No two print and packaging services are ever alike, so here is what you’ll need to look into and consider before going for any of the services below.
– Point-of-sale and packaging
– Digital printing
– Lithographic printing
– Silk-screen printing
– Laminating and mounting
– Die cutting
– Hand finishing and fulfilment
For point-of-sale and packaging, you’re not just looking for something that looks fantastic but something that’s going to be able to withstand the knocks and bumps to which any store display can find itself subjected, no matter how carefully it’s positioned.
So whether your requirements are for just a few in-store displays or packaging for production that runs into the millions, you’ll need two-dimensional and three-dimensional samples to check and sign off.
For digital printing, you need to take into account where the finished product will be displayed, whether that’s indoors or outside, and how long it will be displayed for. This enables the printer to advise you on the most appropriate material on which to print, whether it’s thin film to cling on to windows or outdoor banners.
For lithographic printing (printing based on the principle that oil and water don’t mix), you’ll need to discuss the size and thickness of the material to be printed. Once that has been established, and the machine set up, litho printing offers you an extremely fast turnaround.
Silk-screen printing is more versatile in that whereas digital and lithographic printing are primarily for flat two-dimensional surfaces, it’s possible to screen print on to irregular surfaces such as corrugated plastic and rigid plastic.
Laminating and mounting can be required for a variety of reasons: special plastic sheets can be laminated over printed images to enable them to be written upon with markers for custom bulletin boards. It’s also possible to create several layers of lamination for various effects – even holographic images.
Die cutting is an essential requirement for packaging and point-of-sale displays. Rather than cutting by hand, which would be very time-consuming, risky and above all costly, dies are set into either a flatbed or rotary base. Flatbed die cutting is more suitable for thicker materials, and because it’s simpler to set up, it keeps costs down.
Hand finishing and fulfilment are, of course, the final stages in printing and packaging services. Three-dimensional printed items need to be folded, cut, glued and – if practicable – constructed before they leave the print shop. Whether those items are assembled or transported ready to be made up on-site, they still have to reach that site in immaculate condition.
Fulfilment, therefore, makes sure those items are stored until they’re needed and then distributed by the most suitable method to make sure they arrive on schedule.
Even though some companies prefer to outsource various aspects of their print and packaging services, if at all possible it’s best to use a company that keeps every stage of the production process under the same roof – for one thing, there’s no need to absorb any extra transportation costs.