ColorFx is excited to introduce a 4 part series debunking the urban legends of Digital Color Printing. Whether you are a graphic designer, creative director, account planner, production manager or printer, uncovering these urban legends will be an exciting and enlightening journey. We would like to welcome you to the world of enlightened print decision making!
Case Study No. 1: Image Quality
The Legend: Digital color printing doesn’t meet professional image quality standards. In particular, it doesn’t measure up to offset lithography.
Some Vocabulary: Offset Printing, Digital Color Printers
Offset Printing: A commonly used printing technique where the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface.
Digital Printing: The reproduction of digital images on a physical surface. It is generally used for short print runs, and for the customization of print media. Every print can be different, because printing plates are not required, as in traditional methods.
From the Beginning:
This idea dates back to the first digital printers and copiers, which fell short of offset litho quality. Many current color copiers and printers don’t achieve offset quality, but they do provide effective solutions for the less demanding applications they are designed to perform.
Digital color printers are in a completely different class. The industrial version of office digital printers, they’re designed for short runs and variable printing data printing, which makes them a perfect complement to offset presses. In fact, a number of models have emerged with image quality that rivals offset.
When making a comparison, the print quality of a digital press to offsets is as digital photos is to analog shots. Both have different characteristics that affect output, but the quality achieves professional standards in nearly every application.
Debunking the Myth:
• Tests show digital quality matches offset
• Larger color gamut on today’s digital printers
• Print buyer find digital and offset quality interchangeable
• Many showcase applications are printed digitally
Basic Tips for Optimizing Digital Print Quality
• Talk to your printer- Your printer should be able to help you optimize your design for a given press and improve your proofs,
• Know your design specs
• Revisit Type Sizes- Test your type choices by proofing
• Strategize for large coverage areas
• Proof early and often