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When you are choosing or designing packaging for your products, you have many decisions to make. For instance, what material will your packaging be made of? What color will it be? Will it have handles?

One of the foremost considerations when designing packaging is what kind of printing your packaging will have on it. Five main categories of printing typically are available. These are:

  • Lithography, also called “litho”
  • Flexography, which industry insiders refer to as “flexo”
  • Digital, though some call it “ink jet”
  • Rotogravure, which may be shortened to “gravure”
  • Silkscreen, which is sometimes simply called “screen.”

Each type of printing has its own advantages and disadvantages, but you also may have another decision to make. That is, you’ll need to consider whether or not to use reverse printing.

What Is Reverse Printing?

When packaging and printing professionals talk about reverse printing, they typically are referring to a technique in which the printing ink is placed on an inner substrate of the packaging. Frequently used with packaging for snacks, juices, cookies, ketchup, and other food products, reverse printing makes it possible to use lots of colors on packaging without having to be concerned about the ink running or getting onto other surfaces.

For instance, a bag of potato chips that was produced with the reverse printing process can safely be handled by the consumer without having to worry about any ink transferring from the bag to the user’s hands. Likewise, this ink is less likely to be affected by weather and climate conditions because it is sandwiched between the clear or colored substrates of the packaging itself.

Why Choose Reverse Printing for Packaging?

Perhaps the primary and most obvious reason for choosing reverse printing is that it improves the consumer’s experience. They can enjoy your product without worrying about the ink on the packaging making a mess of their hands.

Another clear advantage to reverse printing is that if your products are exposed to extreme heat or cold or even damp conditions at some point during the transportation process, the ink will remain intact. Accordingly, your product makes it into the consumer’s hands with a clearly legible label.

It’s also worth noting that the reverse printing process ensures that when your products are transported in boxes, no mess will be left behind. This is a huge advantage to workers in retail stores who are responsible for stocking shelves. They just might re-stock your products first because they know your use of reverse printing means no unsightly mess.

How Does Reverse Printing Work?

Sometimes called engraved or indulged printing, reverse printing involves engraving the ink inside the packaging material. This not only keeps hands clean and safe from exposure to potentially toxic chemicals but also makes the packaging more durable. In fact, most people also feel that reverse printing makes packaging look more attractive.

Because the colors are engraved on the inside of the packaging material, the surface of the package itself feels incredibly smooth. No lines or ridges can be felt, and many consumers prefer a perfectly smooth surface on packaging.

Even though the surface of reverse printed packaging is smooth, it still looks very upscale and expensive, making your products look exclusive. If you want to convey a feeling of luxury with your products, then reverse printing may be the way to go.

Comparing Reverse Printing with Traditional Printing

When packaging is printed in the reverse manner, the graphic, text, or logo is produced by having the ink create the outline of the design. This means that the underlying color of the paper, plastic, or other packaging material is used to form the actual image or text.

Traditional printing is the opposite of this. The image, text, or graphic itself is created with ink. Any paper or other material that surrounds the printed image does not receive an application of ink.

How to Make Reverse Printing Even Better

One of the hardest parts of making a brand successful is differentiating your products from those of your competition. You can do this in various ways such as:

  • Choosing a distinctive brand name
  • Using a catchy slogan
  • Selecting a color scheme that is completely different from anyone else’s
  • Designing graphics that are particularly eye-catching
  • Choosing upgraded packaging material
  • Giving your packaging a unique shape

All of these elements can work together to make your products stand out on a crowded shelf of competing items.

Did you know that using reverse printing on your packaging is one more way that you can make your goods stand out from everyone else’s?

With reverse printing, bolder is always better. This printing technique does not lend itself well to tiny, delicate, or intricate lines and designs. Avoid narrow, thin areas, and choose bolder lines instead.

This is because reverse printing fills in the background rather than the image itself. If the image is too small and delicate, then the ink may have a tendency to run together, blurring out those tiny details.

Accordingly, your professional packaging designer may recommend against reverse printing if your packaging needs to include a block of fine text. The end result, when done in reverse printing, may not have sufficient contrast, making it difficult or impossible to read. You want your customers to have that critical information, so traditional printing may be a better option.

However, if you want to use bold lines and strokes on your packaging design, then feel free to let your imagination run wild with reverse printing. At Mid-Atlantic Packaging, we help brands just like yours develop bold new packaging designs every day. Contact our design team today to find out how they can help your new product stand out from the crowd.

When Is Packaging More Than Just Packaging?

When a brand is still new and has not even brought their products to market yet, it’s natural for the creative team to be solely focused on the product. They want to make it the best that it can be to ensure the venture’s chances for success.

Too often, the packaging that will contain the products is not given enough consideration. In fact, many new entrepreneurs are shocked when they discover just how complicated packaging is. Most of them never dreamed that there were so many components to consider.

The same can be said even for more experienced business people. Perhaps you work for an established brand that is bringing a new product to the market. How much time and research have been put into the product?

Compare that with the time and research that were put into the packaging for the product.

Chances are that most of the time and research went into the product, but what happens if that product is exposed to excessive heat, cold, light, or damp? Is the product able to withstand the knocks and drops that are inevitable parts of the transportation and storage processes?

Additionally, has thought been put into the message that your packaging conveys? What kind of text, graphics, or logos will speak to the consumer and make certain that your products cannot be confused for your competitor’s?

The packaging for your products deserves nearly as much attention as the product itself. Sometimes, it is the small things, like knowing about reverse printing and how it can improve your packaging, that make all the difference.

If it is critical that your customer’s hands do not get stained while they enjoy your product or if you are concerned about ensuring that your packaging really looks a cut above the rest, then it’s a good idea to consider reverse printing.

Ask Mid-Atlantic Packaging About Reverse Printing

Are you responsible for designing packaging for a new product? If you are not certain where to start, then talk to the design team at Mid-Atlantic Packaging. Our experienced designers have been helping brands just like yours find new and innovative ways to craft packaging for many years.

Thanks to the expert guidance that you will receive from our design crew, you will be able to perfect the packaging for any product, no matter how large or small. Whether your items are delicate or rugged, heavy or light, the packaging decisions your team makes can make or break your product launch.

Let Mid-Atlantic Packaging be a part of your success. With our knowledgeable packaging design team, you can create boxes, bags, or other packaging that expresses your company’s philosophy while also protecting the valuable products inside.