Digital printing or professional printing refers to the use of modern printing methods such as laser and inkjet printing. Usually, in digital printing, an image can be sent directly to the printer using digital files such as PDFs as well as from some graphics software such as Illustrator and InDesign. This in turn eliminates the need for a printing plate which is generally used in offset printing, thereby, saving money and time.
Digital printing is useful in small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Although, offset printing still results in slightly better quality prints, digital methods nowadays are improving at a faster rate. The quality is better and the costs are lower.
In the world of digital printing, inkjet and laser are the most familiar and predominant, but there many other types of digital printing methods:
- Dye sublimation – it is preferred by some graphic designers for some high-end proofing and by some business house who produce materials in house using the best possible colors.
- Solid ink – It is a low-cost i.e. no inkjet photo paper is needed but is not of quality as inkjet or laser.
- Thermal autochrome – It is mainly used by digital photographers.
- Thermal wax – It works well for businesses that need to produce large quantities of slides for colorful business presentations i.e. using overhead projectors instead of PowerPoint presentation.
Offset printing and other commercial methods require printing plates and presses, but, digital printing prints directly from the digital file sent to an inkjet, laser, or other types of digital printer. Read on to discover more advantages:
- Less expensive, consumes less time for producing short runs and does smaller prints with ease. Decreasing costs for high-speed digital printers actually gives offset a run for its money in some cases.
- Can eliminate the expense of plate-making and setting up the presses.
- Easier and less expensive to make the last-minute changes in a print job and can print multiple variations.
- Preparing a file can be less complicated for those who are unfamiliar with commercial printing methods.
- Prints slightly less quality than offset printing but the difference is negligible.
- In digital printing, you do not have to deal with color separations and plate-making
- Color calibration and using printed color guides can be important for obtaining the kind of results you want from color digital printing.
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