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Digital Printing

Digital printing encompasses many aspects of the print world. Always printing in CMYK (4-color process), presses vary from the DI (direct image) press utilizing polymer plates and inks, to high end copiers utilizing toners. The digital world includes wide format printers. The newer digital presses are even replacing flexographic presses when combined with finishing equipment.

Digital presses and copiers are best solutions for short runs of brochures, postcards, newsletters, publications, individualized color stationery and business cards. It is the most economical and by understanding which press is better suited for certain papers and designs, very respectable quality may be maintained. However, graduated screen values can band, creating a striped look. Also, large areas of solids are not its strong suit. But, these elements can be designed around. So, check with your printer. The greatest and most powerful use of digital printing is personalization. By doing so, a marketing campaign can imbed variable data within a communicated message. Printing then becomes a highly effective 1-to-1 marketing tool. Variable data printing can be even more effective if utilized to create cross media campaigns. This subject is discussed in another post.

Another area digital is making headway into is label printing. I just saw the new HP6000 set up for such a task. Combining a finishing machine that can complete all the foiling, spot coatings, die cutting, rewinding and other required finishes, the HP6000 provides the flexibility of delivering quality, in CMYK mode, on various stocks. For example, flexo presses print better on gloss stocks. Images and copy gets too soft due to ink absorbency and squished dots. If you wanted an uncoated, laid paper look to your label, it would be best to print on a gloss stock for sharp graphics and copy, applying matt tinted varnishes to create the uncoated laid finish appearance, which requires more plates at $20 – $30 each, plus set-up and make-ready. The HP6000 can print directly to the laid finish stock, being more cost effective. Plus, the variable data capability allows for personalization and multiple versions to be run simultaneously.

The digital printing age is here and offers marketers great opportunities. If you want to know more, please contact me.