Digital printing, which one of printing business output is a solution based marketing communication strategy focused on short runs, speed to market, and customization of print media. When used correctly, digital printing can greatly impact an overall communication campaign.
Digital Printing can be differentiated from offset printing, litho, flexography, gravure or letterpress printing in many ways, some of digital printing works which are:
- Every impression made onto the paper can be different, as opposed to making several hundred or thousand impressions of the same image from one set of printing plates, as in traditional methods.
- The Ink or Toner does not absorb into the substrate, as does conventional ink, but forms a layer on the surface and may be fused to the substrate by using an inline fuser fluid with heat process (toner) or UV curing process (ink).
- It generally requires less waste in terms of chemicals used and paper wasted in set up or make ready (bringing the image “up to color” and checking registration or position).
- It is excellent for rapid prototyping, or small print runs which means that it is more accessible to a wider range of designers and more cost effective in short runs.
- On some equipment substrates are positioned upon and travel through the machine using a belt
Examples of major commercial digital printing systems are the HP Indigo press by Hewlett-Packard, the Océ VarioPrint 6250 from Océ, the InfoPrint system from InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh and the iGen 3 from Xerox.
Digital Printing is widely used in personalized printing with the advent of variable data printing (VDP or VI). One example of this would be personalized children’s books from companies who are using technologies from Xerox to create “one of” or “single copy” digital books, which are customized with the children’s image and name on Print On Demand.
Other print on demand production would be short run books and booklets of varying page quantities, and binding techniques (saddle stitched, perfect bound, GBC, wire-o or plastic spiral), which are most cost effectively produced in digital print shops.
Many digital printers today produce sheets of postcards where each card contains different images, different type and each card is also addressed in presorted order in a single pass, which after cutting and finishing, they are ready for mailing.
Other typical digital printing production for effective campaign would be decals, magnets and labels with variable data (images and/or addressing); selfmailers printed and addressed; cross media marketing materials.