Before the age of digital printing, making custom products used to take a lot of work, planning and investment. Manual technologies like screen printing and pad printing could produce good results but it wasn’t a simple process.
Producers had to create screens and pads for each colour and, understandably, changes to the designs often meant producing new screens or pads for every new iteration. As you can imagine, this placed a lot of restriction on creativity and greatly lengthened lead times – ultimately resulting in a higher cost to produce and a higher price tag for the end customer.
Since the invention of digital UV printers, producers have had a level of freedom which has opened the doors for more innovative products, quicker reactions to consumer trends, lower costs and, of course, happier customers. Now that there are virtually no limits to direct-to-object printing, here are a few ideas for ways to make money selling custom items.
If you are working mainly in the B2C sector, you’ll find endless opportunities for producing personalised items to sell directly to customers. With so many options available to sell online, you don’t even need your own website to start making a profit.
Like most UV printed products, the great thing is that the margins can be very healthy – you can buy blank items inexpensively and sell them for a substantial mark-up, whilst still offering your customers a great deal. Depending on their tastes, you can print high-definition photographs, bold graphics and text onto acrylic blocks, blank canvases of varying sizes or small items like keyrings.
With a wide range of devices available, it’s possible to start at a small scale, then invest in more capabilities as demand increases. With the help of printing jigs, you can easily expand your production and print hundreds of items in a single print run. The great thing is that once you have perfected your workflow at a small scale, it’s effortless to scale up as your business grows.
Events and Occasions
Similarly, you can print sharp details onto a wide variety of items for special occasions like birthdays and weddings. Even during challenging economic times, these anniversaries and events continue to happen, and customers continue to request them. Many print professionals have realised that this can be a reliable source of income, no matter what other challenges arise.
One of the great things about digital printing is that the process needn’t change even when trends do, so you can easily cater to the most popular designs without changing your workflow. With the use of RIP features like variable data printing, you can easily create individually printed items like place markers or name tags without creating separate designs for each one.
Interiors and Décor
Speaking of changing trends, consumer demand for custom interiors has grown, especially since working from home has become more widespread. Not only are more people looking for interior design solutions, they are also looking for them more often. This is largely due to the increase in availability and affordability, allowing homeowners to change rooms with the seasons, if they so wish.
One of the key strengths of UV printing is its compatibility with a near-limitless range of substrates. With these abilities, you can offer your customers everything from custom-designed ceramic tiles to printed table tops and beyond. As tastes differ so widely, you have the technology to cater to highly individual and even unusual requests.
Moving toward the B2B sector, there are countless opportunities to boost your revenue by selling branded items to your customers. This has been a game-changer for established print professionals who have traditionally sold sign and graphics products. Many of these business owners have invested in direct-to-object UV printers as a means to offer more services to their existing customers.
If you need inspiration for branded products to sell, the list is too long to mention here – the simple rule to follow is: if you can print on it, you can sell it. You can comfortably increase your margins selling printed pens, USB drives and notebooks, but you can extend this list to everything from water bottles, coffee flasks, keyrings and more.
Brand-conscious customers will expect that their printed logos will match the colours in their brand guidelines. With additional ink colours besides CMYK, print professionals can more accurately match brand colours and secure their customers’ confidence.
enerally speaking, product packaging is produced in large quantities featuring the same generic design on every item. But what if a producer wants to produce a limited batch or a special edition of their product? Printing these smaller batches on the same equipment can be just as costly, if not more so.
UV printing is ideal for short runs of packaging and there are several ways to use this technology. Folded card boxes can be produced with both flatbed and roll-to-roll systems and the high-quality print can make special edition products look even more special. Rigid boxes can also be directly printed using a flatbed solution, which can be a more convenient process depending on what is required.
On a similar topic, producers may wish to create special editions of their existing products. This is especially true if they offer their customers the chance to customise their purchases at an additional cost. For a relatively low printing cost, this additional service has the potential to increase margins dramatically.
It’s important to note that the products sold won’t necessarily be white or light in colour. In cases like these, it’s essential to use a UV printing solution that includes white ink with a high opacity. This is printed as a sub-coat to ensure that any coloured graphics retain their vibrancy, even on dark surfaces.
Compared to similar technologies, UV-LED printing cures the ink at very low temperatures. This is ideal for printing onto sensitive items, like electronic devices, without the risk of damaging them with excessive heat.
Signs and Posters
When the term ‘UV printing’ is mentioned, many people first assume that it’s a technology used only to customise 3D items. Print professionals are increasingly discovering the benefits of using UV printing for traditional graphics applications like signage and posters.
Besides printing durable and high-quality graphics, Gloss ink UV offers the additional capability of printing highlights and textures. This can create stunning visual effects, but it also unlocks the ability to print Braille text directly to signs.
POS and Retail
Flatbed UV printers are ideal for printing rigid boards commonly used to produce a wide range of in-store displays and other point-of-sale products. As with signage, Gloss ink can be used to great effect to create eye-catching displays and graphics.
If you can produce these products for small independent stores and brands, this is a great source of revenue. If you’re very lucky, you could even secure contracts with larger companies which can have a huge positive impact on your business.
If you commonly produce large-format print products, the chances are you are printing graphics onto an adhesive material, and then applying it to a rigid board. Even for the most experienced professionals, using the best tools, this takes time and there is a limit to how many boards can be produced in this way.
Larger flatbed UV printers are becoming more popular as an alternative board printing option. With this method, it’s a simple matter of placing a board on the bed of the printer, setting up the artwork in the RIP, and clicking ‘print’. The resulting print is also very durable, so it’s possible in certain cases to avoid the step of laminating it.
UV Printing has become so popular because of its versatility and ability to produce such an extensive range of printed products. In the above article, we have only highlighted a few, yet print professionals are innovating every day and applying this technology in new and interesting ways.
If you have lots of ideas and you’re looking for a way to bring them to life, UV printing might just have the answer. Get in touch with one of our experts who will be happy to discuss your UV printing needs.