Ideally, you never wait until the last minute to order printed materials. But digital printing services make it easier and less stressful to get high-quality prints quickly when deadlines creep up.
What Are Digital Printing Services?
Unless you’ve been in the printing business before, you may have had no idea there were different printing methods. In the past, printing was a time-consuming process that required printers to create metal plates or rollers of your content. These plates and rollers transfer your content to your chosen media. The setup alone was a labor-intensive job. Businesses would have to wait days or weeks before receiving their final product.
Digital printing has been a game-changer in the printing industry. Much like printing a document in your own office, digital printing works by printing digital-based content directly to your media. This has allowed for quicker turnaround times for print jobs without sacrificing quality.
In addition, it’s also a more eco-friendly method of printing. There’s less waste involved compared to offset printing since no plates need to be created.
During digital printing, the toner or ink doesn’t seep into the substrate. Rather, it settles on top in a thin layer and is usually sealed with a UV curing or heating process. This detail is especially important to know if your project will be folded, as scoring can break this layer and damage the product’s appearance. If you do plan to fold your printed materials, you should ask your printer if they can use a creasing process instead of scoring.
Setup is minimal, prints finish quickly, and the finished product looks crisp and professional. The time-saving benefits mean cost-saving benefits, too. Since the print shop doesn’t spend as much time on each print job, you can get a lower price per piece in most cases.
Types of Projects Best Suited for Digital Printing
Between offset printing and digital printing, there is no single method that works best for every occasion.
Digital printing can be used for low- and high-volume jobs alike but is mostly used for short-run projects printed on a flat, thin medium.
Common uses for businesses include:
- promotional items
- postcards and rack cards
- forms and documents
It’s also the ideal solution for variable data printing, such as individual mailing labels or personalized sales collateral.
In most cases, there is no minimum quantity for digital printing, though larger quantities may result in extra cost savings. Prints can be made on demand because pre-press stages have been eliminated.
Digital printing uses CMYK colors. Your project will need to be set up in this format to get the best results. Most digital printers can apply a special coating to your project to avoid scratching or other damage.
If you aren’t sure if digital printing services are the best choice for your project, talk to your printing partner to get a professional recommendation.
The Digital Printing Services Checklist
Before you send your project to print, you want to make sure no detail goes overlooked. Digital printing might not cost much per piece, but a few hundred pieces can quickly add up, and you don’t want to waste your marketing budget on a failed project.
Use the digital printing services checklist to guarantee your project is ready for to print:
Prepare Your File Type
Check with your printer to see which type of file they require. Files should be uncompressed with as few edits as possible. TIFF files are higher quality, but many printers also accept AI or PSD files, too. If you’re printing on anything greater than 11×14, you want to avoid using a JPG file, as these files usually result in low quality.
Determine Your Aspect Ratio and Print Size
Aspect ratio and print size go hand in hand, and they need to correspond prior to sending your project to print.
Aspect ratio is the ratio of the width to height of an image or print. If this ratio differs from your printed product’s dimensions, some of your design may be cropped out of the final version.
You first need to determine your print size. For example, an 8×10 photo taken on a digital camera will not have the proper aspect ratio and will need to be edited prior to printing.
Once you know how large your print will be, you can adjust the aspect ratio to make sure your project will look as good in person as it does on your screen.
Consider Your Paper Type
Just like offset printing and offset web printing, you have a lot of options when it comes to paper: textured, linen, matte, glossy, acid-free, luster, archival paper, the list goes on. You should explore your options prior to sending your job to the printer to get the best final product.
Ask your printer what types of paper they offer or recommend for your project. Let them know what goal you’re trying to accomplish, as this can affect the recommendation. Most printers can source the type of paper you want if they don’t already have it available.
Does Your Print Need a Border?
Are you planning to put this print in a frame? If so, you need to leave room for a border so none of your content becomes obscured. A quarter inch all the way around should be plenty. If you opt for a border larger than an inch, keep in mind it might affect the overall size of your print and you may incur additional charges.
The Finishing Touches
Every job is different and with digital printing services your finishing options can easily fit your job requirements.
Finishing options include:
- booklet making
- perfect binding
- tape binding
- hole punching
Ask For a Proof
Some companies may charge extra to print a single proof, but it’s worth it to know the rest of your print job will print flawlessly.
Make the Best of Digital Printing Services
Now that you know a little more about digital printing services, put your knowledge to use in the best possible way. Talk to us today about your upcoming projects and let us help you create digital prints you’ll be glad to show your audience.