If you need a quality print job at a reasonable price, then it’s hard to go past digital printing, especially if you have a small print run and need the job done quickly.
What is digital printing?
Commercial digital printers can be likened to super high speed laser printers that offer cost-effective printing with minimal set-up time. Digital printing has only been around since the early 1990’s, but it has had a major impact on the printing industry. While off-set techniques have been around since the 19th century, digital printing has continued to undergo innovation as it strives to meet the needs of today’s businesses.
When you consider the advantages of digital printing, it’s easy to understand why more businesses are choosing digital printing as a major part of their marketing strategy.
How does it work?
In digital printing, an image is sent directly to the printer using digital files. Suitable formats are PDFs and files from graphics software, such as Illustrator and InDesign. With these files your digital printing service can print out your content into whatever format you desire. Popular choices for digital printing are:
- Presentation folders
- Business cards
- With compliments slips
- Newsletters and
Cost effective and fast
The biggest advantage that digital printing has over traditional off-set printing is that it doesn’t need expensive plates to be made up. Setting up the plates for off-set printing takes time and money. The set up for digital printing involves preparing the file for the printer, which many businesses would do in-house anyway.
Digital printing is ideal for small print runs because you won’t have to pay for plates to be made up, and the machine run time is greatly reduced as well. As a general rule, anything between 100-500 copies digital printing will always be the most cost-effective option.
Digital printing allows you to customise your print run to suit your audience, because without the need for plates, digital printing can allow for variable data. Texts, graphics and images can be changed from one print to another. You can personalise mailings to suit an individual or a selected target audience. You can also address your customers individually on a digitally printed letter, or produce a range of brochures with images, language and copy to suit different target markets.
The printing method you choose should be decided early in the design process, because the behaviour of colours and inks can vary depending on the printing method you choose. Use a Pantone Bridge for accurate colour selection, and consider your paper stock. Pantones can also be used in digital printing, however they will be converted to the most accurate representation.
In off-set printing some paper stock will absorb ink, but there is no ink absorption in digital printing.
Digital or off-set?
Consider off-set printing when you’re doing large print runs of high quality prints. Books, magazines, newspapers and brochures are just a few common applications of offset printing.
However, for many business applications high quality digital printing is now the preferred technique. We live in a need-it-now culture, but we want everything personalised. The value of our printed matter is not in how long it lasts, but how dynamic and relevant it is to us today. Digital printing allows you to customise your printed matter for your target market, and it can be produced in a day.
Cost-effective printing and quick turnaround times means that you don’t have to keep expensive brochures in storage. You can print them on demand, adjusting them as needed, keeping your business relevant to the ever-changing demands of today’s consumers.