Digital printing can be defined as a process of printing by the transference of a document from a personal computer (or similar digital storage device) directly to a printing device. As with all digital processes, the information on the document is reduced to binary code (digitised) to facilitate storage and reproduction. As a result of the substantial saving on production costs, digital printing techniques have largely replaced lithography in many consumer and business markets.
The following devices are commonly used for digital printing: –
Inkjet printers – Laser printers – Multi-functional Peripheral printers Digital printing uses electronic files in print production and there are 2 types of equipment that produce digital printing:
1. Direct Imaging Press or DI
2. Digital Color Printer
These printers are both used for quick short-runs in digital printing, but produce different results. Direct Imaging Presses are based on a conventional offset printing method which develops images automatically and are sometimes waterless. Digital Colour printers use Inkjet, Electrophotography or Xerography to develop images and makes use of dry ink, toners or dyes. A Direct Imaging Press may produce better quality results, however, printing done on a Digital Colour Printer is comparable in quality with traditional offset printing. There are three types of digital printing: Variable Data, On-Demand and Web–to–Print.
ON DEMAND PRINTING
POD or Printing on Demand, allows for the option of single or small printing runs to be done. This feature is ideal for businesses that constantly update their printed documents. On Demand printing is typically done on a Digital Colour Printer and a Digital Imaging Press is used when a higher quality print is required. A Digital Imaging Press can be used when time and quality are both crucial as the drying time is quicker.
VARIABLE DATA PRINTING
VDP is a personalised and customised type of digital printing used with databases that contain particular consumer information that personalises each item of the same mailing design to individual recipients. This is ideal for personalising mailings and targeting customer preferences according to ordering history. VDP techniques are used to supply the same basic information to a group of consumers while personalising the information to each individual.
Web-Enabled printing allows for online customising and personalising of direct mail pieces in a print management program. Customers choose images to include in items such as brochures for example. A proof is posted online and when accepted, it is sent for printing to the supplier with one click. The print supplier will produce the quantity required and mail it to the client within a couple of days.