20 Oct 2016 Design Options for E-Commerce and Subscription Boxes
One of the most commonly asked questions is “what are my options”? The question is typically asked by people who are interested in enhancing the customer experience and making their boxes stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
With Volume Comes Options
It may seem unfair, but the sad fact is that the number of creative options available to you increase as the order size increases. Some of the most attractive design options are basically cost prohibitive on a cost per piece and/or in terms of preproduction costs. There are no hard and fast rules and much also depends on the graphic design, but here is the way it basically breaks down:
Low speed, low volume digital printing – We do NOT offer this type of printing but it is usually the best option for people needing under 100 boxes or even up to as many as 1,000, especially if the graphic design is more complex with many colors. It may require some art or prep charges but no print plates are necessary, making it ideal for onetime runs. Depending on quantity, it may require a one-time cutting die and that cost can vary from a few hundred to much more depending on the box size and how many impressions are being printed at one time.
Flexographic printing – This is the most popular option and we have a very low but firm 1,000 minimum. It has some limitations in terms of graphics, and each color requires a one-time investment in a print plate and possibly a cutting die. Using one of our over 120 popular stock die sizes eliminates the die cost. Compared to Digital, flexo is always going to be substantially lower in cost.
High speed digital printing – Basically the same pros (great graphics, no plates) and cons (higher cost) as low speed digital but at a reduced cost because it runs at higher speeds. Rarely is this a good option for orders under 1,000 boxes.
Laminated sheet or board – It is often called litho labeling and that tends to be misleading because it is not a label in the traditional sense. The print limitations of flexographic printing directly on corrugated are eliminated by printing on a higher quality substrate using an offset process. That means that many colors, great images, glossy finishes or just about anything is possible. The printing is typically done on an 80# paper for a top sheet lamination application or SBS board, usually 10 pt, for an Asitrade type lamination. It can get complicated, but we make it simple and affordable.
Due to board minimums, your minimum will vary from around 3,000 to as much as 8,000, depending on the size of the box being printed. The cost will be higher than standard flexo, but the graphic possibilities are unlimited. The cost of traditional flexo print plates is also avoided, which can really add up on a four or five color design.
Which Printing Process is Best for You?
Our branded packaging advisors are well trained and experienced to help you make that decision. The factors that will be considered include:
- Order quantity
- Order frequency (one time or repeating)
- Graphic design
- Cost per box limitations
- Budget for pre-production costs
By offering a complete menu of printing options, after all factors are considered, we are sure to guide you to the best solution for your specific application. Contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a confidential, no cost, and no obligation application review.