Digital technology has the ability to translate images into numbers for processing by the computer and then translate them back again into pictures. This property of digital technology has made digital printing possible. Digital printing is the procedure that allows the image translated by the computer to be printed on various media, like paper.
There are numerous benefits that this type of printing provides – it is economical, easily facilitated by machines, customizable. Unlike analog printing, digital printing does not allow ink to saturate the substrate. Instead, the ink used forms a thin superficial coating. In fact, most businesses today rely on digital printing for their documents and other publishing needs.
As varied as the technology that generates digital printing is the equipment required for it. This equipment can be as small as the personalized printer at home, right up to large printing presses. The following describes each for their merit in digital printing:
- Ink Jet printers. This type of equipment uses ink that is ejected out to a medium like paper or fabric. They are the cheapest home printer models around. However, their prints are easily destroyed by moisture. They print kindly on materials that are heat sensitive like plastic transparencies.
- Laser Jet printers. This model does not squirt ink into the medium. The ink is actually a dry powder toner which is melted on the medium with heat. The toner is made up of fine pieces of metal that are picked up by the drum which dictates the image to be printed. These are more durable than inkjet prints since the substance is affixed securely on the medium.
- Large-format printers. This sort uses the same technology as the ink jet printers but on a larger medium. These media could be paper, fabric or plastic. They are employed for banners or adhesive graphics for vehicles. Despite their ability to print sizeable materials, they cannot perform full bleed printing like traditional offset printers.
- Digital printing press. This version is actually a hyped copier that can print multiple copies per minute, fold and collate them into a neat bundle. They are a little larger than standard issue copiers and make news editing easier without wasting too much paper.
Limited copies of 1,000 and below are economically printed through digital printing. Print-on-demand industries, personal printing needs and in house corporate printing have benefited from this technology. Its quality is almost comparable to that of offset printing. Although there is much debate amongst printing professionals as to which type prints better – digital or offset, the key idea to consider is which of them will provide better quality for a more affordable price. People do not necessarily see the difference between 300 dpi or 1200 dpi and if they used CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key) or RGB (Red, Green, and Blue). The safest route to digital printing, especially for marketing materials is to have a proof printed to determine what kind of finished product you will likely get.