The Flexographic Printing Process in Five Easy Steps

At Salazar Packaging, we have produced millions of printed boxes for customers over the last decade, and that means we know a little something about the process. However, we understand that the majority of phone calls and emails we receive are from individuals who are new to the packaging process, don’t know how custom printed boxes are made, or what to expect along the way from placing an order to receiving the final product in their home, office, warehouse or fulfillment center.

While we are always open and willing to walk each and every customer through the process, and work to communicate and answer each question along the way, we understand that it can all be a lot to take in for someone who is making the journey for the first time. We’ve simplified the process in 5 easy-to-understand steps below, to assist with knowing exactly what happens from initial order placement, all the way through receiving finished, printed boxes!


  1. New Customer Checklist

Once a customer has decided to move forward on an order, we always send an introductory form. This information tells us where we will be shipping the final product to, so that we can have any initial conversations about the need for a liftgate or appointment, or any other special services at delivery. We are also ordering any ink samples needed at this stage, and making sure we have the correct art files (typically Adobe Illustrator files saved with outlines) necessary to begin making final print proofs.


  1. The Approval Process

For Flexographic printing, our goal is always to ensure that a design is printed exactly as a customer envisions it and to take every precaution possible to accomplish that. As such, we always create a digital print proof for review prior to production. We want the customer to be 100% satisfied with the final design before we move forward. And we always communicate any potential problems or concerns with a design prior to printing it. A physical ink sample is also provided to ensure the color we print onto the boxes matches what the customer envisions.


  1. Print Plate/Cutting Die Production

After the approval stage, it’s time to create print plates—the large stamp-like sheets which transfer the design onto the box. We typically produce print plates and cutting dies in a week or less. Print plates are needed on any flexographic printed box order, but a cutting die is only needed in cases that require a custom size. We have over 150 cutting dies already available, so a completely custom size is seldom needed for most orders. It is during this stage that we typically send a firm completion date for when an order will be complete and ready to ship.


  1. Materials and Box Production

While print plates are being made, our plant must order sheets of corrugated board to cut out the boxes. The large sheets of paper are always printed first, and cut into boxes second. This process from the time the materials are ordered, and production is complete, typically takes a week.


  1. Post Production/Shipping

Once production is complete, the boxes are stacked flat, unassembled onto pallets and wrapped tightly for transit. We then communicate with the customer to ensure they are aware of how many total boxes were produced, a variety of shipping rates and how long each freight option will take to arrive. We then send a photograph of the finished product, a tracking number for reference, and stay in communication all the way up until the point when they arrive.


In over eleven years, we’ve reached the point where the process is second nature to us, and we’re here to help you in any way that we can. One of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Call us today at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at

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