6 Easy Steps for Choosing a Digital Printer
The unique capabilities and improved quality level of digital printing have made this process an important tool for direct mail marketers. While offset lithography remains the predominate process for high volume commercial printing, digital printing technology offers some distinct advantages. Understanding these advantages is important for advertisers looking to maximize the return from their printing dollars.
Savvy direct marketers know that a printed piece that is personalized for each recipient is more effective in getting the prospect’s attention. When you want to have each brochure or letter begin with an individual’s name (“Dear Mr. Jones…”) and within the copy mention more personal information (“your 2010 Buick’s collision insurance…”) digital printing is the only practical choice. It allows easy inclusion of such variable data within the headlines and/or text of each printed piece.
Lower per copy costs for short run printing. If your press run ranges from a handful to several thousand, digital printing is almost always the most cost effective process. Start up costs for digital printing are minimal while the start up costs for plates and press makeready associated with offset litho printing make its short runs more costly per copy. When press runs are longer, offset printing is less expensive. The longer the run, the less expensive it becomes.
If the ability to match color accurately is not critical to the success of your printed communications, the quality of color reproduction achieved by digital printing is usually quite satisfactory. While digital color matching is not as accurate as is readily achieved by offset printing, its other capabilities may make it your best choice.
Quick turnaround is another plus for digital printing. If you can supply output ready files to your print supplier, digital products can be output without any further processing. Ink drying time is never a problem, because the images are dry coming out of the press, ready for cutting, folding or any other bindery operations.
If you can effectively use standard sizes, weights and kinds of papers, digital printing may be a very good option. If, on the other hand, you need papers that are very heavy (for durability) or light weight (for mailing cost savings), or textured (for tactile enhancement) offset printing production allows the use of a much wider range of papers and other substrates. Offset printing also makes possible the use of a greater range of sizes and formats.
If you are advertising products which have frequent specification changes, you probably will want to avoid maintaining a large inventory of sales brochures or catalogs. Digital printing allows the advertiser to make inexpensive reruns with up-to- date specifications and photographs. Short digital runs to accomodate immediate needs can be produced at reasonable prices. (Print-On Demand).A knowledgable printing supplier can help you decide when short digital runs are more cost effective than longer offset litho.