When you order custom packing tape, which terms best describe how you expect the print to look:
Fuzzy, pixelated, and dull?
Or, crisp, clean, and vivid?
The latter, of course. No one wants their custom printed tape to be a dud! Poor print quality can reflect unfavorably on your brand – and your budget.
In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know for achieving a perfect print every time you order custom tape. The secret to a standout look depends on the following five elements:
- Printing press components
- Operator and company experience
Read on to learn more about these factors for producing a high-quality print on custom shipping tape.
A sharp-looking custom printed tape starts with quality artwork. In fact, we have a saying in our business: The better the art, the better the print. That’s because the artwork is one of the most critical aspects for achieving a crisp and clean image on any tape.
So, what is the best art?
Adobe Illustrator files produce the best results because they can be scaled up or down without losing print quality. These art files are in what’s called vector format. This file format separates the design into layers, so we can easily separate multiple colors to prevent overlapping and distortion. Printing each color separately on the tape allows each one to remain vivid and true, resulting in a crisp print that you can be proud of. Similar results can be achieved with other types of artwork (such as pdf or jpeg files) but they need to be 300 dpi (dots per inch) or higher resolution.
Check out our blog article to learn more about what art files work best for custom printed tape orders.
If you’re not sure whether your art files will produce a high-quality print, contact us. With experienced art and production teams in-house, we’ll review your art files and proof carefully to eliminate any possible printing issues before we get to press.
Important Flexographic printing press components
All of our custom packing tape orders are printed on flexographic printing presses using photopolymer plates. These plates are mounted on print cylinders that are then fixed into place in the printing press. During the printing process the ink is transferred via Anilox rollers that deliver ink directly to the printing surface.
These two printing press components play a critical role in producing a perfect print on custom tape:
- Plate material
Photopolymer plate substrate is a printing press plate material best suited for most custom shipping tapes, including polypropylene and paper. This stiff material maintains its rigidity throughout a print job, helping to produce consistent, crisp, detailed printing from start to finish, no matter how many cases.
Anilox rollers are parts of a printing press that pick up and carry ink to the plate to be transferred to the custom tape. Because the roller’s ink wells can hold different ink concentrations depending on the print, it requires a high level of expertise to ensure the best print quality possible. Seasoned printers must match the rollers with the plates while determining the ideal concentration.
Combining high-performance printing presses with advanced expertise helps produce a crisp and clean print on custom shipping tape.
Another essential element for achieving a perfect print on custom tape is the quality of the inks. Because ink doesn’t absorb into tape as it does on paper, custom printed tape inks must meet the highest industry standards to ensure it sufficiently anchors, or marries, itself to the tape’s surface. Inks that successfully rest on top of the tape will produce a crisper, cleaner, and more vivid print that stays in place.
We source our inks only from premier sources, each with decades of testing and development experience to ensure the highest quality inks. While we offer 11 standard colors we also have the capability to print any custom PMS color. Browse our custom printed tape products to explore the many ink colors we offer.
Tape quality also affects the print, making the difference between a design that wows and one that disappoints. When it comes to finding the best quality tape, consider factors such as adhesive concentration, grade (thickness), and raw materials, as we discussed in-depth in a recent blog post on how to determine whether your custom printed packing tape is up to par.
Operator and company experience
Custom printed tape is a highly specialized industry. While there are some similarities to other printing methods, custom printed tape is a niche industry with many unique facets that require in-depth training, years of experience, and a dedication to excellence. As such, printing operator and company experience can also contribute to the print quality of your custom tape.
Having been in the business for 35 years, we have the skills and knowledge to ensure your custom printed tape meets – and exceeds – your quality expectations, from the proof to the finished product. In addition, many of our managers and printers have over ten years of experience on our production floor, continuously improving and mastering their craft. Everyone has a role in ensuring your print is worthy enough to represent your brand, from our printers, shift managers, production manager, art department, and sales team. As an industry leader in quality custom printed tape, we combine our vast experience with the best raw materials and flexographic printing press components to produce stunning results that enhance your brand image and budget. Reach out to get your order started.