Printing Systems.

When the graphic design of the label and/or packaging of a product is made, there is a factor that should not be set aside: the printing system in which it will de reproduced for sales and distribution.

Within all functions a container with good design covers, the communication is perhaps the most important since public acceptance to try our product and future repurchase will depend largely on it.

To better understand and make the best decision on this matter, it is important to understand the basics: what is the packaging of our product and what printing systems are available.

Defining package, label, packaging and packaging

Container. It is the suitable container in which the product is retained, transported and sold. The packaging is in direct or indirect contact with the product, to protect and conserve, easy handling, transportation, storage and distribution.

Label. The piece of paper or other material that adheres to an object to identify, classify and report on the contents of the product.

Package. Refers to stamps, covers and accessories used in packaging, as auxiliaries in the protection and proper transportation of products.

Packing. The packaging, as a package, functions for containment, identification, protection, information, transport and storage. The difference is that we are talking about large volumes. Packaging, in most cases, is a container of containers.

Printing Systems


The technique is to indirectly transfer ink to paper with a rubber blanket. Based on the repulsion between water and oil, this is a printing method where a negative standing on a metal plate is sensitized to light and that is where the ink will adhere. A plate is required for each color printed.

The offset results good in printing details and photos, the printing surface is cheap and the rubber cylinder allows the use of a wide range of paper. It is appropriate for the photographic printing methods.


This method is a form of relief printing. Areas of the image that are raised are inked and transferred directly to the substrate. It is characterized by flexible plates made​of rubber or soft plastic and the use of fast drying and water-based inks. Flexographic inks are particularly suitable for printing on a variety of materials for its versatility and this method is widely used for packaging.


In this printing system, areas of the imaged are etched below the surface. All printed images are printed on a gravure dot pattern. This results in the recessed areas of copper cylinders. Ink is applied to the cylinders and it fills in the gaps. A squeegee removes ink surface with light pressure and it is transferred directly to the substrate. The production of the cylinders produce is very expensive, so the gravure is used only for long runs.


Screen printing is a printing method that works by filtering ink, which is of a similar consistency to paint, through a mesh with the substrate placed underneath, pressing with a rubber strip (standards). A type of stencil is created by a photographic process that lets the ink where the emulsion has been exposed to the light used. The ink is distributed with the standards to pass through the open image areas and succeed. It is one of the most versatile processes as it can be used to print on almost any surface including: metal, glass, paper, plastic, fabric or wood.


Choice of printing process considerations

1. The material to be printed (metal, glass, paper, cardboard or plastic) and the print quality level that is required .

2. The number of pieces to be printed or what is called throw or run.

3. The form required in the printed material in sheets or in coil (rotating machines)

4. Specific requirements, such as potential toxicity, resistance to abrasion, light intensity and lack of odor. These requests are related in most occasions to the inks that can be used.

5. The size of the design.


Every printing system has its advantages and limitations. There are standardized prepress considerations for a digital file (pre- print edition) that could be considered universal, but each system has its own.

This is why it is so important that the designer has extensive knowledge of the printing system chose for the container or label and its scope and limitations to be developed, so to make the most of it, as well as materials that can be used.

In general, the main idea is that the product achieves to capture the consumer’s attention in the confined space of the supermarket shelf and in the very short attention span that thrives the buyer to choose, choose our product as the best option to meet his or her needs. This starts with the simple, but not easy choice of a suitable graphic design and what both the client and the designer set as expectations for the final product when it is put on sale.


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