Last week, we delved into the world of Offset Printing, it’s strengths and weaknesses, and when it makes sense to go that route. There are a lot of details to consider when choosing a print method for your project. Modern advances in computer technology have opened the doors to many more options available to us now, and the possibilities literally seem endless.
Today, let’s look at Offset’s counterpart – Digital Printing…
What are the benefits of Digital Print?
- Quality option for fine image reproduction and color management.
- Quality option for detailed line art reproduction.
- Ideal for heavy ink coverage.
- Special colors are all a mix of common colors.
- Produces different levels of quality of print.
- Reasonably economical for print runs of 300 or less
- Can be printed to many different types of substrates.
How does digital print work?
The basic definition of digital printing is the reproduction of digital images onto a physical surface. This is accomplished by transferring computer data to printers that can then transfer the physical image onto the substrate by spray head method creating a continuous tone affect. The inks are commonly UV resistant so they do not fade in direct sunlight. Unlike offset printing, plates are not required in the case of digital printing. Â Digital printing has very small set up costs and is highly flexible because of this. Due to this unique feature, you can generate 1 or 2 copies or hundreds of print outs respectively for the same cost. When using digital printing there is less wastage of materials and chemicals as test runs aren’t required to check registration and color. Other benefits of this type of printing are that it provides you a lot of customization options. Since costs are based on the cost of computer time instead of prep time, you can change the colors of documents, change the font size, change locations, modify paragraph and line spacing, insert different symbols, graphics and pictures, and review the document to remove all kinds of errors during the print process. These things cannot be done easily in the case of offset printing. Furthermore, digital printing is perfect for those last minute jobs with an almost impossible deadline as it has an extremely fast turnaround.
On the downside, the cost of digital printing in high quantities is quite high due to the speed of digital printers which is considerably slower than offset. Also when used on unique substrates with unique shapes, the stock yield can be affected by the number of images you can print per sheet. Another cause of concern is the price of the ink when heavy coverage is required.