Skip to main content

The Evolution of Packaging: How Digital Printing is Transforming the Industry

By February 9, 2024June 9th, 2024No Comments
Digital Printing image

Digital print packaging technology has long been a staple in various industries, serving as a vital tool for product protection during transportation and the creation of labels for E-commerce enterprises. However, in today’s business environment, its role has transcended mere product safeguarding. Digital printing packaging now stands as a cornerstone in many businesses’ branding and marketing endeavours. With continuous technological advancements, the industry is undergoing a profound transformation, emphasizing the creation of distinctive, eco-friendly packaging solutions to meet the demands of environmentally conscious consumers. In this article, we delve into the evolution of the packaging sector, exploring its current trends and future prospects.

Historical Content 

In 1990, digital printing was introduced as an experimental system in research labs and academic institutions. With the emergence of desktop publishing, personal computer companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Xerox, began commercializing laser printers as a digital print technology. By the early 1990s, it had already started gaining traction in numerous fields, such as advertising, packaging, and textiles. These printers were capable of developing colour graphics directly from the computer file. Beyond their innovative potential, such digital printers were hampered by slow processing speeds, and the print quality often fell short compared to traditional methods like offset printing. Before exploring the advancements of digital printing, here are some of the notable conventional print technologies you should be familiar with:

  1. Woodcuts: Woodcuts are a traditional print technology that originated in Asia in the 8th century and in Europe in the early 15th century. They are a relief printing technique in which the non-image areas are carved away from a wood block, leaving the image areas raised.
  2. Lithography: Lithography is a planographic printmaking technique that creates a design onto a flat stone or metal plate. In this technique, the image areas attract ink, and the non-image areas repel ink. Lithography can produce a wide range of intricate details and subtle tonal variations, making it a preferred choice among artists for creating high-quality prints.
  3. Letterpress Printing: Originating in the mid-15th century, letterpress printing involves pressing inked movable type onto paper to create text and images. This method was widely used for centuries and played a crucial role in the dissemination of knowledge through printed materials such as books, newspapers, and pamphlets.
  4. Offset Printing: Developed in the early 20th century, offset printing revolutionized commercial printing with its high-quality, cost-effective results. In this method, ink is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket before being applied to the printing surface. Offset printing remains a staple in the printing industry for its versatility and efficiency in producing large volumes of printed materials.
  5. Gravure Printing: Gravure printing, also known as intaglio printing, involves etching an image onto a metal plate, typically copper, which is then inked and pressed onto paper. This technique is well-suited for high-volume printing of newspapers, magazines, and packaging due to its ability to produce sharp, consistent images with excellent color reproduction.

Current Trends 

In recent years, the printing industry has undergone significant changes and has emerged as a powerful alternative to traditional print media. With the integration of modern, innovative technology, the digital printing sector has transformed how printery businesses operate. Traditional printing technology has encountered many limitations, including high setup costs and time, inflexibility for customizations, and longer production times. On the other hand, advanced digital printing technology aims to address these challenges by providing cost-effective solutions and streamlined processes with a shorter turnaround time than traditional methods. The following are examples of advanced print technologies allowing businesses to cater to a wide array of audiences:

1. Variable Data Printing (VDP): This technology enables customization of printed materials by incorporating unique data elements such as names, addresses, or images tailored to individual recipients. VDP facilitates personalized marketing campaigns, enhancing engagement and response rates.

  1. Print-on-Demand (POD): With POD, businesses can produce printed materials in small quantities as needed, eliminating the need for large print runs and excess inventory. This on-demand approach reduces waste and storage costs while enabling greater flexibility and responsiveness to market demands.
  2. Web-to-Print (W2P) Solutions: W2P platforms allow customers to submit print orders online, streamlining the ordering process and reducing administrative overhead. These solutions offer convenience and accessibility, empowering businesses to manage print projects and collaborate with clients remotely efficiently.
  3. Digital Packaging Printing: The digital printing revolution extends to packaging, enabling brands to create vibrant, eye-catching packaging designs with shorter lead times and lower production costs. Digital packaging printing offers versatility in design, allowing for rapid prototyping and customization to meet evolving consumer preferences.
  4. Eco-Friendly Printing Practices: As sustainability becomes increasingly important, digital printing technologies are advancing eco-friendly practices in the industry. Water-based inks, energy-efficient equipment, and recyclable substrates are among the innovations driving sustainability efforts, reducing environmental impact while maintaining print quality.


Today, digital print technology has become vital for many businesses’ overall branding and marketing strategies. Traditional printing methods, including woodcuts and lithography, once experimental technologies in research labs, suffered from slow processing speeds and often subpar quality. However, modern-era printing technology aims to address these limitations, providing businesses with cost-effective solutions and streamlined processes with a shorter turnaround time than traditional methods. 

Atlantic Packaging is at the forefront of this evolution. With its innovative, sustainable digital printing solutions, Atlantic Packaging is not just adapting to the industry’s evolution; it is actively shaping the future of eco-friendly and personalized packaging. By choosing Atlantic Packaging, businesses can leverage the latest digital print technology to enhance their brand presence, meet eco-conscious consumer demands, and stay ahead in today’s competitive market. Contact Atlantic Packaging today to discover how our digital printing solutions can make your brand stand out!