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What is digital printing?

Digital Printing has revolutionized the printing industry over the last several years. Digital printing is the process of printing digital-based images directly onto a variety of media substrates. Unlike with offset printing there is no need for a printing plate. Digital files such as PDFs or any desktop publishing file can be sent directly to the digital printing press to print on paper, photo paper, canvas, fabric, synthetics, cardstock, magnets and a variety of other substrates. With Digital Printing Paulsen offers Direct Mail Variable Data Marketing (VDP) printing which provides individuals and businesses the advantage of personalized and targeting mailing services. This maximizes your print dollars by targeting specialized demographics and markets for your products or services.

Digital Printing vs. Offset Printing

Digital printing differs from traditional, analog printing methods, such as offset printing. Digital printing machines do not require printing plates. Instead of using metal plates to transfer an image, digital printing presses print the image directly onto the media substrate. Digital production print technology has evolved quickly, and digital printing output quality is improving continuously. These advancements are delivering print quality that rivals offset. Digital printing enables additional advantages, including:

  • Personalized
  • Variable Data Printing (VDP)
  • Print-on-demand
  • Cost-effective short runs
  • Fast turnarounds

What is a Digital Printer?

Modern printing methods such as laser and ink-jet printing are known as digital printing. Digital printing consists of an image being sent directly to the printer using digital files such as PDFs and those from graphics software such as Illustrator and InDesign. This eliminates the need for printing plates, commonly used in offset printing, which can save money and time. Digital Printing offers many advantages such as cost, short cost effective runs, speed of turnaround and the ability to offer targeted Printing Services such as VDP (Variable Data Printing).

What are the Advantages of Digital Printing Services?

Offset printing is the older of the two methods and involves a plate on which the material to be printed is engraved, which is transferred with ink onto a rubber blanket, then to the material which it has to be printed on. Digital printing, on the other hand, skips the plate entirely and directly prints onto the material. Offset printing is known for producing higher quality than digital printing, but comes with high initial costs and isn’t cost effective unless large quantities are needed. That’s where digital printing comes in, and here are its advantages:

  • Eco-Friendly: While it still involves ink and chemicals, there’s no pre-press procedures like offset printing, so there’s no need for plates, chemicals and extra material. Directly printing onto the material saves a lot!
  • Quick Turnaround: Again, since there’s no pre-press procedures and plates, the initial setup time is reduced, and you can get your prints quicker than with offset printing. No Initial Costs or Setup: Speaking of initial setup, there’s no additional cost of creating the plates, so you’re saving on money, but only if you’re looking to print smaller numbers. For high volume printing, offset printing is still the king because once set up, the cost per unit is much less.
  • Small Batch Printing: If you’re looking to print in the hundreds or even thousands, the setup cost of offset printing might not seem justified. With digital printing, you can print in multiple small batches and not worry about big setup costs.
  • Customization: Offset printing is essentially imprinting the plate’s content onto the printing material, which means that the content is physically set and cannot be changed. In digital printing though, there’s no such thing, so you can easily customize each print unit without too much hassle. For example, you can print different names on wedding cards, where only one small area is changed while the remaining is the same.
  • Accuracy: With digital printing, you can print samples to check on color accuracy and the like so that you’re printing exactly what you envisioned. It’s easy to tweak colors and their properties, but with offset printing the whole process gets much trickier because of the physical separation of ink and water. So in a nutshell, if you’re looking for customized prints and small or multiple batches, digital printing is the way to go. Easy, flexible and affordable up to a certain point, digital printing is definitely worth your money!