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7 Pillars for security; commercial printing

Commercial printing 7 Pillars for security; commercial printing


by Danny Mertens

Brand protection: Why is it so important?

Did you know? Global counterfeiting rates are picking up at an alarmingly fast pace, costing us millions of dollars in revenue per year. As brand counterfeits are produced and then circulated, not only is world trade crippled, a sinister health and safety threat looms ominously prevalent. Legitimate businesses miss out on economic opportunity and real consumers feel the sting. Revenue is lost, time is taken up and replacement costs pile up. Over 200,000 jobs are also estimated to be lost worldwide.

So how can we address the global dilemma that is counterfeiting? Advancements in technology and developments in the digital printing world now allow brand owners to arm themselves with an impressive armory of ‘protection’. This protection, particularly when it comes to packaging and labels, helps to identify, combat and eventually eliminate brand counterfeiting.

Counterfeiting and its prevention

The world is becoming more technologically savvy by the day… and it is these technological advancements that are both a win but also, a potential danger. This is due to technology becoming more affordable, enabling the latest and greatest in digital print tech more accessible to those with ill intentions… allowing them to churn out cheap replicas of existing products. In order to put up a strong front against these criminal practices, all brand stakeholders have significant roles to play. Brand owners, designers and printers must collaborate, joining forces from the very initial steps of production all the way through to the printing process, with printers offering a range of security inks to seal these efforts.

How to tackle the problem

There is no one alpha weapon proven most effective against counterfeiting. In fact, an entire range of multiple strategies need to be implemented. The approach? Counterfeit detection technologies combined with anti-tamper technologies, like sequential coding or numbering. With Xeikon’s digital printing solutions, all of this is now relatively simple to achieve.

Let us take a look at some effective security techniques and understand how digital printing makes these possible.

Variable printing:

Digital presses allow variable data printing, namely serialized data and sequential numbering. Adding personalized information on labels and packaging not only creates additional appeal to the end user, it is also an effective weapon in the battle against counterfeiting. Scattered dots and cryptoglyphs are another technique for this, with intricately varied images and illustrations.

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How to tackle counterfeiting

Advancements in technology and developments in the digital printing world now allow brand owners to arm themselves with an impressive armory of ‘protection’.


Invisible to the naked eye, microtext is very tiny and virtually impossible to copy. It can be integrated into the illustrative elements of the packaging without impacting the overall look and feel of the designer’s efforts.


Unique drawing designs in highly irregular and complex patterns that are impossible to replicate/copy, Guilloches are intricately interwoven patterns of fine lines often found on banknotes.

UV reflective toner

Clear toner allows for added invisible text, codes or shapes that can only be read when placed under a UV light source or a black light.

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Raised images and illustrations 

A tactile effect, created by layering toners, creates a distinct difference in relief which is particularly useful when it comes to authenticating documentation.

Custom colors 

Custom (brand) colours can be employed to easily identify criminal replication. Certain brand owners like to use proprietary spot colors, impossible to reproduce with CMYK toners or inks.

Track and trace 

In order to track products throughout the supply chain, they can be equipped with track & trace capabilities (usually a high-security variable printed code onto documents or packaging).

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Interested in variable printing solutions within label printing?