Prototyping is a fancy word that brings to mind scientists tinkering in a lab over their newest robotic creation. In fact, prototypes are incredibly useful to customers in many industries, as they serve as a low-cost way to test the feasibility of a product before ever sending it to the marketplace. Newly developed 3D printer technology has revolutionized manufacturing prototyping as engineers can now design and build an actual part or product saving them time and money.
In product packaging, prototypes are used by Brand Managers, Product Managers, and Packaging Engineers to determine the effectiveness of the look and ‘feel’ of a new label or package concept, and in the world of label printing, there’s a lot to keep in mind. What type of materials could be used? How readable is the text using selected font sizes, font types and also consideration for multiple language options? Are the critical corporate brand colors to remain accurate on different materials? How does the label product itself look up close and from a distance on the shelf, and how does it feel? And most importantly, is it going to make my product jump off the shelf, or do we need to go back to the drawing board?
The best way to answer those questions is to print multiple test samples of the product label at hand. And the only known way to provide those insightful answers is to print mocked up labels on your office laser printer to simulate the look you want. But the color is not always going to match the actual press print, and typically you cannot print on the actual material. Or, you can try to print these samples on an offset or flexo press. But these methods can be expensive, and they come with many graphic design constraints. You waste a lot of materials for startup and make ready with time to make each plate, register all the print stations and then balance the correct amount of ink, for just a short-run — and typically only on one material. The end result may get you what you want, but only after a huge money investment. You can continue to prototype through a traditional printer, but it’s certainly not always simple.
But take heart, there’s a different way to do it, and that’s through the power of digital printing. This method allows graphic designers to be free from trapping issues, have confidence in utilizing reverse text without having a color ‘hanging’ and with no plates needed it dramatically decrease turnaround times. This allows us to produce only the quantity you need to test market in selected regions, change designs, text, and language all within the same print run at no additional cost incurred. You can then introduce and be first to market with a new product before your competitor knows you’re there. And digital printing also produces consistent color results, each time, every time. So what you see as a prototype will be exactly what you get as the finished product with no guesswork involved.
With an increasingly crowded, competitive private label industry, prototyping makes sense for the savvy manufacturer. There’s no need to make a big investment in a label order without ever looking over a sample, and a sample that exactly matches your final product will give you peace of mind as you go through the ordering process. When you use a digital printing company for your product labels, you’ll get exactly that, without spending excessively on setup and artwork fees. And prototyping is not a one-time service – it is standard that is then matched throughout the workflow process every time, for every order, as necessary. You might not be introducing a laser-shooting robot to the world, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.
If you would like more information about prototype/sample printing of your product labels, please call us at 414-352-0759 or visit us at www.vibrantgfx.com . We’d be happy to demonstrate this technology to you at no cost.