The early days of this were promising for packaging, but the thing was, it came with compromises. These compromises included slow presses, and production required the offline die-cutting and finishing. But, as technology has come into its own, this has opened doors for unique applications and transformed what’s possible with product packaging.
The biggest advantage this has, is personalization. The capacity of the presses for creating more cost-effective short term or even specific packaging for a specific audience allows for brands to have a chance to address a range of people, for both functional and aesthetic needs.
Digital, in combination with flexor packaging, allows for numerous codes for a loyalty program. With a back-ended system that tracks loyalty code redemption, the companies can get a lot of market information, including the SKUs of those who purchased, and the regions where it happened.
In another example, serialized bar codes printed on a cheap moving boxes package have become a license plate of sorts for this. The bar code can check the products that are in and out of the kiosks located throughout a region, allowing you to keep tabs on the product that goes through production.
This kind of serialization is necessary for supply chain management, product authentication, preventing fraud, and even loyalty programs and games, allowing brands to be more transparent with the products produced while also providing information that’s valuable in marketing and development too.
On the aesthetic side, the digital offerings allow for the creation of packaging that varies with the region or seasons where the product is also solid, all in a colored, high-quality print. Digital presses offer a wide amount of options for what they can put together, and because of the lowered costs associated with this, designers now have a much better way to review the designs before making the final production ideas.
For example, Ulta created a limited-edition hand wash labels for the holidays. Because they’re printed on foil material, it’s hard to visualize what they would’ve looked like won a physical press. But, before digital, the test version of this got to become expensive. But, with digital pressing, it allows for have different versions of the label on one sheet, and you can run different scenarios before deciding on a final design, allowing for the perfect look.
This offers a level of flexibility for those packaging designers to try and put together new kind of imagery, and a variety of personalization that many shoppers want from this. Digital presses are still in early development, but it still doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. As the digital age continues to develop, the technology will make possible applications that haven’t been considered yet, offering a more exciting prospect for consumers too.