Digital printing has been growing steadily in popularity. In 2017 digital printing accounted for 16.2% of the global print market value (1). As a result, some believe digital printing is the best option. This isn’t always the case.
Evans Graphics is one of the UK's leading digital print companies. We believe the best outcome is realised thr experience and knowledge, which will help you decide on which print method to use.
Digital printing uses high resolution, digital based files to produce an image or graphic onto the chosen printed material. This makes digital fast, flexible and accurate. This however doesn’t make it the perfect print method in all instances.
Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of digital printing. Hopefully with this knowledge you'll be able to decide on the best way forward.
In today's modern world, deadlines are a fact of life. In the world of printing there are three; Content, design and print Turning this around in time can be a challenge and so the speed at which your printer can deliver is crucial.
Compared to other methods of print like the screen printing process, digital printing offers a fast turnaround due to easy set up.
At Evans Graphics our lead-times are of course subject to current workloads and the type of project that is in question. That said, 24 hours is our average for small-run, digital printed items!
The most important aspect of any print process is quality. Digital printing guarantees a high standard, complete with full colour and gradation. Digital is often the preferred choice because of its perfect registration of colours. It's the only method that provides this.
As a result, colours appear vibrant and clear, opening up all manner of design possibilities.
Better still, it’s easy to apply glossy finishes or embossed effects, enhancing the design further.
Digital printing is a cost-effective option due to the lack of setup required. There is no need for printing plates or colour matching. This means everything happens in one process. As a result, the price of digital printing projects is typically far cheaper than the screen printing equivalent.
Better For The Environment
Digital printing is better for the environment in that it uses less ink, a stark contrast to traditional methods. This results in less waste and a quicker clean-up operation.
Elsewhere digital printers produce less in the way of CO2 emissions. Some professional printers even choose to USE polymer-based inks, which come without hazardous air pollutants (HAPS). These consume less energy and emit fewer greenhouses gases compared to solvent-based inks or the UV-curable variety.
Finally, the ability to print short-runs allows customers to ‘try before they buy’ so savings can be made on packaging for bulk orders that don’t come out as planned.
One clear advantage of digital printing is the fact substrates don’t have to be held in place quite so firmly. Consequently, greater customisation can be createdin the form of different materials.
Digital flat bed printers can print onto materials up to 50mm thick, something other print processes simply can't manage. In short, you can print onto just about any material from posters to outdoor signage.
You Can Print in Lower Quantities
If you're looking to print in lower quantities, digital printing can be very cost effective and offers the equivalent of a ‘print on demand’ service, which is ideal if you are looking to print just a few posters, display boards or pull up banners.
As a result of the minimal set up process, there is rarely a minimum number of units required by printers and often, you won’t be charged extra if you only want a couple of prints, or a short print run.
For a complete guide on preparing your design for digital printing, click here.
Best of all? Digital printing is ever evolving. The technology has greatly improved from its emergence in the early 1990s. Another 30 years from now, who knows?
More Accurate Proofing
Getting to see an example of your design before committing to printing hundreds of units is crucial and can make the difference between having a perfect design and making a simple mistake which spoils everything.
One of the positivesof digital printing is that you get a perfect, accurate proofing before committing to print. The proof, often be presented as a PDF, offers an opportunity to see the final design to review any changes in design, or errors in judgement.
Still unsure on digital printing?' Click here.
Limited Colour Matching Capability
Despite improvements in digital printing it can still be difficult to match Pantone colours exactly. This is due to the difference in inks, rasterisation techniques and toners with each printing machine.
While quality prints are achievable, digital printing cannot replicate metallic and fluorescent colours within a design. This is far from ideal if you are looking to achieve something slightly more eye catching. If you are looking to print a design with fluorescent or metallic colours, screen printing would be more suitable as it gives greater flexibility in terms of full colour options.
Today with the huge improvements in ink and material technology it is possible to print successfully onto a host of materials ranging from woods, plastics, glass and PVC. There are of course some materials such as polyesters and polycarbonate where screen print wins hands down. Custom clothing for example works brilliantly.
Digital printing offers a good standard of durability particularly when using UV curable inks. We're not saying that ink fade will never happen if the correct materials for the project are used. As a rule for externally exposed print you'll get around three to four years of life.
We’ve Got You Covered
Evans Graphics has extensive experience providing digital print solutions and will work with you to meet your individual digital printing requirements whether it be for exhibition graphics, display boards, window displays or signage.
For more information you can always view our Digital Printing FAQs page.