Thermal printing is the most popular method of printing carton and shipping labels. More durable and cost-effective than toner-based laser printing, thermal printing has steadily gained popularity since its invention in 1972.
There are two distinct type of thermal printing:
direct thermal and thermal transfer..
Thermal transfer printing transfers ink from a plastic carrier ribbon to the label material. This is a tested printing method that can be extremely versatile by using various label and material/ink combinations.
Direct thermal labels contain a special coating that changes colour when heated by the thermal printer. In previous years, direct thermal was shied away because of its subpar quality when compared to thermal transfer. However, in the last decade, direct thermal materials have made significant advancements that put its print quality on par with thermal transfer in many cases.