Traditionally, label and sticker printing has been done on big, mechanical flexographic printing presses. This has always been a complex and expensive process, involving outputing your artwork to film in order to create flexographic or letterpress printing plates which are then loaded on to the printing press, the inks are mixed and the machine is calibrated.
All this must take place before you can print a single label or sticker. Digital printing changes all this, it brings custom label and sticker printing into the 21st century.
There are four main advantages that digital printing has over traditional flexographic label printing:
Speed: With no plates to create and little setup of the machine, a custom label job printed on a digital printing press can be printed in minutes not hours. Many flexographic printing presses can take several hours to set up for a four colour process job, whereas Labelpress digital printing press is ready to go almost immediately. Using Labelpress’ digital printing process, it can have 4 or 5 custom label jobs out the door while the old style printing press is still being set up.
Consistant quality: If you want high resolution and vibrant colours then you need digital printing. Labelpress’ HP based VIP2020 printing press can print at 600 line screens, whereas many flexographic presses print at 133 or 150 line screens. You can really see the difference in the custom label's detail and color. If you are selling your products at the retail level, you really should consider digital label printing just for the quality of the label it produces.
Cost: because there are no plates to create, no film to output and minimal machine setup, fixed costs for the digital printer are quite low in comparison with flexographic shops.
Short runs: If you want to print a relatively small number of custom labels (say less than 2000), you will always get a better price with digital printing.
This way you can order only the products you need, rather than a huge number of custom labels just to get the perfect unit price which obviously affects your cash flow in a positive way. Additionally, custom label designs and content can change frequently.
With digital printing you simply submit new artwork and Labelpress can start printing your new custom labels, whereas in flexographic printing you would need to have new plates made every time you make a change to your label or sticker (typical plate charges can come to several hundred dollars per set for a single design, not to mention the cost of dies to cut the shape) so if you have multiple label or sticker designs the plate charges can add up quickly.