Best Practices for Package Printing with Digital Methods

With the advancements in print technology, numerous methods have been developed for printing marketing materials. At Gold Leaf Packaging we specialize in digital printing packaging, labels, and collateral for our customers. We won’t go into too much detail on how digital printing varies from the other types (we’ll save that for another time) but, here are a few of the primary reasons people choose to digital print their packaging over other methods.


· No minimum orders

· Color accuracy and consistency

· Quicker turnaround times

· Reduced waste with no overages


If you decide this method is for you, here are our best practices on how to digital print your packaging.


State-of-the-art MGI printer lays holographic foil on packaging
Using print technology and expertise, Gold Leaf Packaging offers customers the ability to print raised foil and varnish directly on their packaging.

1) Eliminate Cracked Corners and Edges

When printing solid colors on packaging, cracking can often occur around the edges and corners. These cracks happen because the ink does not “stretch” but is forced to break when folded. Applying a soft touch coating over the ink will prevent this from happening. Implementing this not only keeps the ink together on the folds but also adds a luxurious matte feel to your packaging.


If you plan on using raised foil and varnish around a fold, create a gutter and allow your embellished design to go up to it (and immediately after), but not directly on top.



A gutter gives designs with varnish that go over a fold the capability to do so without cracking or peeling.
For continuous foil or varnish over a fold, create a gutter to give your design room to "stretch."


2) Keep Your Glue Tabs Strong

When creating the files for your design, make sure each of the tabs is white.


Note: White tabs will not affect the look of a continuous print/design, but rather ensure the tabs will adhere to the glue—keeping the integrity of the box.




Gold Leaf Packaging creates a strong pre-roll box for Dutch Valley Farms with continuous color around corners using white glue tabs and soft touch over laminate.
Gold Leaf Packaging creates a strong hold on their pre-roll boxes using white glue tabs.



3) Auto Lock Boxes are the Exception

Look at the bottom of a box. Do you see what looks like an “X?” If so, that’s an auto lock box. These boxes are designed for extra strength. However, this type of packaging adds additional waste in the finishing process—often increasing costs up to 25%. For the vast majority of products, in the cannabis and CBD industry, a traditional folding bottom will be your best option—keeping costs low, without sacrificing design or functionality.



4) Image Quality


High-quality print requires high-quality images. If you already have a design needing to be printed, your final file should be a print-ready PDF. Print-ready means crop marks and .125” of bleed all the way around.


If you don’t have a design, we can help – we have three in-house designers (read: Gold Leaf Packaging has fantastic designers that are able to help)! And, to set designers up for success, be sure to include an .ai or .eps file of your logo as well as any high-quality images you need to be incorporated.


5) Raised Foil and Varnish Embellishments

Raised foil and varnish embellishments are designed to elevate your print—taking it from standard to premium with the help of a few strategically placed accents.


Keyword: Accents


When designing for raised foil and varnish, moderation is key. Plan on placing embellishments on key areas you want your customers to focus. Too many embellishments can make a design look tacky or confuse the customer as to where they should look first.


Once you know where to place foil and varnish, use the checklist below to make sure each of these frequent problem areas has been addressed.

  • No text under 10 pt is scheduled to be foiled or varnished

  • If using foil, lines are not super fine or around tight spaces (at least 2 pts)

  • If using thin lines, use foil-over-foil to achieve greater detail, but be sure to notate that in your design or print request)

  • If embellishments are printed on the corners or edges, a gutter must be put in place.


Gold Leaf Packaging prints thin lines with raised foil and varnish to show capabilities.
Lines can be printed as raised foil and varnish to create stand-out, attention-grabbing, pieces.

If this seems like a lot, don’t worry. Our brand specialists and designers are here to help you every step of the way. As your marketing ally, we use the latest in print technology and our staff’s years of expertise to provide you with premium custom cannabis packaging.

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