If you have a significant publishing event ahead in your small business, sports or social group, you may be considering your printing options. You may be ready to get a quote or two, but wonder which process you should take for best effect and to correspond with your budget. These days, the printing industry has two distinct approaches for someone in your position. What do you need to know about these options, before you proceed?
Up until a few years back, there really was only one game in town – litho printing. This technology has been around for years, but recently there is an alternative, which has grown as a consequence of the digital revolution.
The Traditional Way
Lithography, or "offset" printing, involves the manufacture of a special plate, onto which the image you want to print is burnt. The process will press the ink onto paper, using a rubber blanket as an intermediary. It is a tried and tested system and produces excellent image quality, with a 100% match in terms of colour, according to the industry standard Pantone guide.
The New Choice
The newbie, digital printing, is somewhat simpler. It's essentially a very similar process to the photocopier you may have in your office. Nevertheless, the modern-day digital press is much more sophisticated and will produce outstanding jobs, with high-quality and blazing speed. Digital printers can be directly connected to a typical computer, and jobs can be loaded very simply and effectively.
What You Need to Consider
You may wonder why you should consider lithography, as digital printing ought to be more "state-of-the-art." There are still reasons why it works well, however and in particular when it comes to economies of scale. If you have a large print run, then the cost per unit is going to decrease as the order size grows. This is not generally the case when it comes to digital printing. Also, it takes a lot less time to produce a job using the lithography approach today, as manufacturers have reacted to the "threat" of the digital version, by upping the capacity and turnaround times.
If you have a set number of copies in mind and the job is not particularly complex or lengthy, then you may like to consider digital printing, due to its cost and speed. This is almost a "print on demand" situation and there are not as many upfront costs as you may find in the lithography option. You won't have to wait for the ink to dry before your final production can be laminated or bound, either.
Getting Detailed Help
There are a couple of other things to think about before you decide, including the right approach based on paper type or proof accuracy and it's a good idea for you to talk to a specialist printer for their professional advice.