Are fully printed cans expensive?

It depends on what you consider expensive, but if you are doing smaller runs, I would recommend using digitally printed labels. It’s very common for small craft breweries right now.

What material do you recommend for a label on a can?

I would recommend a Bopp (Biaxially-Oriented Polypropylene) material, which is a plastic. You can do a white, clear or metallic Bopp material. You can use the metallic to get a shine similar to a can. White Bopp usually has a higher density of white than paper, which means colors will be brighter. Plus if you put it on wrong, you can peal it off without tearing.

Why wouldn’t you use a paper label on a can?

Cans are filled with liquids. They often spill. Sometimes they are stored in iced. Paper labels are not waterproof and thus they can be ruined. That won’t happen with the Bopp because it’s plastic

Do you put a coating on Bopp labels?

Yes, I recommend you use a lamination. You could do a gloss lamination or maybe a matte soft tough lamination. It also helps protect the label from flaking. 

Why do you recommend digitally printed labels for short runs?

With digital printing, there are no printing plate costs. This is good the first time you print a label and if you continue to make label changes. Digitally printed labels are not too expensive, but price does go down with quantity. The down-side is, the labels have less printable space than a can. You also need to have equipment that can put a label on a can.

Overall, are printed cans better?

Yes, if you have the money. Printed cans have more space for the design/ marketing info. The color is better too.

Why is the color better on printed cans?

Cans are printed with Pantone colors which are brighter than a CMYK or CMYKOV equivalent. CMYK involves putting a dot on top of a dot to get color variations. When you print on a can, you can’t put a dot on top of a dot to get color variations, it would muddy up the press. But overall the brighter Pantone ink colors are more attractive to the eye..

Can you get unlimited colors on printed cans?

A can printer usually has a limited number of stations (around 8) and thus you are limited to 8 colors. If you want a full color spectrum, then you can use a full-body shrink¬† wrap around the can. Just be aware, the colors on the shrink will be appear brighter if you use white base cans vs the standard silver cans. White base cans will likely be more expensive and harder to get. You’ll also need equipment to put the shrink wrap label on a can.