printing, you can print reels of labels with unique designs, colours, and even variable data such as barcodes, serial numbers and personalisation.  

This level of customisation is not possible with conventional printing methods. 

A high-quality label solution 

Finally, digital label printing offers high-quality printing that is comparable to conventional printing methods.  

It is long thought of that digital print cannot match the quality of conventional printing. However, this is no longer true.  

Continuous innovation means that digital printers can print at high resolutions, producing sharp and clear images that are perfect for branding and marketing. 

Drawbacks of Digital Print 

Digitally printed labels have both pros and cons.  

One potential drawback if you are switching from conventional to digital print or just switching label suppliers may be colour. Colour output with CMYK printing can differ from printer to printer and run to run. 

However, the solution to this is colour management and test prints to ensure the consistency of your packaging when switching label printers.  

To conclude, digital print offers several benefits that make it a great choice for your business.  

While conventional printing methods such as lithographic and flexographic printing have their advantages, digital label printing offers faster turnaround times, lower costs for short runs, customisation options, and high-quality printing that is comparable to conventional printing methods. 

As a digital label printer, we understand the importance of choosing the right printing method for your business needs. 

If you’re looking for a reliable and cost-effective way to print labels for your business, digital label printing is the way to go. At Springfield, we offer high-quality digital label printing services that are perfect for businesses of all sizes.  

Read some of our successful case studies providing digital solutions to common pain points here. 

To receive a sample pack of our digital labels tailored to your market, click the button below! 

Would you like to claim your FREE digital label sample pack?
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