The Printing Classifications For Custom Carton Packaging – 2021 Guide


Printing the packaging is known to be an extensive discussion, and choosing the suitable printing type can be extremely challenging and confusing. This is major because people aren’t aware of the printing processes, and they don’t have any know-how of the pros and cons of specific printing techniques. Understanding the printing classifications is important because it can also impact the quote you get from the packaging suppliers.

In addition, you can only have access to too many printing options that they can use. However, the printing technology decisions cannot be limited by the options available at the packaging supplies. Similarly, there are different types of cartons in terms of flatness and rigidity, and printing options and there are various types of printing technologies, based on the materials. In this article, we are sharing the most suitable printing technologies for a carton if you want to design the wecustomboxes!

Offset Printing


The offset printing is also known as lithography, and it’s a great option for bulk printing (it’s the modern-day need, right?). With this technology, the packaging manufacturers will use the printing for continuing lithography and these plates are plated with ink and are pressed on the carton sheets for printing. However, some advanced machines also have rollers that are integrated with the image’s negative. The negative is made by pressing T-ultraviolet emulsion light.

When it comes down to suitability, it is suitable for printing the labels as well as folding cartons. It is a perfect opportunity for people who want their cartons to have retail-standard printing. For the most part, it’s suitable for food packaging, electronic product packaging, and cosmetic boxes. This is because it has a high-quality printing facility, and it can manage with unique printing designs (it can handle four colors at once). However, most packaging manufacturers use only one to two colors.

Lithography printing or offset printing also allows the application of special coating which delivers an amped-up appearance. The best thing about this printing technique is that it can deliver high-gloss as well as soft matte looks. In addition, it is famous for offering smooth and even color gradients without making the banding too noticeable. On the other hand, the tools used for lithography can be pretty expensive, and it’s only economical if you have to print bulk cartons.

Offset printing is known to deliver a higher perceived value to the boxes, according to the unique needs of the brands and businesses. When it comes down to the downsides, lithography printing needs long lead times and the material has to be flat.

Flexography Printing


For the most part, flexography printing is a common solution for stand-up pouches without compromising on the printing quality. It is a suitable option for corrugated boxes, which eventually makes it suitable for cartons. For the most part, its technology is quite similar to lithography printing but it uses light-sensitive polymer for proper printing. In addition, it includes the 3D relief that’s installed on the roller for printing the images and other graphics.

With flexography printing, the printing costs will be reduced because the tools are pretty low-cost and reasonably priced. The turnaround time for flexography printing is extremely quick and it can work with various types of inks. For the most part, oil-based and water-based inks are used for printing the boxes with this technique. On the other hand, we do want to mention that printing quality is a bit low-quality and it might even show banding (the color gradients won’t be completely even and smooth).

Flexography printing often struggles to work with four ink colors, so it’s only possible for minimal printing jobs. In addition, it might have issues reproducing the photo quality graphics properly. All these factors ensure its suitability for corrugated boxes, cartons, and stand up pouches.

Inkjet Printing


Inkjet printing is a popular printing technique and the majority of people know it as digital printing. It is a great option for people who need to print a limited number of cartons. Inkjet printing is a great option for printing films, labels, corrugated boxes, and paper cartons. The best thing about inkjet printing is that it works with folding boxes. Moreover, inkjet printing makes a great option for printing prototypes or packaging samples.

As far as accessibility is concerned, there are multiple companies offering digital printings and it’s pretty economical as well because there are no tool costs associated. In addition, there is no need for prior setups. To illustrate, you can take the illustration or design with you, and the packaging manufacturer will design it right away. Before you make up your mind to implement this printing technique, there might be a minimum order limit.

As for the turnaround times, it’s pretty quick and the configuration will be correct. If you are concerned about the outcomes, the printing quality will be top-notch. On the other hand, inkjet printing isn’t a suitable choice for printing large volumes of boxes and might even need color calibration. Moreover, it cannot work with metallic inks. The only prominent issue with this printing technology is that there is no hardly any coating protection, which means the prints might be scuff.



To begin with, rotogravure is a suitable printing technology for folding cartons and standup pouches. The technique is all about using the engraved cylinder to transfer ink to the prime surfaces. It is drowned in ink to ensure proper printing and the engraving feature promises zero scuffings. Truth be told, it’s not a very common option but is widely used for commercial packages. It has the ability to provide high-quality prints along with the calibrated colors.

Rotogravure comes with the four-color process and has the ability to add PMS colors. The best thing about this printing technique is that it offers long-lasting prints. As far as the tools are concerned, they are needed which makes it a suitable printing technique for bulk printing. However, the tools are pretty complicated, so it has the chance of increasing the lead times. In case you are concerned about the printing quality, it will be premium and the quality won’t deteriorate.