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What you should know about digital label printing

Posted in CS Labels News by Alison Wileman on 10:59 May 29th, 2013
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What you should know about digital label printing

An essential guide for packaging designers, graphic designers and marketing professionals

Simon Smith, CS Labels Ltd

Digital has been around for many years now and the many advantages over traditional flexographic and gravure printing are growing and changing every year. The driving forces of technology and skills means that marketers and designers could be missing a trick if they don’t explore options when it comes to digital print.

The basics and what you probably know already....

Yes, yes, yes, digital is cheaper for shorter runs, has no set up charges or plates, offers a faster turnaround, higher quality and lots of flexibility. BUT there is much more to it than that. If cost reduction of your labelling bill is your aim, then you’re probably not in the right place. However if you are looking at getting your marketing messaging completely transformed by digital, then read on...

The Real Marketing Benefits

As a marketer or packaging designer, you know how important your visual brand is when it comes to connecting with the consumer and encouraging loyalty over your competitors. Your product needs to really stand out, and more importantly, have a long lasting effect. Packaging is a crucial motivator in the last 10 seconds before deciding to buy. In today’s’ market, using digital print to make you the winner of that ten seconds, and then forge engagement to make customers come back for more is now a true possibility.

Individualism rules

Coca cola famously used digital print to energise its customers in Israel as far back as 2011. They ran a competition to design a Sprite sleeve and 20,000 cans were digitally printed with 400 different designs. The campaign website was visited by half of the country’s population. In Australia the ‘Share a Coke’ program where names or birth years were printed individually on a can, was said to be a contributor to a 4% increase in sales. It is being replicated in 20 markets around the world this year, including Brazil, the UK and China. If you choose the right provider, both of these concepts are entirely possible using digital labelling technology, and cost-wise the anticipated benefits are usually paid in full.

Scan me quick, keep me loyal

Digitals’ ability to offer an easy method of variable data printing gives you the flexibility to connect to customers in a completely different way. For example using the common QR bar codes or AR augmented reality barcodes you can effectively personalise individual products or a batch of products to retain customer interest by leading them to a social media page, app, competition, coupon and many more. If you individually personalise this, an easy process using digital, you can even track existing clients’ progress and success if you combine this with a leading edge CRM system or email solution such as Mailchimp.

Protect Your Brand

Brand protection is forever in the news and covers many areas, and packaging wise, digital quality can be used as a weapon against anti-counterfeting of your product as it offers security microprinting . You can take this one step further by making each label unique, which is even more flexible. Using an individual QR or AR barcode for example on pharmaceuticals could mean that you can individually scan an item in on your smart phone which takes you through to a website showing you that pack of drugs, including an image of what the drugs should look like and where they were sold. You could even go one step further showing who it was dispensed to and when.

Big, Small, Digital can do it all

A growing use for digital print is in the artisan food and drink sector. The ability to offer many variations of products with the added advantage of high quality graphics means that overprinting each flavour in black is a thing of the past. Mill Whites Cider saw their sales rocket when the label one of their bottles of cider was redesigned for the digital press with the help of CS Labels. A dark image on the bottle was lost in the chiller cabinet in comparison to their competitors. The label was redesigned; graphics were enhanced within the label area, colours were lifted so that they could be seen from a distance, and the whole image was sharpened for the 1200 dpi crisp clear resolution that a digital press does so well. Customers looking for that special drink couldn’t fail to see the brand from distance, meaning Mill Whites won hands down.

How much are you holding on to?

Another major advantage for marketers is the ability to plan campaigns at much shorter notice. For example many of our clients previously held label stock in a warehouse somewhere, gathering dust and not much else. Campaigns get changed, cut off early or even cancelled and due to the planning involved labels can even be wasted. How much of your money is tied up in labels left on the shelf or wasted? Wouldn’t it be much nicer knowing you could have your labels in the same week, or in some cases, overnight? All possible with digital, and at the quality you would expect!

A coat of many colours

Technology now means that digital is a close competitor of litho and flexo when it comes to colour management. At CS labels we use Xeikon colour control and were the first in the UK to adopt it. Our team use the technology to optimise each print job to match to the CMYK or Pantone, meaning digital can very accurately replicate chosen brand colours. An important element in this process is ensuring your artwork is optimised for the digital presses, which can be a new learning curve especially if you are used to designing for flexo and litho. Not to worry, as we also offer free training and advice for designers so they can up-skill their knowledge when it comes to artwork creation to make the most of digital. And we check each job individually in our studio as part of our quality control processes and ensure we communicate with you to get the results you want.

To conclude...

The only barrier to getting the most out of digital label printing is your imagination. Embracing digital print with the help of a good labelling provider is a sure fire way to enhance brand awareness and generate real financial benefits...

For more information please contact:

CS Labels, Unit D Bay 2, Willenhall Trading Estate, Midacre, Willenhall, WV13 2JW, Tel: 01902 365840, Fax: 01902 365841 http://www.cslabels.co.uk/