Posted on January 17, 2019 by Dennis Salazar

Add Color to Your E-Commerce and Subscription Boxes for the WOW factor

Salazar Packaging, red on white reverse printFAQs about flood coated and near full coverage flexographic printing for E-commerce and subscription boxes.

One of the most popular and easiest ways to enhance your customers’ unboxing experience is by printing it with a lot of ink to add color and achieve that increasingly elusive WOW factor. Water based, flexographic inks can be printed in full coverage (edge to edge flood coat) or a near full coverage in a reverse printed type of design. Reverse printing is usually one color over brown or white board creating reverse printed white text that makes the design look like a two-color design with only one print plate. See the Swell bottle interior photo.

The result is an eye catching, dramatic design that if done properly, adds minimal cost to the box and graphic design.

Here are a few most frequently asked questions by customers:

What is a flood coat print?

Essentially it is edge to edge printing with one solid color. The advantage is this type of printing does not require a print plate. If it is a solid color with NO copy, we use a stock matt plate that provides that coverage with zero plate cost

blue ink on white board, reverse printed interiorDoes a flood coat or near full ink coverage design add cost?

The fact is that water-based inks are relatively inexpensive so whether we use a little or a lot of ink on your box, it has minimal impact on the cost. Just like whether we print only the outside, or we print both inside and outside, the ink cost is not really a factor. The greatest cost, especially on a short run (1,000 MOQ) is set up time before the run, and wash down time, after the job is complete.

Does the amount of ink used impact the cost of flexographic print plates? 

That answer is a definite yes. Flexo plate cost is determined by the size of the box, the amount of printed area (copy), and the number of colors in and/or out. However, as we often advise customers, don’t let the one-time cost of print plates discourage you from creating the box you really want. Note the difference in the onetime plate cost is likely less than $200 depending on the size of the box.

Why can’t I get vegetable-based inks for my flood coat design?

Veggie-inks were all the rage ten years ago with the perception that they were better for the environment. The problem was they did not print direct to corrugated board very well and they cost more. Time has shown that today’s water-based inks are every bit as eco-friendly and much more economical, with better results printing onto corrugated board. With today’s water reclamation and purification systems used by our production plants, the water is used and reused to minimize water usage and waste.

Why do you recommend a flood coat design be printed on white, rather than lower cost Kraft (brown) board?

If you look at any brown box, you will see color variations resulting from the natural material used to create that box. If you compare one order to another, the color difference may be even greater. When you print on Kraft, those same board color variations become even more apparent through the ink color used. White board is better quality board and provides a better, more consistent printing surface. So even black, blue or dark brown inks look smoother and more even.

What if I want a near full coverage color design but I don’t want white or brown to be one of the colors?

That gets a little more complex because printing one ink color over another ink can create a third color where they overlap. Some designs we can tweak and accomplish the goal. (see first related post below) Or if modifying the design is not a good option, we may have to create it using offset printing on a litho label or utilizing a digital print process. Both options are substantially more expensive compared to flexographic printing and typically have higher minimums, so we must evaluate all the factors to determine the best print process for you.

Visit our gallery at  to see examples of all these print options and more. Keep in mind we can also do some very creative combinations such as flexo in, digital out, labels out, flexo in or just about any possible combination. These are determined by your graphic design and order quantity.

If you want to discuss these options, call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email. One of our branded packaging advisors will respond quickly to help you review your specific design and challenge.


Related posts: