Digital Printing vs. Offset Printing
To start out I would like to introduce myself, my name is Mark Allen and I started out in the printing industry back in 1988. The company I worked with then specialized in short run book and manual offset printing, there was no digital printing other than mailing equipment and automated billing equipment. Our specialty was one color printing; we did not even print multi-color covers, as our customers were encouraged to supply them.
This was the age of the photocopier and the printing press. The big time short run photocopier that competed in the small quantity arena was the Xerox 5090, with this machine you still had to have camera ready copy (CRA) to start with. Soon thereafter Xerox announced a machine called a Docutech on October 2, 1990, this machine has revolutionized the printing industry, now you can supply a digital file and start production from a digital file not CRA.
Fast forward to 2010 and now there are many different digital machines that produce one color and four color process (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black, aka CMYK) – these are the colors when combined can reproduce the majority of the spectrum of colors that we all enjoy) that rival offset printing. When printing anything in color on a digital machine you would always build the color(s) as a CMYK build. Now, the question that seems to always come up with my clients is, should I produce this digitally or with offset printing? I hope to help answer that question for you.
Only three questions come to my mind when that question is presented.
- When do you need the finished product?
- What is the quantity you want to produce?
- Is there any variable data or imagery required?
Since the quality of digital printing is virtually indistinguishable from offset printing to the end user. Unless you are pursuing, a larger quantity or a very high end finished production, which I will address in the future articles, digital production is more than adequate for short run production. For know we are talking about what is considered commercially acceptable print production, one color or four color aka CMYK.
It really comes down to turn-around and quantity. If you need something fast, same day, 24, 48 hours, digital printing typically is the way to go for any quantity up to 1,000, (Higher for a single sheet ). Once you hit the 1,000/1,500 quantity with CMYK it is wise to start planning a 3 to 5 day window and look into offset printing.
In conclusion, our company Communications On The Mark offers 22+ years of experience in this industry. If it is digital printing, offset printing or internet marketing we can bring a complete and cost effective solution together for you. We keep constantly informed of new developments and changes within our industry. I will be sharing information on many topics in the communications are of your business in the future. If you would like to keep informed with what is going on in this industry, or just interested in new information, please feel free to share you name and email and I will keep you informed of changes in our industry that may benefit you.
Future topics to look for information on:
CMYK conversion to RGB
Aqueous, Film lamination, UV, varnish.
Variable Data Digital Printing
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Wishing you success for 2010 and into the future.