What are the Differences Between Digital and Offset Printing?

July 26, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

Today’s commercial printing has enjoyed the growth of digital printing technology, bringing with it technical advances, more options, as well as exciting new features. Unfortunately, this growth has also brought some confusion. In order to make the right choice between digital printing and the traditional offset lithography, one must have an understanding of the differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Offset lithography is the most common high volume commercial printing technology. In offset printing, the desired print image is burned onto a plate and is then transferred (or offset) from the plate to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface. The lithographic process is based on the repulsion of oil and water. The image to be printed gets ink from ink rollers, while the non printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non printing areas ink-free.

A lot of the mechanical steps that are required in conventional printing are not necessary with digital printing. Digital printing eliminates the need for making films and color proofs, manually stripping the pieces together and making plates. So how do you know which method to use? Well that depends on what you are printing.

The following lists some of the advantages of Digital Printing: 1. Shorter turnaround. 2. Every print is the same. More accurate counts, less waste and fewer variations, due to not having to balance ink and water during press run. 3. Cheaper low volume printing. While the unit cost of each piece may be higher than with offset printing, when setup costs are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for very small print runs. 4. Variable Data Printing is a form of customizable digital printing. Using information from a database or external file, text and graphics can be changed on each piece without stopping or slowing down the press. For example, personalized letters can be printed with a different name and address on each letter. Variable data printing is used primarily for direct marketing, customer relationship development and advertising.

Some of the advantages of Offset Printing are as follows: 1. The image quality is very high. 2. Most all surfaces can be printed on, including wood, metal, plastic and leather. 3. As the volume of printing goes up, the unit cost goes down. 4. While today’s digital presses can come close to the cost/benefit ratio offset for high quality work, they are still unable to compete with the quality and cost-effectiveness that an offset press can produce. 5. The quality of offset printing is further increased now that many offset presses are using computer-to-plate systems as opposed to the older computer-to-film work flows.

Want to find out more about digital printing, then visit The Print Group’s site on how to choose the best printing method for your needs.

What is UV Coating and Why Should You Use it?

July 1, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

In today’s extremely cut-throat environment, printed ads could be your only chance to obtain your customers attention. Choosing UV Coating is a sure way to make sure they stand up over the rest. For people who’ve never heard about the UV Coating printing procedure, let’s explain what exactly it is as well as what the good and bad points are.

So what exactly is UV or Ultra Violet Finish? UV coating, or ultraviolet covering is a procedure that applies an extremely high shine finish to the printed document and is then cured on a special machine applying ultraviolet light. The layer hardens, or cures once subjected to ultra violet radiation. This UV coating makes your printed materials “jump out” and is great for items like post cards, leaflets, magazines, or anything that will benefit from a rich, bright finish.

Ultraviolet coating has numerous advantages over other coating methods for example aqueous coating or varnish. One of these benefits includes a superb shine finish. Whenever UV is used on deep, rich colors, the outcome is an almost wet appearance. This can be extremely beneficial with image rich endeavours. The astounding shiny finish is one reason why it’s so popular for certain projects. An additional benefit is that it is resistant to abrasion. This is good for materials that will be handed out or sent thru the mail as you know that the UV coating will look just as it did when it was first printed right up until the last brochure or brochure is distributed or mailed out.

The UV finish is also incredibly clear. This finish really makes the details stand out, and is a very effective method for photographic pictures and company emblems. The UV coatings are also environmentally friendly as they are free from solvents and don’t produce volatile organic compounds. Lastly, the UV coating cures immediately with UV light exposure. This can be very advantageous because a print job won’t be delayed waiting for the finish to dry.

Before choosing UV coating, there are certain things that you need to be aware of. For instance, when using metallic inks, it is advisable to ask the printer how nicely the covering will work with your particular project. The reason behind this is that occasionally metallic inks will dry to fast, causing the metallic particles to elevate to the top and become more prone to rubbing away from the printing surface. All in all, UV covering creates a stunning finish and can truly make a difference with your printing project.

Want to find out more about digital printing, then visit The Print Group’s site on how to choose the best printing method for your needs.

Sign Printing Preparation

June 6, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

When you’ve finished creating your design, you’ll need to do a few things with your fonts to be able to send them to your printer correctly.

Typically, printers ask that you to package a duplicate of all the original font files within the documents you’re printing in addition to all your other files, just in case something goes wrong they can have a look to see what the design should actually look like.

Furthermore, they’ll ask you to do what’s called “outlining” your fonts. In simple terms, this turns the characters of each and every font into paths rather than actual type, almost like you drew a shape in Illustrator, as opposed to typed text using the Type tool. By doing this is becomes easier for the program to find fonts.

Understand that you should always flatten Photoshop files which means that your printers are able to see what the final images should view like, also send over a layered file along with any fonts you utilized in creating it. This means that the printer can install the fonts for your design should they need to.

However, it is recommended that, even when you’re laying text in to a Photoshop register for printing, that you first create it in Illustrator then drop it into Photoshop afterwards. It will of course take more time and will certainly be a bit cumbersome going forward and backward between programs, nevertheless the expertise of the type is going to far out way the extra effort.

Although these might be the basics, they’re also the problems that prepress operators usually face in getting the majority of files ready for printing. The easiest method to avoid running into any issues with your printer is usually to always ask your vendor details before you even start creating your design. That’s right, it is important to find and ask the printer before you even design, that way you can choose the right package to design on!

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