It’s a strange but true fact that printed material is back on the rise. After nearly two decades of media proclaiming that print was dead, it turns out Millenials with their love of visual media and a retro respect for physical objects tend to enjoy high quality printed materials. From marketing catalogs to printed swag, the Millennial population has come into their own as adults and are bringing the printed page back to life. Of course, we’re not just talking any kind of print.
Like all things in the modern era, printing technology has moved forward into the digital age as well. Digital printing is the latest in commercial printing services going beyond simple ink stamps to build beautiful printed materials pixel by pixel. If you’re new to digital printing services, then this guide is here to walk you right through the basics.
What Makes Digital Printing Unique
Digital printing is not like old-school litho printing of the past. With litho printing, large-batch printing was accomplished with printing plates covered in wet ink, not unlike the original newspaper printing presses of the past. But digital printing takes commercial printing to a whole new level. With digital printing, the digital image is translated into a complex array of pixels with exactly the correct hue and placement calculated every time. Digital printers then programmatically lay down exactly the right amount of tiny ink drops or toner to perfectly replicate the original digital image.
In fact, because of the pixel precision with each print, digital printing is uniquely well suited to personalized mailing and content campaigns in which each page may have unique content including the recipient’s name and key details that relate directly to them. In effect, you can create a truly modern print campaign complete with CRM-backed personalization, unique images, and unique content on each page while still achieving the efficiency of large-batch commercial printing.
How to Hire Digital Printing Services
Design Your Printables
The first step to any digital printing project is to refine your design. It may help to realize that you can use the same kind of programmatic personalization for print copy as you would for email marketing because digital print allows you to customize each page should you need to without having to make a new litho ink plate.
You also have a greater freedom with color considering that you are not working with stamped plates, you are working with a highly refined digital printer with the full array of inks and toners. Digital printing can come in a wide variety of paper sizes, though you will want to become familiar with the standard sizes that are available with your chosen digital printer before committing to a design. That said, always confirm that your designs are suitable for print and finalize your page layout before going to the digital printer.
Consult With Your Digital Printer About Best Options
Once you have your page designs ready, it’s best to consult with your digital printer about what the best way to produce your print material may be. Your printer will have a remarkable amount of expertise on matters of choosing the right paper type, digital printing medium (toner or ink) and bindings if you intend to make a booklet or catalog. Catalogs, for example, are almost always on glossy or semi-gloss paper and are printed on longer sheets so that they can be folded and bound with staples instead of in individual 8×11 sheets that are better for mail and flyers.
Make Any Necessary Design Adjustments
After consulting with your printers, you may want to make a few last-minute adjustments. Your printers may have made a few helpful suggestions that could improve your design or your choice of paper or binding may have made it necessary to alter small details of your content or layout. This is perfectly normal, especially for brands that are new to digital printing services.
Workshop your designs until they are perfect and ready to put into print. Hold one more consultation with the printers and then it’s off the presses. Soon you will have stacks of mailers, flyers, booklets, or catalogs depending on what you chose to design and distribute.
Advantages of Digital Printing
Digital printing is by far the most versatile form of printing service on the market. With the ability to personalize every page you print, no other printing service can give you that kind of page-by-page control.
Digital printing requires far less collaboration with your printers, test prints, and approvals before your content is coming hot off the presses. The reason for this is that digital printing is both flexible and precise. no plates means no smudging or design aberrations. Which takes us to the next point.
Crisp, Beautiful Images
Digital printing always provides crisp, beautifully precise images. Because they are printed pixel-by-pixel instead of a plate of wet ink, each pixel is exactly where you meant it to be. Digital printing, especially with toner, does not result in smudging or out of place ink that is common with large-scale inkbased printing like litho.
Finally, digital printing allows you to print only the pages and batch-sizes you need. With Litho printing and other large-scale printing options, the cost is only low per page if you invest in hundreds to thousands of pages made from the same prepared plates. With digital printing, you never feel compelled to over-print allowing finer controls over your project budgets.
Digital printing is a fantastic way for companies of any size to invest in printed materials for mailers, catalogs, and event printing needs. Whether you are a startup exploring your very first printed campaign or an established business looking for the latest in printing service options, digital printing is the ideal for versatile design, personalization, and small-batch printing and is highly precise in every pixel of your design. For more information about how digital printing can be turned into a campaign strategy for your brand, contact us today! Our team will be glad to hear from you.