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Customization and digital printing – a congenial duo in the packaging industry

Customization and digital printing – a congenial duo in the packaging industry

Digital printing is modernizing and expanding the packaging industry. It is enormously important in order to be able to meet the new requirements of companies, retailers and consumers: On the one hand, the variety of goods continues to grow, and on the other hand, the life cycles of products are becoming shorter and shorter. For these reasons, manufacturers today and in the future will increasingly need individualized packaging. This can be achieved through and with digital printing.

A few basic facts about digital printing

Digital printing refers to printing processes in which the respective print image is transferred directly from a digital file from the computer to a printer. Unlike traditional offset printing, for example, digital printing does not require a static printing form. The time-consuming and costly intermediate step of producing such a printing forme is therefore not required. This is why digital printing is also referred to as ‘non-impact printing’ (NIP) in the sense of non-contact printing.

Incidentally, the best-known and most frequently used devices for digital printing are laser and inkjet printers.

General advantages of digital printing

– Flexibility: since no static printing form is required, short runs can be easily implemented.

– Wide range of applications: Modern equipment can be used to digitally print on a variety of materials, from paper to wood to glass.

– Short production time: Products are usually ready for printing within one or two days.

– High quality: Digital printing ensures consistently high print quality, comparable to offset printing.

– Customization and Personalization Options: Products can be customized and personalized almost indefinitely as long as a digital copy of the desired design exists.

– Cost-effective: Digital printing offers excellent value for money, especially for smaller production quantities.

Digital printing in the packaging industry

Digital printing has not only proven its worth when it comes to printing business cards, labels, brochures or posters; it has also long since established itself in the packaging industry, where it opens up truly impressive possibilities.

Individual packaging designs in small quantities

Without a doubt, one of the most interesting “doors” that digital printing opens is individualization and personalization – aspects that are becoming increasingly important for both companies and consumers – for different reasons:

– Companies need to compete and thus stand out from the competition, also in terms of packaging design

– Consumers find individualized and personalized packaging far more exciting than the relatively unspectacular “standard packaging” without that certain something.

Digital printing holds enormous potential for companies, especially in terms of customer loyalty, which is so elementary. With this printing process, it is no problem at all to produce individual packaging for special promotions or seasonal events.

If small or medium runs are to be printed in different formats, digital printing is the obvious choice. Thanks to the significantly lower setup costs, digital printing achieves tremendous price advantages compared to other printing methods. Accordingly, digital printing is simply more economical.

With these advantages, it’s no surprise that digitally produced, customized folding cartons are currently one of the most important packaging trends. With special company branding and other personalized motifs, the unique folding cartons can be used excellently for marketing purposes.

Print on Demand (PoD) reinforces the digital printing trend

The demand for short runs is also growing for another reason: given the ever-present risk in our fast-moving times of being stuck with a costly number of products in a worst-case scenario, no brand owner or manufacturer today wants to keep large stocks on hand.

This is why ‘Print on Demand’ (PoD) is becoming increasingly popular. Just-in-time deliveries, which just about cover the acute demand, are now often simply the most economical concept. PoD would simply not be possible without digital printing.

Starting the early phase of the product life cycle in a realistic way

And once again, the subject of short runs: brand owners want to work with realistic models at an early stage of the product life cycle. In concrete terms, this means that they have a very small number of units produced for marketing tests and release processes. Only when the product is launched do they order larger quantities. These are conveniences that can only come about because of the existence of digital printing.

Digital printing for the digitization of analog packaging

Consumers are becoming increasingly hungry for information as well as more dependent on their smartphones and the online world. These facts also influence the demands on companies and retailers. Shopping must become a comprehensive, emotionally and rationally satisfying experience – right through to receiving and opening the package.

Manufacturers now even have the option of using digital printing to design packaging that contains digital data codes. Via an app on an Internet-enabled smartphone or tablet, these digital watermarks can communicate with consumers and provide them with further information about the product in question. The watermarks are inserted into the print image invisibly to the human eye and do not impair the latter.


As you can see, digital printing in general and also in the packaging industry has almost limitless potential. In view of the numerous advantages that digital printing brings in the packaging context, common sense alone tells you that this proven printing process, which is far from being exhausted, will conquer the market more and more. Studies confirm the unstoppable development.

About Berndt+Partner Creality
As a global agency for brand and packaging design and innovation for food, non-food and OTC products in the fast moving consumer goods sector, we present the latest trends, news and insights from the packaging industry. Our interdisciplinary team with an experience of more than 1,000 projects in over 20 years keeps you up to date.
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