It’s no secret that adding unique images or distinctive lettering to your packaging and corrugated boxes can instantly draw the eye and create a lasting impression. But the process of getting those designs onto your boxes can be a little less clear. Using printing plates is one method for producing high-quality images at a reasonable unit cost. Here are the finer points of how printing plates work and why they might be a good choice for your needs.
Printmaking has been an art form for centuries. It is suitable for most box types, shapes and dimensions, including die cut cardboard printing. Printing plates for corrugated boxes work in much the same way that a rubber stamp or an engraved wooden block produces images on paper. A corrugated printing plate picks up ink when it makes contact with the substrate. The ink is then transferred onto the new surface and creates a reproduction of the plate’s raised image. This process is called flexographic printing.
Each image that you want to add to your box requires a separate plate, and each color also requires an individual plate. Since creating custom images can be a complex process involving multiple plates, many printing companies will only accept orders for large quantities.
Custom images can play a large part in helping you grow your brand recognition, so the investment is often justified when looking at the ROI. Consistent branding can increase revenue by as much as 23%, and branding images that incorporate color can lead to 80% improved brand recognition.
A corrugated printing plate is typically made of rubber or flexible plastic, and its surface contains a raised image that picks up a thin layer of ink. Printing plates can also be made of metal, a more expensive option. Materials used for commercial printing plates may include:
In addition to the composition of the printing plate, the technology used in the printing process is also important. Some printing plates rely on computer-to-plate (CTP) technology, which can map out a design directly onto the plate with the accuracy of a computer.
A printing die is a thin steel-tipped blade that can be used in the printing process to create a pattern. Shapes formed by a printing die can be as simple or complex as needed. They work in a similar way to a cookie-cutter. Die cut printing tools can be used to add details or definition to the products created using printing plates.
Along with the printing plate technique, the digital printing and lithographic lamination methods are some other options for adding images or lettering to your corrugated boxes.
Litho printing is typically a four-color process that uses printing plates to transfer a design to a separate sheet, which is then laminated to your box. Instead of rubber or flexible plastic, these printing plates are made of a thin metal or plastic. The result has clear, vivid colors and is either glossy or matte depending on your preference. Digitally printed boxes also have the same clarity and photo-like finish, but instead of plates, the process involves applying ink directly to the substrate one line at a time.
Though both litho printing and digital printing have their merits, using printing plates for corrugated boxes has several distinct advantages:
At Custom Boxes Now, we can help you establish your brand by providing custom printed boxes for shipping and packaging. Depending on your specific design and needs, we offer digital printing, litho laminating and flexographic print to plate using corrugated printing plates. When you partner with us, you receive:
If you’re in the market to get branded boxes for your product or shipping, corrugated printing plates can be just the solution you’ve been looking for. If you want to learn more about which printing process is right for your needs, Custom Boxes Now is your one-stop solution for anything box or printing related. Our packaging experts know the business and industry inside and out, and we’re here to help you!
Ready to learn more about how printing plates can take your branding to the next level? Reach out to Custom Boxes Now today to learn more about the process and your options to use printing plates to create memorable packaging that sells.