why digital printing is an affordable choice in short run

Why Digital Label Printing is the Affordable Choice for Short Run


In recent years, designers have shifted to medium and short-run label printing, and it has become an accepted trend for all clients. The primary reason is that business owners want affordable digital printing with graphics and text that can be changed to target smaller audience groups.

Moreover, they get the flexibility to work on various labels designed for a more specific audience. Many digital print methods emerged from conventional and digital printing techniques.

Both these methods have some pros and cons for the brand and the client. Here, we will discuss why digital label printing is the affordable choice for the short run. However, you must know what the conventional and digital printing methods are.

What is Conventional Printing?

Conventional or flexo printing is when a designer creates a label that cannot be changed. It is like creating a stamp that can be used and reused, but you cannot change the text on it.

The conventional method involves the production of a design plate before the printing begins. This plate is like a stamp, on which ink is used to print the design on paper or any surface. The cost of the plate is high, and there is no flexibility in the print.

Moreover, this method of printing is better for high-volume label production because the machine time and the plate production cost are then divided over a high volume. With smaller quantities, the flexo printing method can be uneconomical.

Despite this drawback, many companies prefer flexo printing because it allows a uniqueness that digital printing does not offer. Moreover, these labels can be printed with different colors and textures.

Short to Medium Run Digital Printing

For larger orders, conventional printing might be an economical choice, but for smaller businesses, seasonal promotions, or any short-term labeling, digital printing is the way to go.

An example of this can be the change in labels during the holiday season. The festive season asks for not just color changes but maybe the addition of some graphics like Santa Claus, Rudolph, or any other holiday character. In such cases, digitally printed labels will be more economical.

Here are all the benefits of short-run digital printing:

  • Fast turnaround: When compared to flexo printing, digital printing takes less time as there is no plate production. You can create the label on your desktop and it takes less than a few hours to consolidate the final print design. The selection of inks is also quicker as flexo printing requires manual operation while digital printing will only require a few clicks.
  • Faster changes: The alteration in design is possible with digital printing. As explained, the flexo plates cannot be changed and it becomes hard to design another label that will cost a lot and will only be used for a short period. The changes to current labels are possible as you can change the graphics and the design to fit the requirements.
  • Cost: One of the biggest advantages of digital printing for short to medium runs is that it does not cost as much as flexo. Digital label printing can be done in a shorter period, and it does not involve the use of heavy printers or specialized machinery. The changes and edits to text and graphics are easy therefore, the cost of the final label is not exorbitant. For shorter quantities, this type of printing is the most economical.
  • Sustainable: Due to less use of plates, paper, and machines, the electricity consumption and waste of material in digital printing is zero. You will feel good about this method since it does not involve a lot of energy usage. Moreover, this method is sustainable due to its low cost and flexibility to make changes. You do not have to test ink or waste any amount of materials to start the machinery. All the labels can be printed in the quantity needed and this is done in a short time.
  • Seasonal campaigns become easier: The designing time for digital labels is low, and that means you can launch new labels for seasonal marketing within a day. These labels can be changed for color, and design so you can print different labels in required quantities within a short time. Seasonal campaigns require quick action, which is possible with digital printing.

Digital Printing Technology

benefits of digital printing in short run infographicBusiness owners must invest in quality digital printers to support excellent label quality. A label can be designed on a computer but they require a high-quality printer to bring out those designs on paper or any other material. The vibrant colors and crisp picture quality of the label are only attractive when business owners use the best quality printers.

Kinds of Products That Can Be Labelled With Digital Printing

Digital label printing is the perfect solution for many industries, including food, cosmetics, beverages, automotive, and pharmaceuticals. Many other small and big industries can apply digital printing to their labels.

However, the investment in printers can be a big part of the set-up cost. Digital printing gives businesses the freedom to add small fonts, minor graphics such as stamps and logos of the FDA, and laboratory testing. The nutrition charts printed on nutritional supplements and food items can be clear and legible in small fonts with this kind of printing. When using Flexo, there can be misprints or ink smudges, but digital printing does not have such issues.

Additionally, bar codes and QR codes require digital printing. The use of magnetic ink and any special kind of printing is possible digitally. In the food industry, there can be any size of containers, which means that the label has to be in a smaller size, but must have all the information that the bigger containers have. It is easy to decrease the font size, or the label can be reduced to fit the smaller containers without missing or making any text illegible.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Many business owners do not want to make the shift from flexo to digital. Moreover, they have a lot of questions about the digital printing style for short runs. You can find out more about this printing technique by seeing what experts have to say in reply to the common questions.

  • Will We Need To Hire Someone For Digital Printing?

Digital label printing requires the expertise of graphic designers. However, there are numerous software and websites that help in digital label printing. You can maximize the uniqueness and design options of labels by hiring a graphic designer who can create labels according to your needs.

  • What Kind Of Investment Is Needed For Digital Printing?

Business owners will require a high-quality digital printer to support the vibrancy and sharp picture quality of digital labels. Apart from these printers, there is no investment needed.


Digital printing is more efficient and cost-effective for short to medium runs. Businesses that have to launch seasonal campaigns or need to change their label temporarily will find this method of printing more economical and convenient.

M&R Labels is a Chicago-based printing business that can help you with high-quality product labels. Contact us now!

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