Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression. The savings in labor and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can match or supersede offset printing technology's ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.
The greatest difference between digital printing and traditional methods such as lithography, flexography, gravure, or letterpress is that there is no need to replace printing plates in digital printing, whereas in analog printing the plates are repeatedly replaced. This results in quicker turnaround time and lower cost when using digital printing, but typically a loss of some fine-image detail by most commercial digital printing processes. The most popular methods include inkjet or laser printers that deposit pigment or toner onto a wide variety of substrates including paper, photo paper, canvas, glass, metal, marble, and other substances.
In many of the processes, the ink or toner does not permeate the substrate, as does conventional ink, but forms a thin layer on the surface that may be additionally adhered to the substrate by using a fuser fluid with heat process (toner) or UV curing process.
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F.A.Q. about Digital Press
What is digital printing?
Digital printing is a modern method of production that makes prints from electronic files. It involves your artwork being created on a computer and then printed directly onto the material of your choice. Digital printing is an alternative to traditional methods such as lithography, flexography, gravure, letter press, and others – it eliminates many of the mechanical steps required for conventional printing, such as making films and color proofs, manually stripping the pieces together, and making plates.
How it works?
With the method of digital printing, an image is sent directly to the printer using digital files in PDF, TIFF, PSD or other formats. Digital printing is best used for items that require high amounts of detail and smaller quantity orders. Unlike conventional printing, there are no pre-press stages between the digital document files and the final product; there is also no need for messy formatting equipment like film plates or photo chemicals.
Digital prints should come out perfectly when the following stages of production are done accurately.
- The file is prepared with a clean and sharp image in a high enough resolution for the print’s size requirements.
- Crop marks and bleed are added as needed. Crop marks are lines on the corner of the print job. After trimming the bleed, crop marks ensure that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document.
- The next stage is imposition – ensuring that as much of the area of the paper as possible is used for the print in order to make the job efficient and cut down on paper waste.
- Before being sent to the printer, your electronic document file (the image or text that you are printing) will need to be converted to a BMP, TIFF, GIF, or JPEG file format. These are known as raster image files or bitmaps. Depending on the software used, PDF files can also be used to print from.
Why Digital Printing?
Digital printing is a new paradigm for the industry. It provides more choices, features and flexibility than older methods such as offset or flexographic printing. Today, we expect printed materials to be accurate and up to date – clients need printers to be able to produce cost effective, high quality, short run color printing in the fastest possible time frame. However, it is not always easy to decide which process will best suit your job, so before you choose how to print your design, there are a few things you should consider. Below is a guide to help you understand the advantages of digital printing.
What are the benefits of digital printing?
High Quality: This offers impressive quality and consistency over the other options. The colors show up perfectly on the prints and there are no issues with harsh lines. With digital printing, the quality of the last card, brochure or flyer in a batch is same as that of the first.
Timeliness: There are fewer steps in the printing process, and as a result, the final product can be delivered quicker.
Cost Effective: Because printing plates are not required, there is less investment involved to set up a single job.
Short Runs: Digital printing is the ideal method of producing short to medium print runs compared to traditional methods.
Customization: Digital printing provides the most affordable solution to customize marketing materials, direct mail pieces and letters, business cards, and more.