How Digital Printing Works: A Step-by-Step Guide

Digital vs. Flexo Printing

A good print can elevate a brand. If your business is new in the market, you’d want to work on great visuals as they make lasting impressions to buyers.

When you’re trading commodities, you want a product label or packaging that looks attractive but not intense. If you’re doing marketing promotions, your flyers and brochures should look and feel premium to give your prospects a sense of what your company can produce so they would want to sign up and partner with you.

Now, there are multiple types of printing to choose from. While each one can complement your business, you have to figure out 1) what kind of prints you want, 2) how many you want to have, and 3) how much you’re willing to spend on the service.

If you’re looking to incorporate quality prints in your business, you might want to try digital printing.

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is the process of converting any digital document or image into a physical printed copy. It can be as simple as hitting Ctrl+P to publish your projects for school or as complex as getting a professional printing service to manufacture tens of thousands of product labels for your brand.

How Does It Work?

It will only need a computer, a printer, and an installed driver to begin basic digital printing. Here’s how it works:

  1. Upon clicking Print, your computer will send the file, along with the print settings you have selected, to the connected printer.
  2. The printer driver will translate it to a language that the machine can pick up.
  3. When the data is processed, the printer will now work on your request.
  4. In a matter of seconds, you can claim your prints fresh from the press.

Types of Digital Printing Machines

1. Inkjet

Inkjet printers work in a very intricate fashion. It places multiple ink droplets onto your medium as it slides through the printer to draw your image. This specific machine uses real ink, making it the perfect choice to achieve colorful, vivid outputs. However, since the process is meticulous, inkjet devices have a longer processing time, unlike laser printers.

2. Laser

Laser printers are a bit more complicated. Using a laser, it traces your print onto a canvas via static electricity and then releases charged particles of toner to your chosen medium. These printer models utilize toners, which yield more pages and can sit unused for weeks longer than inks.

Although laser printers are ideal for high-volume productions, they are not up to par in quality with inkjet units.

Advantages of Digital Printing

Now that you know what digital printing is and how it works, let us highlight its benefits.

  • It is easily customizable.

Since digital printing does not use plates like traditional printing, it allows for easier design customizations without much manual work.

Take the Share a Coke campaign by Coca-Cola as an example. The company had to produce 150 unique labels of different names onto millions of bottles as they drive to create a more personal experience for their customers. These multiple rollouts were made possible by commercial digital printing.

  • It is time-saving.

As opposed to flexo printing, there is no downtime in digital printing production. There are no plates to change when the next batch of orders is ready for printing. With digital, you just have to set your queue once and let the machine do the work.

  • It is cost-effective.

If you do not need prints in bulk yet, digital printing is the way to go! This type is the best printing option for test prints or small orders as you will get more bang for your buck than offset printing, which is more effective for high-volume productions.

Other Types of Printing

Depending on what you want to be made, there are alternatives to digital printing you may want to look into. Here are a few industry favorites that could pique your interest and fit your business’ needs:

  • Flexo printing

Flexo printing is high-speed rotational stamp work. It uses rubber or plastic cylinders to carry your text or image and press the ink on your medium.

Digital vs. Flexo Printing: Digital has a faster production time than flexo. However, flexo is the better choice for bulk printing if you want inexpensive production costs.

  • Screen printing

Screen printing is widely used for T-shirts, banners, and fabric prints. The design is formatted in the gaps of a mesh screen, where the ink will be applied and pressed.

Digital vs. Screen Printing: While both methods provide quality outputs, digital printing allows for more colors in just one application than screen printing. But for minimal sketches on mass orders, the screen method is more recommended.

Ready to Print?

When running a business, a lot of thought should go into prints not only because money is involved but also because it can make or break a brand. Take the time to weigh your options on what prints to get and how they can help your small business stand out in the market.

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