Digital printing has been quietly advancing behind the scenes for years, but at some point, the industry, and printers (I’ll share in the blame!) stopped trying to educate designers and design students about the full breadth of capabilities offered in digital. I spend a lot of with designers and design students, and I enjoy being able to show them what options are available to them. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Fewer Design Boundaries: The ability to utilize colored papers in a design adds a dimension that has to be seen to be believed. Laying down “White Ink” (in varying densities) and then adding colored ink on top of the white adds a whole new depth to a printed piece. We have printed some truly dynamic pieces utilizing white ink that are hard NOT to notice. White ink has changed the way a lot of designers approach their craft. This year, we’re going to be introducing digital metallic and pastille colors, making all the more room for creative ideas and executions.
- Unique Substrates. Paper isn’t just paper anymore! Teslin, Tyvek, vinyl’s, clings, metallic, pearlescent…there are SO many things you can print on that did not make sense before digital.
- Short Run, High Quality Color: Yes, you can print 100 (or fewer) pieces, that honestly look better than if they were printed on an offset press, and don’t break the bank. You just need to make sure you’re selecting the right digital press, the right paper, and that you have good communication with your printing partner to make sure you reach your desired outcome.
- Dynamic Content. Yes, every one of those sheets above can be different. But, the scope of Dynamic Content goes a lot further than variable data. It also allows you to “talk” personally, adding different content, whether that be in the form of images or text, to your piece. The result? Greatly improved ROI!
- Sustainability. Simply put, digital printing uses so much less of everything. We use just what we need for a project, not the stacks of make ready paper, solvents and mixing of inks and throwing away the extra, rags, cotton pads and clean up sheets commonly used in offset jobs. I understand, in a busy world like we live in, it’s hard to take the time to re-learn what we think we already know. But I think it’s worth your time to ask your printer; “Show me some cool stuff that I can do now, that I couldn’t do 5 or 10 years ago”. Seeing is believing.