Is digital printing the new standard?

As digital printing is gaining more and more popularity, we have to take a step back and think; at what point will digital become the standard for print quality?  I won’t lie, I still prefer the quality of offset over digital, but that could just be my love for the smell of ink!  In all seriousness though, there is something about a perfectly printed offset sheet that still sets the standard for me. However, with digital presses such as the HP Indigo, that quality is put to the test. Traditional plastic based toner presses (Xerox iGen) still have some catching up to do, and I’m not sure if they will ever equate to that of offset.

Inkjet now is a whole different world. It used to be that a customer would supply a laser print of their project and ask the printer to improve upon that quality. But, today some customers supply an inkjet proof with their job and ask us to keep the quality the same! This, as we know can almost be an impossible task. There is at first the difference in the dot structure. Inkjet being continuous tone, and offset being line screen, but, that’s not the problem. Today a $100.00 desktop inkjet printer can be using seven or more ink colors!  They have the traditional CMYK + light magenta, light cyan, matte black, photo black, and some even having a gloss optimizer! The gamut of these printers far surpasses that of any traditional four-color offset press.

So, how do we handle this? You could print all your offset jobs using six-color processes (hi-fi printing). Or, you can have the difficult, yet appropriate conversation with your client to which that what they had supplied, just isn’t achievable given the processes at hand.

Basically what this boils down to is that you need to keep yourself and your client educated and updated on the latest technologies and processes. If you have a better understanding, your job will be easier. But, I didn’t answer my own question; what is the new standard? And for this, I would have to answer inkjet, for its quality is unsurpassable!

So, how can you use what you know about inkjet printing to your advantage?


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