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How Digital Printing Has Changed Packaging & Labeling

April 09, 2015

Digital printing has changed everything when it comes to the printing of many different products, but it is the most noticeable in the packaging and labeling industries. Because of digital printing the packaging and label industries have been able to become much more efficient, especially over the last 10 years. Digital printing also keeps improving, and the quality now compared to even 5 years ago is much better.

Digital printing has had the biggest impact on the packaginging and labeling industries because of how affordable it has made it for short to medium runs. It is still a little on the expensive side to run the larger jobs, but it is getting there. One of the reasons it is cheaper is because it eliminates costly set up fees, which makes the smaller and medium sized runs much more efficient.


One of the main benefits of digital printing for labeling is that it is much quicker and more efficient than traditional printing. Eliminating the need for a lot of pre-press setup is one of the factors that contributes to the faster printing process. Digital printing also helps to cut down on other time wasting and quality issues, such as ink rubbing off on other sheets when too much is used, ink inconsistencies, and other issues that can slow you down.


Another one of the benefits of digital printing is that the colors will stay consistent throughout the run. With traditional printing the ink flow can change slightly which can alter how dark or light the colors may be. Both the water and the ink used will create the color changes, even though it may only be a slight difference, it is noticeable. With digital printing once you are set up the colors will stay the same throughout the run.

Cost Effective

Digital printing for labels is also more cost effective for the consumer and the shop. The lower cost is due to much less prepress work, cheaper inks, and less waste. Now that digital printing has been around for a bit, it is starting to become much cheaper to obtain the equipment and maintain the equipment. That is another big factor that contributes to the growth of printing digitally, and as the industry keeps evolving it will be even more cost effective.

The Growth of Digital

Due to the advantages of digital printing it has been much more widely accepted in the last decade. It is still becoming more refined as the years go on, and newer technologies are helping to open more people’s eyes to the benefits of making the change. In recent years there have been huge advancements made with digital printing each year, which is what keeps the growth consistent. Last year it was estimated in a report created by Smithers Pira that the digital market will grow by 225% by 2024.

The packaging industry will be one of the main areas where the growth of digital printing will be seen according to Smithers Pira. Growth will be seen in many other industries, but the packaging/label industry will be one of the main areas contributing to the digital printing growth, especially as the cost of digital printing machines is becoming more affordable. 

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