At Copy Doctor, we call ourselves, a high speed, high quality, digital printer. But what exactly does that mean? We address this almost daily in our shop when working with our customers on their projects, and have learned that many people don’t know the difference in digital printing and offset printing.
Our digital printers work in a very similar way to the color printer you have at home, but on a much larger scale. They are toner based, and use four color ink cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) referred to as CMYK, also likeyour home color printer. But our printers have the capability of spitting out hundreds of copies in just a couple of minutes. They also digitally mix and monitor the CMYK toners to create an unlimited number of colors for the price of a color copy.
The biggest benefit of printing digitally is the speed – we can turn your job around quickly. It is a very cost effective way of printing small, low volume jobs. And the prints are consistent in color and quality. Today’s digital printers are so advanced, it is often hard to tell the difference between a digitally printed piece and an offset printed one.
We also have the capability to store your files for reprints any time you need them. This is a great timesaver for you and also saves you money because you just pay for what you need, when you need it.
The cons? Your paper choices may be more limited than in offset printing. Our machines print best on smooth textured papers, up to 12x18 in size, and certain weight papers may not run through our machines well. It is also sometimes harder to get an exact PMS color match. We always try our best to match your desired colors – but when it is a do or die situation, offset printing may be the way to go.
Use digital printing when you have a limited budget, are in a hurry to get your printing, are creating multiple versions of the same file in low volume, or printing something for a one time use or with a short shelf life.
Offset printing is done via printing presses which transfer ink from the press to the paper by using plates. If you have ever used a rubber stamp you can envision this process, but on a much larger scale. There is a lot of time and set up involved in preparing the plates and the presses in the pre-press stage and most of your cost of offset printing comes in this stage.
The inks used in offset printing actually come in PMS colors, so you can get an exact color match. But each color is applied using a different plate made specifically for that color application. This means your project passes thru the press for every color used, or may be run thru a four-color press like the one shown here.
Because the press is actually pressing the ink onto the page, not rolling it on like in digital, you can choose virtually any color, weight or texture of paper. The offset presses run larger sheets or rolls of paper, making your size options wider also.
Then what are the cons? This method takes much more time. The printer will have to make the plates, set up the press, and produce a proof of your job before it ever gets running. This can add days to the process. Also, there is drying time before the finishing, such as folding, can be done.
Want to know a secret? If you take your job to an offset printer and the run is not large enough for them to give you a competitive price once they factor in the paper choice, number of plates needed, and cost of the ink – they often bring your job to us to print for them!
Why not just bring the job to us first! Let us evaluate it for you and help you decide the best and most cost effective way to produce the finished look you are trying to achieve. We are happy to consult with you during the design process and help you design your piece to save you money, regardless of whether it will be digitally printed or offset printed. Something that seems like an awesome and unique design idea can cost you twice as much to print in the end. We can advise you on simple changes that can give you the professional look you want while staying within your budget.
Call or stop in today! www.copydr.com