Digital vs. Flexo: Which Product Label Method Is Better?

Digital vs. Flexo: Which Product Label Method Is Better?

If you want to grow your business, then marketing is extremely important. With custom labels, you can ensure your product stands out and it's an effective way to market your business. 

Labels include your business name, company logo, and other specific details. Remember that a label helps create lasting impressions on your customers. If your product is available in retail stores, then labels are a must-have. 

But here's a crucial aspect. 

There are different label printing technologies and methods used in the industry. But the two major ones are custom and flexo label printing. These are extremely helpful for making your custom labels eye-catching. 

However, choosing the most suitable technology for your business can be extremely difficult. 

Is digital printing the best?

Or maybe you should opt for flexo printing?

In this article, we'll thoroughly discuss it, and you'll get a clear idea about which technology is ideal for your business. 

So let's get started. 

What Is Digital Label Printing?

Digital label printing is a modern printing method that utilizes digital technology to create high-quality labels. 

It is a plate-free printing technology. So the good thing is that you don't need to spend much time on setup. 

Since there are no expenses for setup and plates, then costs become lower. It's a suitable choice for small and even midsized labeling orders. However, the duration of printing labels is high because of slow production. 

Key Features Of Digital Label Printing

Now that you know what digital label printing is, let's look at some key features you should keep in mind. 

  • Variable Data Printing (VDP): Digital printing allows for personalized and variable data. Thus enabling customization of each printed piece with unique information, such as names, codes, or images.
  • High-Quality Output: It provides sharp and detailed prints with consistent high resolution. Thus making it suitable for complex graphics, images, and intricate designs.
  • Color Consistency: It ensures accurate and consistent color reproduction. It is reliable for maintaining brand standards and meeting specific color requirements.

Example Of Digital Printing Labels 

Let's suppose you're organizing a small event. It can be a product launch, an expo, or a small wedding gathering. You can make it memorable by giving guests a personalized gift with unique labels. 

Digital printing is suitable for this scenario because it's not only high-quality but also offers advanced customization. Even for a small quantity, it's relatively cost-effective. 

You can add dates, names, and high-quality pictures to each label. This personalized touch can make your labels even more magical. 

What Is Flexographic Label Printing?

Flexographic label printing is a traditional method commonly used to produce labels and packaging materials. It is typically made of rubber or photopolymer mounted on a rotating cylinder. 

It is a bit time-consuming because, with every change in graphics, you will need more new plates. However, when it comes to speed, Flexo is relatively quick, so it can produce large orders cost-effectively. 

Key Features Of Flexographic Label Printing

Here are some key features of flexographic label printing that will make the decision of choosing the right labeling technology much easier for you. 

  • Ink Transfer System: The ink is transferred from an ink fountain to an anilox roller. It controls the amount of ink applied to the printing plate. This system ensures consistent and controlled ink application.
  • Printing on Uneven Surfaces: Flexo printing can print on uneven or non-porous surfaces. Thus making it suitable for various packaging materials and label applications.
  • Suitability for Long Runs: While setup costs can be relatively higher, flexographic printing becomes cost-effective for long production runs due to its efficiency and speed.

Example of Flexographic Printing Labels

Imagine you're running a food truck company and producing popular snacks on a national scale. The packaging should be consistent in colors to maintain a proper brand identity. 

Flexographic printing excels in this situation due to its high-speed capabilities and cost-effectiveness for large quantities.

This technology can easily handle the repetitive printing of labels, ensuring that your product labels look identical. If you're opting for mass production of labels, then flexographic printing labels are suitable where the focus is on efficiency and cost savings.

Digital Vs. Flexo Differences 

Knowing the basic differences between digital printers and flexographic label printers is extremely important. So here are some common differences between each that you must keep in mind. 


Digital Printing 

Flexo Printing 

Printing Technology

Utilizes digital technology and electronic files.

Uses flexible relief plates mounted on rotating cylinders.

Setup Costs 

Low setup costs, suitable for short runs.

Higher setup costs, more economical for long production runs.


Ideal for variable data printing and customization.

Limited customization, standardization in longer runs.


Moderate speed, suitable for shorter production runs.

High-speed production, efficient for long runs.

Print Volume

Ideal for short to medium runs. 

Efficient for high-volume production. 

Color Consistency 

Consistent color reproduction.

Consistent color, but may require adjustments.


Diverse applications, suitable for on-demand printing.

Commonly used for large-volume label and packaging production.

5 Key Differences To Help You Choose Between Flexo Or Digital

Now, let's look at some of the primary differences between these. It'll help you make the right choice for your business. So let's discuss this in detail. 

What Is The Quality And Volume?

Digital printing is ideal for short runs and variable data. Do you know why?

Because of its ability to print without needing to add or remove any plates, you can use digital printing if your order is small. 

Flexo printing is ideal for large quantities. It's cost-effective, and initial setup costs are distributed across a higher volume. 

Is Print Quality Good?

In digital printing, you can produce high-resolution pictures and intricate details. If you want to splash it with vibrant colors, digital printing will do the job. 

It's particularly advantageous for photo-quality prints and complex designs.

Meanwhile, flexo printing offers good printing quality. However, there are some limitations with fine details. If compared, then digital printing is a more suitable choice for designs. 

What's The Price Range?

Budget is extremely important for your business. So printing labels cost should be considered. 

Since there are no plate costs involved, the price is not high in digital printing. However, unit costs can be higher.

In flexo printing for larger quantities, initial setup costs are spread out. That's why lower unit costs over high-volume runs.

What's The Turnaround Time?

The turnaround time in digital printing is quick. 

But what's the reason behind it?

It's because there's no expensive setup required. So, if you have a time-sensitive project, then digital printing is the best choice for your needs. 

Meanwhile, flexo printing labels involve longer setup times. If your design is intricate, then time increases. But becomes more efficient for larger batches where setup time is proportionally less significant.

How Durable Is It?  

Digital printing offers durability. However, there are some limitations when it comes to material and finishing. If you add UV-resistant coatings, then it can improve the life of the product label. 

Flexo printing is used mostly for its durability, even when exposed to harsh conditions and challenging environments. 

Digital Or Flexo: Maximize Your Label Impact 

Most people think that choosing digital or flexo will not make any difference. So what do they do?

They choose a labeling technology without doing any research. It's not a good practice and can lead to many issues later. That's why you should properly analyze and then come to a conclusion. Here are some advantages of using digital printing labels for your business. 

  • Offers excellent print quality and resolution.
  • Well-suited for shorter print runs and fast production.
  • Enables personalized content on each label.

Here are some of the reasons why people prefer flexo printing labels. 

  • Provides consistent results across large print runs.
  • Can print on various materials, including flexible packaging.
  • Economical for high-volume label production.

Ending Thoughts 

Remember that every business is unique and has different needs. You should consider the needs of your business, goals, and visions and then decide which aligns with them. 

That's the ideal way to choose between Digital or flexo. Now that you know which factors to consider before choosing these, it'll be much easier for you. 

However, what should you do if you still have queries?

Are there any experts who can provide you with valuable advice?


At Altro Labels, we have a team of experts who'll first analyze your business needs and then provide a suitable packaging solution for your audience.

Ready to bring your product labels to life?

Contact us today.