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How are Cardboard Boxes Printed?


Printed cardboard boxes are made through a process of cutting and shaping cardboard sheets, followed by printing using techniques like Silk Screen, Flexo, Litho, or Digital Printing, which add customized designs (We think that Digital is best).

We all know that how you present your product can be just as important as the product itself. Understanding the different methods of printing on cardboard boxes can help you choose the right option for your brand's unique needs. Here's a closer look at the most common printing techniques, including the modern approach of digital printing, which we at Quickbox find especially efficient for various applications.


Traditional Printing Methods

Silk Screen Printing: This method is one of the oldest printing techniques still in use today. It involves creating a stencil (or screen) and using it to apply layers of ink on the printing surface. Each colour is applied using a different stencil, one at a time, to achieve the final look. Silk screen printing is most cost-effective for simple designs in large batches due to its setup costs and slower production speed.

Screen PrintingScreen Printing HD JPEG


Flexo Printing: Short for flexography, this method uses flexible photopolymer printing plates wrapped around rotating cylinders on a web press. The inked plates have a slightly raised image and rotate at high speeds to transfer the image directly onto the substrate. Flexo printing is particularly good for large orders and is commonly used for its ability to print on a wide variety of materials and surfaces.Flexo Printing Diagramflexography printing


Litho Printing: Lithography involves an image being transferred from a flat plate to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface. The technique is highly appreciated for its excellent print quality and ability to beautifully reproduce full-colour images and intricate designs. It's especially suitable for high-volume productions but comes with considerable setup costs.

Lito PrintingLithography Printing


Digital Printing: A Modern Alternative

While traditional methods have their advantages, digital printing is becoming a popular choice due to its flexibility and efficiency. This technique does not require printing plates, which means there’s no need for a lengthy setup. The image is created digitally and directly printed onto the cardboard, making it possible to adjust the design without stopping the print process. Digital printing supports a wide range of colours and gradients, allowing for high-quality prints that are comparable to photos.Digital Printing DiagramDigital Printing High Res Image


Advantages of Digital Printing:


  • Quick Setup: Digital printing eliminates the need for plates, significantly reducing preparation time and cost.
  • Flexibility: Changes to the print design can be made on the fly, which is ideal for short runs or custom orders.
  • Quality: Capable of producing sharp, high-quality images with vibrant colours.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: More affordable for small to medium runs due to lower setup costs.

Why Choose Digital Printing for Cardboard Boxes?

At Quickbox, we recommend digital printing for clients who require flexibility, fast turnaround times, and high-quality print on their packaging. It's particularly effective for businesses looking to make frequent changes to their packaging designs or those who need small batches of boxes with detailed graphics. Digital printing allows us to offer personalized and cost-effective solutions without compromising on speed or quality.


Choosing the right printing technology for your cardboard boxes depends on various factors, including order size, budget, design complexity, and the desired visual impact. Each method has its strengths, and the right one for you will align with your business objectives and production requirements. Whether you opt for the tried-and-true traditional methods or the versatility of digital printing, understanding these options will help you make informed decisions that enhance your product's appeal and reflect your brand's values.

Quickbox Manufacturing Ltd, Ben Cole 17 April 2024

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