Monday, February 9, 2009

Digital Printing Basics

digitally printed wedding invitation by Bride Design

A few weeks ago I posted about the basics of offset lithography printing, the most commonly used high-volume, commercial printing process employed today. As discussed in the article, offset printing shines when used for large print runs, where precise color matching is required or where specialty paper stocks are being used. But what if you only need 100 invites, with just text and line art, printed crisply on standard 70 lb. text weight paper? Then perhaps digital is the right choice for you.

With offset lithography, the printing press needs to be specially set-up to print your job. As you print more and more offset pieces, those set up costs are absorbed, making it more affordable when working in high-volumes. With digital printing, there are little or no setup costs, making this method an excellent choice for low-volume jobs. Little set-up also means quick turnaround times, so if you need your job in a hurry, digital printing generally offers faster delivery. Digital printing also provides easy and accurate proofing, since your proof will be an actual sample of the final printed piece. What you see is exactly what you should be getting in the end.

If your designer is using spot colors to achieve exact color matching, then digital may not be the best option. Digital printing's four-color process (also known as CMYK), is forced to simulate precise colors like those from the Pantone Matching System, by using cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. Offset lithography and some other printing methods, allow the use of pre-mixed inks in highly targeted colors in addition to the traditional four-color process. That being said, if you are looking simply for affordable four-color printing, digital has the advantage.

For more on digital printing, continue to check our site for additional posts. If you have questions about this or other printing methods please send us an email at Our expert stationers will answer reader questions on Fridays, and we're always happy to discuss the methods and techniques used to create the stationery and paper products we know and love.

~Erin, Bride Design

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