Digital vs Flexographic labels

When considering your choice of printing method, make sure you thoroughly research a number of different factors before making your decision. It’s generally accepted that flexographic labels are meant for larger businesses who want cost-effective printing on a mass scale, and digital labels perhaps for the smaller businesses that are looking for design over mass production on a smaller scale.

The ultimate decider for many people will be the cost. Labels produced by flexographic printing will only be cost-effective if you are printing in excess of 50,000, the more you print, the cheaper the cost per item. In flexographic printing, you will need to consider the cost of the plates along with the relevant equipment and assembly. Alternatively, if you are looking to do a shorter print run, then digital printing will be much better suited for this purpose. Digital printing involves a lower initial cost but will only be the cheaper option for runs printing less than 50,000 labels.  

You might also want to consider the length of time it will take for the different methods of printing to carry out the amount of work you require. If an item is needed relatively quickly, then there may not be enough time to wait for plates to be created in order to use flexography, ink tanks will need filling along with the assembly of both the ink roll and plates. As digital printing doesn’t have such a lengthy initial process, if only a few thousand prints are needed and fast, with a simple click of a button, your job can be underway.  

These printing methods have very different ways of using inks. Digital printing relies primarily on the use of three different coloured toners, which will enable the printer to recreate the coloured design directly onto the substrate. The only downside to using the digital method to create a colourful look, is that it runs the risk of the hues affecting certain substrates. Flexography, however, benefits from a fantastic variety of colours making it the best option for any product that is looking to have a multi-coloured label. Most of their inks dry instantly and is therefore ideal for many surfaces. 

When it comes down to substrates, flexography is the most diverse in this area. It can print onto both porous and non-porous surfaces making it the clear winner. For any items with a continuous design, such as wrapping paper, digital printing will be unable to carry out a continuous run to produce such items.