At Curtis 1000 we’re frequently asked, “Is digital printing the best option?” The answer is often yes, but the decision to use digital printing, or its older cousin offset lithography, really depends on the specifications of your project.
Here are some basic guidelines for making that digital versus litho choice.
• Quantity: Because digital printing doesn’t require lengthy set up or expensive plates, it is the cost-effective choice for smaller runs, usually up to 1,000 finished pieces. Digital’s short run capabilities also enable print-on-demand solutions that minimize obsolescence and storage fees. Choose litho for high volume jobs where economies of scale come into play.
• Turn Time: Minimal set up and fast-drying inks make digital the logical pick when quick turns are essential. Three day completion is standard for flat sheet and cut/fold projects.
• Customization: Digital’s ability to cost-effectively print variable, versioned or personalized pieces is perhaps its most important benefit. It makes digital the only real option for projects like personalized statements, variable marketing materials and versioned packaging.
• Special Options: Digital capabilities are evolving rapidly, but there are some substrate, finish and sheet sizes that are a better match for litho. This is the kind of recommendation your print partner ought to know how to handle.
• Color: Digital presses use four-color process, making litho the better choice for some spot color jobs. Additionally, litho presses use Pantone® ink so if you absolutely must have PMS 186, consider lithography. But don’t write off digital immediately. Although digital presses color match for PMS colors, the quality is very high, especially for G7 certified printers.
So, how important is that whole G7 certification thing? If you Google “G7 certification” you’re likely to come up with this: Idealliance established a certification process to evaluate the ability of a software system to calibrate a printing device to meet the G7 grayscale definition using four 1-D curves and support the application of the G7 methodology in process control.
And that’s the layman’s definition…
In essence, G7 is about precise color-matching. It’s a set of global specifications that provides a systematic way to consistently reproduce a similar visual appearance regardless of print processes, inks and substrates. The G7 Master Printer Certification identifies printers that have been educated on, and whose equipment has been calibrated to, G7’s strict industry tolerances.
Here’s the “What’s In It For Me?” part. As a brand owner and print buyer, using a G7 certified printer means additional brand protection because your corporate colors are consistently represented over time and across facilities, devices, inks and substrates. Plus, you could also save time and money with shorter design and proof turn times, less waste, reliable quality reprints and fewer on-site press checks.
I know…still a lot to consider. Why not let the experts at Curtis 1000 “uncomplicate” it for you? Call your local rep or fill out the “How Can We Help You” form on our website at www.curtis1000.com.