Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing has a higher cost per page than offset printing methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates.
It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression. The savings in labor and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can match or supersede offset printing technology’s ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.
The unique capabilities and improved quality level of digital printing have made this process an important tool for direct mail marketers. While offset lithography remains the predominate process for high volume commercial printing, digital printing technology offers some distinct advantages. Understanding these advantages is important for advertisers looking to maximize the return from their printing dollars.