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Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Commercial Printing: Digitally Textured Label Printing

I just read an article on PackagingDigest.com about textured inks used for package printing. I thought about the times I had picked up books at thrift stores and had been initially attracted not to their content but to the feel of the cover (or more specifically the texture of the coating). I’m especially fond of artfully printed and bound, dull film laminated books. I like the matte feel.

So when I read the article on PackagingDigest.com entitled “Tactile Labels Use Textured Inks to Put Consumers in Direct Touch with Packaging” (by Rick Lingle in Labels, 10/03/16), I was pleased to see that other people also considered the texture of packaging to be a powerful selling point.

Adding Texture Digitally

According to Lingle’s article, “Consumers don’t just use their eyes when making purchasing decisions—they use the sense of touch as well. Research has shown that a brand’s impact increases by 30% when more than one sense is engaged in the packaging design.”

I found this both enlightening and also exciting, since I know that custom labels/packaging is one of the fastest growing sectors of the commercial printing industry.

“Tactile Labels Use Textured Inks to Put Consumers in Direct Touch with Packaging” then goes on to describe a roll-to-roll digital label press manufactured by Domino called the N610i digital UV inkjet label press. Lingle notes that “Textures by Domino,” a unique inkjet capability of the Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press, allows label printers to produce visually striking, digitally textured labels that enhance shelf presence and make brand owners’ products stand out from the crowd.”

Lingle then goes on to suggest that such a press is particularly well suited to labels for wine and beer, as well as cosmetics and other beauty items because textured labels provide “high visual and ‘feel appeal’ that also help to maximize customer engagement.”

This is powerful stuff. The most relevant part is the assertion (and supporting research) that targeting multiple senses with marketing materials (including custom labels and other packaging) will increase sales.

Lingle’s article notes that “The textured-printed labels not only capture consumer attention, but more importantly encourage them to take the product off the shelf.” Why? Because it feels good in the buyer’s hands.

Moreover, this process is economical. Because the Domino press is printing textured inks onto labels, printers don’t need to stock expensive, textured press sheets.

For instance, as Lingle says, you could create a grainy-feeling label for a beer bottle that suggests the earthy qualities of the product, or you could simulate expensive textured papers digitally when producing high-end wine labels, thus appealing to a premium market.

Some Benefits of the Process

Here are my thoughts on some of the benefits provided by the “Textures by Domino” process on the Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press:

  1. First of all, labels and packaging are serious growth engines for the commercial printing industry at the present moment. So the manufacturer’s commitment to textural enhancements that drive sales is noteworthy. It underlines the fact that custom labels are effective sales tools and are therefore highly in demand.
  2. Anything that can be simulated digitally (like the digital foiling of Scodix or digital die cutting) can avoid costly and time consuming metal die making. In addition, marketers are finding short, targeted print runs to be quite effective, particularly if they allow for personalization. For short to medium runs, this approach can be very cost effective. It can also get a product to market more quickly, because you don’t have to wait for the dies to be made. In the realm of custom labels, if texture sells and if texture can be digitally simulated, the equipment that can do this task will be in great demand.
  3. The Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press uses UV inks, by its very design. Although the article does not tout this benefit (except to say that you can print on synthetics), UV curing can allow for inkjet printing on a variety of non-porous substrates (like clear plastic labels, for instance). Furthermore, since the process uses UV light to cure the inks, no drying time is needed. UV ink drying (or curing) is instantaneous, so all subsequent finishing steps can occur without delay.
  4. For beauty product packaging this can be particularly useful and economical. Instead of using foil stamping to add various textures to the base substrate (playing one texture off another), the Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press can simulate the textures right on the labels (and, as noted above, without the time or expense of die making).
  5. Since the process is digital, the Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press can immediately change from creating one textured surface for a set of labels to creating an entirely different textured effect for another set of labels—presumably ad infinitum.

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