If you’re looking to make a statement with your packaging by printing eye-catching designs on corrugated boxes, you’re definitely on the right track! It’s always a great idea to have your packaging stand out amongst the boring void of plain cardboard boxes (and it’s even better if you use higher quality materials like the corrugated that you can get with BoxGenie). 

But how can you achieve this with printing? As it turns out, there are several different options for printing onto corrugated boxes. Stay tuned to learn more about each different method and how to choose the right one for you:

1. Flexographic Printing

The first option for printing on corrugated boxes is flexographic printing. This type of printing is one of the most common when it comes to corrugated boxes due to its versatility and efficiency in terms of turnaround time. But what is flexographic printing, and how does it work? 

Basically, it’s like using a high-quality polymer print plate on corrugated. Plates are developed with different designs for each specific color. These plates are then attached to large rotating cylinders that print the designs, one after another—eventually building the complete design. 

While it does have its uses, this type of printing isn’t recommended for highly intricate designs or photo-quality printing as each different color would require a separate plate to be created. 

However, this method may work for you if you have more simple designs that only feature a few different colors and a high volume of materials that would warrant the creation of these plates for flexographic printing. 

2. Lithographic Printing

The second option for printing on corrugated boxes is lithographic printing. This type of printing may also be referred to as offset printing or litho-lamination. Overall, it follows a process similar to that of flexographic printing but with a few key differences. 

As in flexographic printing, lithographic printing involves breaking a design down into different plates—each for a different color from the design. However, flexographic printing also involves a special plate that essentially repels ink from certain areas meant to be left blank. This process ensures that the final product will have clean, crisp lines rather than random blotches of ink that may have transferred over from other plates along the way.

In most cases, lithographic printing is done on litho labels rather than printed directly onto the corrugated board. These labels are then glued to the surface of the corrugated sheet. It’s also possible to utilize lithographic printing on a smaller label alongside flexographic printing. 

That said, lithographic printing is going to come at a higher cost. Like flexographic printing, you’re going to have to pay for the plates to be made, so if your design changes or you aren’t producing in extremely high volume, this may not be the best choice. 

3. Digital Printing

The third and final option for printing on corrugated boxes is digital printing. When it comes to printing on corrugated, this option is affordable, effective, and works for almost everyone’s needs. 

At the same time, there are some real advantages to using digital printing. Unlike flexographic and lithographic printing methods, digital printing doesn’t require expensive and rigid plates. This makes digital printing ideal for short-run or tester packaging since it’s fast, easy to set up, and still maintains a quality look. That said, because it’s so inexpensive, it’s worthwhile for large scale or long-term projects, as well. 

Additionally, one of the best things about digital printing is that you aren’t limited when it comes to what colors you want to use. Because you’re not relying on those expensive plates that can only print one color at a time, digital printing gives you access to essentially every color without adding any extra time or expense. 

With digital printing, you can also experiment with designs and personalize your boxes for packaging to suit specific customers, which can only help you in the long run. You have so much flexibility when it comes to this style of printing that you can really try out different styles and designs without worrying about wasting a lot of time or resources. 

Best of all, digital printing can really increase how fast you can get your products out there in the market, which is absolutely essential for success. You don’t have to worry about getting expensive customized plates or worry that your drafted design isn’t perfect—you can get straight to creating your packaging. 

Digital printing will be an interesting area to watch in the coming years. It’s already at least on the same level as lithographic printing, if not better. When it comes to the method that companies should choose for their printing needs, digital printing is absolutely the way to go.  

Printing Methods For Corrugated Boxes

Now that we’ve gone over the different printing processes, it’s time to talk about printing methods. We’ve already touched on this a little bit, but we are going to break it down separately so that you can get a full and complete understanding of the entire process from start to finish. There are two different ways of printing on corrugated boxes: direct printing and pre-printing. 

Direct printing involves printing directly onto the corrugated box itself. As mentioned previously, this is usually done with flexographic printing or digital printing rather than with lithographic printing. 

Pre-printing involves printing the design onto a separate paper first before attaching that paper to the corrugated sheet, rather than printing directly onto the corrugated itself. It can then be converted into a carton. This option affords you the ability to print in bright colors, with intricate designs, and use many colors. When you pre-print, you can either print on linerboard, laminated paperboard, or litho labels. 

Which Option Is Best?

With all this information, you’re probably wondering which printing option is best for you. While it does depend on your needs, digital printing performs the best across the board! Moreover, we also give you tips for the design of your subscription boxes. Each option offers its own set of pros and cons that you will need to weigh based on your needs and limitations. That said, here’s a quick rundown on some specific circumstances when you may want to choose one kind of printing over another:

  • If you have limited time and need a quick turnaround, you may want to try out digital printing. With digital printing, you don’t need to create a plate for your project before you can begin printing—you can just upload your images and print away! 
  • Along the same lines, if you have lower volumes of something that needs to be printed, then digital printing is once again the best option. This is because you won’t have to spend money on an expensive plate that you won’t be able to use again. 
  • An extremely simple design with a few colors that you need in mass quantities might benefit from the use of flexographic printing. However, this option isn’t going to be ideal for when it comes to converting a sale or winning over customers
  • If you have an intricate design that requires photo-quality printing along with high volumes, then lithography might be for you. However, with the image quality comes an extremely high cost, so bear in mind whether or not it’s worth it when digital is nearly the same when it comes to quality. 

How To Achieve The Perfect Packaging?

The printing method for your packaging on corrugated boxes is just one piece of the puzzle. In addition to printing, you have to think about the boxes themselves, the design, the size, how they will be cut, how thick they are going to be, and more. This is a lot of information for a small business owner who’s likely no expert in packaging. 

Thankfully, there are experts out there at companies like BoxGenie who will be able to assist you in finding the best packaging products and solutions for every aspect of your business. When you have questions, they have answers! It’s really a no-brainer for any business owner who wants to focus on other things like product development, marketing, and scaling, rather than packaging. 

So before you get all overwhelmed by the ins and outs of corrugated boxes, printing methods, die-cutting, and all that fun stuff, contact BoxGenie to revolutionize the way your business handles packaging. 

The Rundown

As you can see, there are quite a few different options available for printing on corrugated boxes—each one with its own set of pros and cons. If you require assistance weighing these out from experts who know boxes and packaging better than anything—you should definitely contact BoxGenie. That way, you can rest assured that you’re making a solid investment in the right materials that will best promote your brand



  1. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-product-packaging-marketing-648.html
  2. https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/6-ways-to-convince-customers-to-buy.html
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/01/11/7-creative-ways-to-promote-brand-engagement/

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