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Bottle Silkscreen Printing vs Bottle Label Printing

Silkscreen printing on glass jar

What is Bottle Silkscreen Printing?

Bottle screen printing is done by applying an ink via a screen, directly onto the packaging. There is no label at all. The printer applies a mesh pattern to the label and then pumps ink through the mesh openings to produce the label image.

The good :

  • Minimal and aesthetic. Typically, bottles that are screen printed only have one or two colors.
    It’s durable. Bottle screen printing is durable against scuffing, weather, UV light and water. It also has chemical resistant properties.
  • You can use opaque colors. When printing white silkscreen on clear containers, it stands out more than standard white inks used on labels because flexo inks are less opaque due to their low viscosity.
  • You can add special textures. This is known as high build silkscreen but then are purposely raised to a level where the characters can be felt or distinguished.

The bad :

  • It can be more expensive if you’re getting a short run or mid-sized order with multiple skus. It can also be costly if you’re getting more than three colors printed.
  • It requires a lot more inventory space. In order for it to be cost-effective, you must typically have a minimum order quantity of at least 2,500 – 5000 bottles/SKU. Because this method is printed directly onto the packaging and most retailers want their manufacturers to hold finished goods for each item, you may need to have a lot of space if you have multiple skus.  This can easily take up a lot of room in a warehouse, depending on your container size.
  • Pricey mistake. You’ll lose more if a bottle gets thrown away due to a mistake, rather than just a label.

Check out the silkscreen printing and label printing service

Sticker printing on glass jar

What is Bottle Label Printing?

These are clear printed flexo labels are designed to blend with the container finish and stick right on the bottle so they give the same seamless blend effect into the bottle/container.

The good :

  • Very similar to the pricer option of silkscreen effect. The “no label” look is simulated with the clear bottle label on a clear container. Only a printer or graphic designer would know the difference, if the correct material and finish are selected, your average consumer would not tend to notice.
  • Minimal to none tooling fee. Label dies tend to be more readily available in thousands of sizes, eliminating the tooling fee. If a tool is needed, the cost is generally significantly less than silkscreen dies.
  • Less waste. If a label is misapplied or has a mistake, it gets thrown away and the bottle gets relabeled. Unlike the silkscreen printing that goes directly on top of the container, you don’t need to throw away your entire product packaging.
  • More colors to choose from. That’s because registration is better, so you can produce the labels in CMYK (photo image) printing.
  • You can print multiple skus a lot easier. If you have multiple skus, you’ll save money getting clear labels because the changeover costs are significantly less and if printed digitally, the additional SKU cost is minimal.

The bad :

  • Not as durable. If your product will endure excessive exposures to chemical irritation, sanitation through a washing unit or long-term outdoor UV light, clear labels won’t be able withstand the test of time without fading or damages.
  • You’ll have to go through two separate processes. First, you’ll need to have your labels printed. Then, you need to apply them to your packaging. This additional step may result in another setup costs or transportation costs from one facility to another.
  • The label’s coverage might not be as big and customisable as you’d like. If you have a specially shaped container, such as a tapered bottle or tube, your label size may need to be limited, reducing the graphic area.

Check out the silkscreen printing and label printing service

When trying to decide whether to use bottle screen printing or clear bottle labels, it is important to consider the following criteria before deciding on the choice for your products.

  1. How many skus do you have?
  2. What shape is your product packaging?
  3. How many colors do you need to have on your label?
  4. Where will your product be used?

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