Over the last few years the printing landscape has changed with the rise and rise of digital printing, which is gradually replacing some of the traditional market of litho, offset printers.
With some of the early quality issues with digital printing reducing over time, digital printing is a viable printing method which can be tactically selected for certain print jobs. In this article we explore the world of digital printing.
What is digital printing?
Digital printing involves taking a digital image and printing it to a variety of printers (e.g. high volume laser or inkjet printers). Digital image files could be designed using software such as Adobe PDF, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign as examples. Digital printing has a higher cost per page when compared to traditional printing methods but avoids set-up costs such as printing plates. This means that the overall cost can be lower for smaller batches produced from digital sources.
Digital printing enables printing on demand, very fast turnaround times and the insertion of variable data per print (which is ideal for personalised direct marketing). As digital printing technology progresses an increasing amount of printing becomes digital as it will continue to become more cost-effective.
Benefits of digital printing
Here are some of the benefits of a digital printing approach when compared to a traditional printing approach:
- Cost effective – For appropriate print jobs digital printing can be very cost effective
- Excellent print quality – The quality of digital printing is excellent. It would take a trained eye to notice the difference between the same item printed traditionally versus the same item printed digitally
- Green friendly – There are less materials used (e.g. printing plates, oil based inks and less chemicals involved in the printing process
- Modifications more easy – As the image is digital it can be “tweaked” until the desired result is achieved
- Rapid turnaround times – Digital printing can be delivered rapidly, timescales of less than forty eight hours are certainly achievable. There is also a simplified procedure with less steps
- Smaller batches capability – Digital printing enables smaller batch capability which has benefits in terms of flexibility with customers
- Stock management – As print can be delivered on-demand there is no need for large stock levels. Print stock can be printed as required, reducing the risk of obsolescence
- Variable data printing – Digital printing enables variable data printing as the digital image is altered with the variable data and then printed, this is ideal for direct mail
Benefits of offset printing
Digital printing is great and has its place but it is not a direct replacement for offset printing. To make an informed decision, here are some of the benefits of offset printing over digital printing:
- Higher image quality – Undoubtedly offset printing produces higher quality results. Digital printing may be “good enough” though and it may take a trained eye to notice the difference
- High volume cost-effectiveness – Large batch volumes are much more cost-effective with offset printing
- Multi-surface printing – Offset printing works on any kind of surface, which is more difficult for digital methods (e.g. cloth, leather, metal, plastic, rough paper, wood, etc.)
Additional Baker Goodchild reading
Our article digital printing and direct mail is also very relevant to this topic.
Baker Goodchild – digital print experts
Call Baker Goodchild on 0800 612 1972 for friendly informed conversation about the benefits of digital printing and its management for your business. Or alternatively complete our contact form if you would prefer.