Printing the “Impossible”
We are still surprised when a potential customer or graphic designer asks if we can print a white design on kraft board, using a basic flexographic print process and water-based inks. They typically remark, “My current supplier says that is not possible, but I see samples in your gallery?” That is when we let them know we have been printing white ink on kraft corrugated board for close to ten years.
Why are we able to print white on kraft?
Flexographic printing uses water-based inks, which makes them as eco-friendly as possible, especially compared to petroleum-based inks which some presses and digital processes require. BTW, water-based inks are also less expensive which is an important additional benefit to many. The formulation of the inks with the perfect mixture of pigment and water is also critical, and we have perfected that over time.
The other factor that can be the root cause of many issues of white (or any ink color) on kraft is the quality of the corrugated board. We make sure our board combinations provide an excellent surface for printing inside and/or outside.
We’ve been asked, “Doesn’t everybody do that?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. Some manufacturers will make the board’s top and bottom sheets lighter/thinner to save a few percent on their material cost, but we never do that because it can have an adverse effect on the board porosity. In fact, depending on the ink coverage and required number of ink colors, we may even upgrade the board grade, at no additional charge, just to make sure the print quality is not compromised. The more ink that is required, the more moisture that can potentially impact how an ink color is absorbed and how the finished box will look.
Don’t discount the value of e-commerce printing experience
In the corrugated box industry, many companies have been printing black, dark blue, or even brown ink on kraft board for decades. That printing is usually alpha-numeric information such as a part number or case count, and in most cases, the only quality requirement is the legibility of the copy.
It is far more challenging to reproduce a high-quality, well-designed logo or graphic image, especially when you are printing a light color, like white or a pastel, onto a variable darker surface like kraft board. That is the type of work we have specialized in for over fifteen years, and our results prove it on a daily basis.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us, or call us at 630-551-1700. Our experienced, trained branded packaging advisors, will be glad to discuss your specific e-commerce application.